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Vlaar and Delph close on Villa returns

Key Aston Villa duo Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph could be in contention for a shock return to action in Saturday's local derby at West Brom.

Captain Vlaar has been out since early November with a calf injury while England rookie Delph dislocated his shoulder in October.

Ron is coming back, he's been training this week, as has Fabian, which is good.

We'll train tomorrow and see how the lads are and how they feel.

We'll gauge it by that but they've been training, Ron this week and Fabian for the last two weeks.

Hopefully it goes okay tomorrow and we can judge it then. We'll talk to the lads.

– Paul Lambert


Aston Villa midfielder out for four weeks

Ashley Westwood
Ashley Westwood will be absent for almost a month. Credit: PA

Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood has been ruled out for up to four weeks with medial ligament damage, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.

The 24-year-old was stretchered off during Sunday's 2-1 win over Leicester following a strong tackle by Jamie Vardy.

Villa were confident the injury was not as bad as first feared but the former Crewe player will still miss up to five games, starting with Saturday's derby at West Brom.

Agbonlahor and Hutton happy with comeback win over Leicester

Aston Villa captain Gabriel Agbonlahor was a happy man after his side beat Leicester 2-1 at Villa Park.

Agbonlahor said: "The lads did brilliantly to get the three points today, Leicester are a tough side.

"Credit to Alan [Hutton, who scored the winning goal], he's been our player of the season so far. And the fans were great today. That's what we need - positivity."

Hutton, who scored his first goal for more than four years, added: "I'm happy to pitch in and do my best - it's been that long since my last goal.

"We showed character and confidence. We're five games unbeaten and 11th in the league. The boys are over the moon with it and hopefully we can build on this."


Lambert lauds Villa stand-ins

Paul Lambert has tipped Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark to push for regular first-team football, even when Aston Villa solve their defensive injury crisis.

Okore and Clark forged a resilient central defensive pairing in Villa's 1-0 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

The makeshift duo battled manfully amid the continued absence of long-term injury trio Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker.

Our defensive effort was terrific at Selhurst Park.

Okore and Clark worked very well together, Alan Hutton was outstanding too, and with (Brad) Guzan and (Aly) Cissokho formed a strong unit there.

For Okore it's his third game in quick succession, and he's been out for more than a year.

And I think Ciaran Clark certainly: the two of them have certainly stepped up their game.

That's the aim of football, to have selection conundrums, and those two are going to give me that when others return.

You've got to push a mate to get into a side, and at the minute these two lads are holding their own.

– Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.

Lambert: No bust-up with Keane

Keane left his Villa post to concentrate on Ireland. Credit: PA

Paul Lambert has claimed there was "absolutely no bust-up" when Roy Keane quit as Aston Villa's assistant manager.

Boss Lambert scotched reports Keane was embroiled in training-ground rows with Villa players before walking out on the club last week.

Christian Benteke's first goal in nine months handed Villa their first win in 10 games in an edgy 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

If anyone wants to know about Roy, I'll put it on your plate so you know: there's absolutely no problem whatsoever.

He's got a lot of commitments with Ireland, he's never had a break from going away with Ireland, and never had a break from Aston Villa. So I totally respect his decision.

Contrary to reports, there was absolutely nothing, absolutely no bust-up, no arguing, nothing like that.

I thank him for his time coming to work for me.

I spoke to him before the Burnley game, after the Burnley game, and we still have the same relationship. So I just want to put that to bed, alright?

– Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.
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