Aitken joins O'Leary in United Arab Emirates

Birmingham are looking for a new first team coach after confirming Roy Aitken has left the club to team up with David O’Leary at United Arab Emirates outfit Al Ahli.

Aitken had worked with manager Alex McLeish and the club’s other first team coach, Andy Watson, since November 2007.

He had previously assisted McLeish when he was the manager of the Scottish national side.

Aitken has a previous association with O’Leary, having worked under him at both Leeds United and Aston Villa.

McLeish told bcfc.com: “Naturally I am very disappointed to lose an extremely valued member of Birmingham City Football Club. He is respected by everyone at the club.

“I have got a great relationship with Roy and he is well liked and respected by the players.

“But he has received an offer that he couldn’t refuse and I totally understand the decision he has made for himself and his family.

“Roy goes with my thanks and blessings. He is not just someone I’ve worked with for some time now but also an extremely good friend and I wish him all the best in his new challenge.”

McLeish added: “Because of his experience and personality, there can be no doubting this leaves a bit of a void but it is one we will work hard to fill as soon as possible.

“The new owners of this football club have given me great and ongoing support in terms of improving the infrastructure and I’m sure they’ll assist in helping find a suitable replacement for Roy.

City’s acting club chairman Peter Pannu said: “I was only informed about this today but will sit down with the manager (McLeish), Roy (Aitken) and the receiving club as soon as possible to discuss all relevant contractual matters and how we take things forward.”

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