Clearout at stricken Shakers

BY foxsports • May 22, 2013

Aston Villa have confirmed that Stiliyan Petrov will take up a coaching role with the club.

The 33-year-old, who announced his retirement earlier this month after a successful battle against acute leukaemia, will take up a new role as assistant to development coach Gordon Cowans.

Petrov said: "I'm very excited by this new challenge and I wish to thank the club and the manager, Paul Lambert, for giving me the opportunity to continue my association with Villa, which I have always regarded as a privilege.

"I will study for my coaching badges over the coming months and I am looking forward very much to working with Gordon Cowans, someone I know and respect, a true Villa legend.

"My hope is that I can assist Gordon through my own experience in the game and that I can help the young lads to progress, become better players and better human beings.

"There are important values that we have always stood for at the club and we will continue to do so."

Lambert invited Petrov to sit on the bench for Sunday's Premier League game at Wigan and the Villa boss believes he will be a success as a coach.

"He's always been one of the most committed, dedicated and driven individuals and he's always strived to be successful," said Lambert.

"As an international player, too, he's been around the block. He's been the captain at a big club and he's captained his national team, Bulgaria, so his knowledge is of the highest order."

The 29-year-old left-sided midfielder made just under 100 appearances for County in two seasons at Meadow Lane and moves as a free agent.

"The idea of how Fleetwood plan to go forward was sold to me and it's an exciting prospect," he said. "The club has a vision with the training ground, the main ground and everything in general.

"Overall, I was pleased with my two seasons at County. I'll bring that experience with some goals and a competitive edge from midfield."

Town boss Graham Alexander added: "Jeff has experience and knows how to score goals. He's hardworking and good on the ball. He's spent the last few seasons in League One but knows all about our league."

The former Kilmarnock stopper has penned a four-year deal with the Ibrox outfit that will see him officially sign as a player once the ban on new recruits is lifted.

The year-long embargo was placed on the club last summer as one of the conditions that allowed them to re-emerge as a newco following their decent into liquidation.

But Bell - who is the first new face to check in at Rangers since David Templeton arrived from Hearts on August 31 last year - could yet feature for Ally McCoist's side before the ban is lifted.

Reports have suggested that Bell will be able to feature as a trialist in three Irn-Bru Second Division games as well as one Ramsdens Cup tie.

The once-capped Scotland keeper - who will join up with his new team-mates for pre-season training - said: "I don't know too much to be honest. I'm just here to do pre-season. If I'm able to play as a trialist, then great.

"One of the most difficult decisions I had to make was the I wouldn't be able to play for a month. That would have been hard for myself as I want to play straight away.

"If there's ways round about it, that's great. If not, then I just need to get on with it."

Bell follows the lead of Templeton, Dean Shiels, Ian Black, Francisco Sandaza and Kevin Kyle, who all left Clydesdale Bank Premier League outfits to join Rangers last year as they kicked-off their climb back up Scotland's lower leagues.

He could yet be followed by Dundee United skipper Jon Daly and Motherwell's Nicky Law but he insists dropping down two divisions does not mean he lacks ambition.

"It wasn't a difficult decision for me," he said. "I supported Rangers as a kid and you just have to look at the facilities they have got, the fans they have got.

"It's still the club it used to be, it's just it has had to take a step back. I want to be part of the journey to go forward.

"I have signed a long-term deal because I want to be part of Rangers getting back to the top.

"I know I have come here to become a better player. The facilities at Murray Park are second to none and if that doesn't make you a better player then I don't know what will.

"We have got 50,000 fans coming to watch every week at Ibrox. Those are all the positive things, the negative things is that it is the Second Division I'll be playing in but I have come in with my eyes wide open. It will be difficult next year but hopefully we can get back to where we should be in the SPL and European competition."

Bell clocked up 132 appearances and a Scottish Communities League Cup win for Killie during a 10-year spell and paid tribute to former Rugby Park boss Kenny Shiels.

He said: "Kenny was great. He spoke to me and wished me all the best. He's been great for my career. I know people have their opinions of Kenny but I can only thank him for what he has done for me."

The midfielder, 18 next month, has put pen to paper on a one-year deal which keeps him at Brunton Park until the summer of 2014.

Blues boss Greg Abbott told the club's official website: "In Jack Lynch we've seen the type of midfield player that we possibly haven't had for a while.

"He is fantastic in the way he chases the opposition down and in the way he tries to make sure he wins his battles.

"He's extremely tenacious, he has an excellent range of passing and he is one who brings a really competitive edge to his game. That gives us quite a lot to work with."

Lynch has spent two years as a trainee at Carlisle and has frequently trained with the first-team squad throughout his time at the club. He has also been a regular in the Blues' reserve sides.

Joe Skarz, Marcus Marshall, Mark Carrington, Efe Sodje, Mark Hughes, Max Harrop, Carl Regan, Christian Dibble, Euan Holden, Jordan Melia, Dalton McLaughlin, David Healy, Cameron Belford, Craig Fagan, Tom Soares and Valery Mizague have all been let go by the financially-stricken outfit.

Full-back Skarz has already agreed a deal to sign for Rotherham when his contract officially expires at the end of May.

It leaves only eight players still under contract and in place at Gigg Lane for next season, coming after Tuesday's announcement that captain Steven Schumacher has joined Fleetwood for an undisclosed fee following the Shakers' relegation to League Two.

Bury's official website read: "Due to the uncertainty of the future, the club is unable to offer deals to any of the out-of-contract players.

"Negotiations with new investors are at an advance stage. At the moment we are unable to announce a definite timescale, though we hope to be able to reveal more positive news within the coming days."