By Tadhg Peavoy
Aston Villa have confirmed that former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has been temporarily promoted to assist manager Paul Lambert and his first-team coaching staff.
Thirty-seven-year-old Given has been on the Villa books since 2011 when he signed a five-year deal; however, the Donegal man joined Middlesbrough on loan from November 2013 to February 2014.
Gordon Cowans, 55, one of Villa's all-time greats as a player, who has been on the club's coaching ticket in various roles since 1998, has also been promoted to the first-team staff from his role as reserve team coach.
The news comes in the wake of Villa suspending assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa "pending an internal investigation". Both Culverhouse and Karsa came to Villa on the Lambert coaching ticket, having previously worked with him at Norwich and Colchester.
Villa currently lie 14th in the Premier League table, just four points above the relegation zone with five fixtures remaining.
Following the announcement, Given told the Aston Villa official website: "As players, it's important that each and every one of us take responsibility right now and I'm delighted to play my part in helping the manager and the team go and try to win on Saturday."
Lambert commented: "I'm delighted to have Gordon and Shay to assist me in preparing the team for Saturday, which is what the whole group is focused on."
Cowans stated: "The manager has asked me to step up to assist him at this time and I'll do my utmost for the club and the manager in helping prepare the team for Saturday's game against Southampton."
Given was capped 125 times by Ireland and has made over 400 Premier League starts in a career that has spanned stints with Blackburn Rovers, Swindon Town, Sunderland, Newcastle United, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough.