Bennett discusses whether Stilyan Petrov can help Aston Villa this season

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

The Bulgarian made his long-awaited comeback in a 8-0 win over Gak at the weekend, as he tries to earn a new deal at Villa Park.

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston VillaStiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

Aston Villa fullback Joe Bennett told BBC Radio WM, via BBC Sport, that he thinks returning midfielder Stilyan Petrov should play a part for Roberto Di Matteo's side this season, following the club's friendly hammering of Gak 1902.

The Bulgarian, having beaten acute leukaemia that had previously forced him to retire, made his return for Villa in a comfortable 8-0 win over the Austrian team, playing 45 minutes and proving that the club's decision to involve him in training this summer was more than just recognition of what he has achieved in the past.

And left-back Bennett, who netted a brace of superb free-kicks in the second half eleven that included Petrov, is confident that the 37-year-old could offer plenty to Villa's coming season in the Championship.

"It was really good to see Stiliyan back out there," Bennett was quoted by BBC Sport as telling BBC Radio WM.

Fulham's Stanislav Manolev in action with Aston Villa's Joe Bennett (L)Aston Villa's Joe Bennett (L) in action against Fulham

"Obviously he's been through a tough time. I've got a lot of respect for what he's been through.

"You can see out there that he can still play football, he's still got it and I think he can play a big part this season, definitely."

Petrov is hopeful that he can demonstrate enough this summer to convince Di Matteo, himself a top class central midfielder in his playing days of course, to award him a chance to return to professional football at Villa Park.

Stiliyan Petrov celebrates after scoring the second goal for Aston VillaStiliyan Petrov celebrates after scoring for Aston Villa

How much room for sentimentalism is to be afforded to Stan may differ depending on who you talk to, but reports from the match outline flashes of quality that suggest he could well do a job for the club.

Bennett, himself likely to be given another chance this season, is certainly convinced, and with this only the start of Petrov's friendly appearances for the Villans, he is only going to get fitter, stronger and more up to match speed.

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston VillaStiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

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