By Brian Doogan
Stiliyan Petrov has decided to take time away from his role as assistant U21 coach at Villa, having found the day-to-day workload to be "too much too soon" following his recovery from acute leukaemia.
The former Villa captain has been in remission for 12 months and was appointed to his position working alongside Gordon Cowans in May 2013.
With the same enthusiasm and commitment which characterised his playing career at Villa, Celtic and with the Bulgarian national team, 'Stan' threw himself into his new role.
But he acknowledged today that he needs some time to himself and his family in order to come back fully refreshed in the near future.
"The entire Villa family has been incredibly supportive and I am so grateful for this, as is Paulina and my close family circle," he said.
"I love my new role with the Club, I love the involvement and I want to continue to make a valid contribution. In order to do this to the best of my ability, however, I need to take some time away as I have found the day-to-day demands of the job to be just a little too much too soon.
"I intend to spend some time with my family and in six months or so we'll assess how everything is then. Physically, I just need to build myself up some more before I can throw myself into things in the only way I know how which is full-on commitment.
"I appreciate very much the understanding shown by the Club. I have spoken to the manager and to the chief executive and they, in particular, have been great in helping me to reach a decision which I feel is the right one while also reassuring me that the Club will always be here for me, which I know in my heart.
"Thank you again to all of the fans and I will very much remain a part of the Villa family throughout the coming six months or so while I concentrate on getting stronger and, physically, being back to myself."
Villa manager Paul Lambert emphasised that Petrov will continue to be a visible presence at the Club even while taking a step back from day-to-day duties.
"We are extremely grateful at the Club for the commitment, effort and dedication which Stiliyan has brought to his role," he said.
"I fully understated his position and the Club is entirely supportive of his decision.
"It's a case just now of it having been a bit too much too soon at this moment in time but there will always be something here for Stan.
"He's totally aware of this and we'll revisit things when he feels he is fully ready for that day-to-day involvement again. One thing is certain, he will always have a part to play at this football club and everyone at Aston Villa will echo that sentiment."