Writer: Mike Field
Date:Wednesday November 12 2008
Martin O'Neill has hinted that Stiliyan Petrov will be one of the next in line to receive a contract extension after his performances this season.
This won't come as a surprise now to most fans who for the most part agree we have sorely missed the midfielder in recent games.
'I think Stilian has done very well.
'He has about 20 months left and I actually think we have missed him in the last two games.
'He is enjoying his football, getting on with it great and we will see how things develop over the next month or so.
'The fact is he has shown great determination to not lose the battle and he has come out the other side and he is very important to us.
'What I wanted him to do was come down here and show the form he displayed at Celtic.
'He is doing that, albeit in a slightly different role, but it is a job he can do very, very well.
'He can actually add a few goals to it but that is not his main job because at this minute, with Gareth Barry and other midfield players being given a licence to get forward, he is the one I look to regain our shape.
'He does that brilliantly. It's the way that he keeps the ball, he is strong.
'When he is at his best he is so strong on it, he cannot be shifted off it because he has a great centre of gravity and he has a little burst that lets him go past people.
'All of those things were not really in evidence to begin with but that comes with confidence.
'He hasn't had two bad games, then two mediocre games - the consistency has been there.
'Even in some of the games where he thinks he hasn't been influential, I think he has been excellent.'
It's a definite turnaround for Petrov, who'd have thought fans would've been talking about him being missed given the form, or lack thereof, when he first signed for us and seemed undroppable.
Petrov has certainly turned the corner, and to be honest, the sooner we get him fit again the better.
Date:Wednesday November 12 2008
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