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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Paul Lambert insists his focus is on trying to guide Aston Villa into the Capital One Cup semi-finals rather than any possible backlash from Norwich fans tonight.
Lambert will return to Carrow Road for the first time since his acrimonious departure during the summer to take charge of Villa.
The Scot and Norwich, whom he led to successive promotions, are both suing each other for breach of contract. But Lambert is more concerned for the immediate future about sustaining the momentum Villa have derived from a four-game unbeaten run.
“My feelings going back will be the same as it would be if it wasn’t Norwich, because it’s a chance to get through another round and that’s what we’ll try to do,” he said.
“I think people will make more of it than I actually will. I’ll just get on with it. It’s another game for me. I have always treated football that way. It’s never about me. It’s about the team that goes there and about the fans that come and watch us.”
Lambert believes Villa are playing well enough to test the in-form Canaries, who set a new club record of nine Premier League games without defeat with their weekend win at Swansea.
He said: “It’s a semi-final that is at stake and, if you get through, it keeps that momentum going. “I really believe we are playing well. I’ve got no worries about going down there and giving it a right good go. The only teams to turn us over in the last seven or eight games have been the two Manchester clubs. Norwich are going really fine themselves but we’ll be a threat, that’s for sure.”
Villa are likely to field a near full-strength side against the Canaries.
Lambert said: “Every game is big. We don’t have a big enough squad to rotate. We’ve got to use the ones we’ve got. We don’t have a massive squad. We have a lot of young lads but we have to go with what we’ve got.”
Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is one of the few survivors left at Villa who played in the 2010 League Cup final defeat to Manchester United.
He said: “That final gave the club a whole lift. You also remember what it meant to the fans, to the kids, to go to Wembley.
“It’s a big thing and we will do all we can to try and get a step closer to going there again.”