FORMER Middlesbrough manager Steve Agnew has returned from the football wilderness to join Steve Bruce's staff at Aston Villa.
The 52-year-old re-unites with his old Hull City chief at Villa Park as first-team coach.
Bruce confirmed his appointment today and said: "It's something I've been working quietly on over the last couple of months in particular where I knew Steve was a bit dormant, if that's the right word. I have always worked with three if I could. He's an excellent coach.
"Colin (Calderwood) is still my assistant but I've put Steve as the head of coaching. I've had a word with Colin and Stephen Clemence in particular and they're fine with that.
"They know he's part of the team going forward and he's here to help us.
"I had a great relationship with him at Hull so let's hope he can work a bit of magic on the training pitch."
Agnew has not been seen near a pitch since Boro's defeat at Liverpool on the final day of the Premier League season in May.
Having worked as No2 to Aitor Kranka at The Riverside, he was named the North East side's new manager in March until the end of the season when the club sacked the Spaniard.
However, Boro were already deep in trouble and after recording just one win in his 11 games in charge he was unable to keep them in the top-flight.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson spoke of his desire to appoint Agnew for the long-term when he was handed the reigns, but instead opted to bring in Garry Monk over the summer.
The new man did not have a place on his staff for Agnew, leaving the experienced coach in limbo.
He has been placed on gardening leave ever since, but has now come back with his old employers and has already got down to work with Boro's Championship rivals.
Agnew has taken charge of several sessions at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training base this week and appears to be already making an impact.
Bruce added: "It's a different voice, it's different ideas, it's a different way forward. Already we've seen a difference in training.
"There's nothing quite like freshening it up. He's incorporated Stephen, Colin and myself on the training ground.
"To get somebody like him and with the beauty of having worked with him before, I'll know what he'll bring.
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"It's vitally important that all your preparation work is geared to what you do on a Saturday so the more help you can get on the training ground, the better. He's a wonderfully gifted coach."
Agnew should be alongside Bruce in the dug-out for the home clash against Sheffield United tomorrow.
And next week he will be back on familiar territory when he returns to The Riverside for Villa's match with Boro.
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