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Ex-Birmingham coach Aitken enjoying Al Ahli challenge

Former Birmingham City coach Roy Aitken is enjoying the challenge at Al Ahli.

Aitken and David O'Leary are working towards bringing Champions League glory to the Middle Eastern giants.

The former Celtic skipper has swapped glamour clashes against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea for games that often only attract crowds of 600.

But the challenge of moulding Al-Ahli into a genuine force excites Aitken.

He told the Sunday Mail: "David got the job in Dubai and asked me to go with him. We had worked together at Leeds and Aston Villa so it appealed to link up again.

"The challenge is to make Al-Ahli better. We've introduced a British-style infrastructure so we have two physios as well as By first-class medics, a sports science team and IT specialists.

"We also have the former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Tony Coton here.

"And Malky Thomson, who was assistant at Inverness and Dundee United, runs our reserve team.

"We're trying to change the mentality of the players and people. We want them to be fitter and better organised.

"We've put a plan in place that will take two or three years to come together. I hope we can leave behind something that stands Al-Ahli in good stead for decades.

"I do miss the sharp end of football at Premiership level, no doubt about that.

"Sometimes we might only have 600 or 700 watching our games but I still have the same will to win as I did in Old Firm derbies."

 It's all kicking off again! Click here for the No1 coverage of Birmingham City's winter market transfer news.

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