Shay Given hails inspiration provided by Stiliyan Petrov

Aston Villa captain remains out of action

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The Independent Football

Shay Given says that Aston Villa's stricken captain Stiliyan Petrov can be the team's inspiration as they attempt to rescue their season from the threat of relegation.

Petrov, who was diagnosed with leukaemia last March, spoke to the Villa players before Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup third-round win over Championship side Ipswich. Villa are drawn away to Millwall, in the next round.

Saturday's game provided a rare opportunity for Given, the former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, who has lost his place in Villa's Premier League team to Brad Guzan.

"Stiliyan asked me if I was playing and if I could remember what I am supposed to do," Given said. "It's great to see he has still got his sense of humour. It puts everything in perspective and it gives everyone a huge lift.

"We know we are in a relegation fight but to see the fight Stan [Petrov] is making is really inspirational. He is still having difficult treatment but he is a real fighter." Petrov is in remission but needs more chemotherapy.

Given's late save from Ipswich substitute Aaron McLean was vital to Villa's 2-1 win. Darren Bent equalised Michael Chopra's first-half strike for Ipswich before Villa substitute Andreas Weimann headed in the winner.