Stiliyan Petrov could sign a contract extension at Aston Villa within the next fortnight, according to manager Martin O'Neill.
Petrov signed for Villa in a £6.5million move from Scottish champions Celtic where he played under O'Neill for five years. And after a difficult first two years in England, the 29-year-old has now settled in as a first-team regular and has made 28 appearances this season.
O'Neill believes Petrov has been key to the club's good form and is eager to extend his current deal which expires in 18 months. O'Neill told the Express and Star: "We will be dealing with it the minute the transfer window is over."
He added: "He is playing great. I have the utmost regard for him because he has fought back from a really difficult situation.
"Sometimes you can never win people over but he has done that himself. I think he has been really big for us this season, consistently excellent, confidence is high now whereas confidence wasn't that high before."
Villa take on CSKA Moscow in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup and face a potentially tricky tie with Doncaster in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Wilfred Bouma and John Carew have both returned to full training on Tuesday but Martin Laursen is struggling to recover from a knee injury and O'Neill will also have to do without Ashley Young and Curtis Davies on Saturday through suspension.
This has led O'Neill to suggest he may have to start resting players in the cups if Villa are to continue their Champions League qualification push, unless he can make any signings this month.
"Maybe in a week or two, we might have to look at prioritising," O'Neill told www.avfc.co.uk.
"Had we been halfway up the Barclays Premier League in this particular season and safe from relegation, then, of course, the cup competitions would have become very important."
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