Lambert vows to end home horror
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has vowed to end his side's horror home record.
Villa Park has been anything but a fortress since Lambert took charge of the club at the start of last season.
From 21 Barclays Premier League matches on home soil under Lambert, Villa have won just five, notably chalking up nine defeats in the last 13 stretching back towards the end of December.
That run includes two losses this season in front of the Villa fans, to Liverpool and Newcastle.
With Manchester City up next on Saturday, and Tottenham after the international break on October 20, Villa's home form may not improve any time soon.
Lambert, however, knows there has to be a turnaround if Villa are to avoid another relegation dogfight.
"You need to win your home games," insisted Lambert. "You should have a good solid base at home, but we seem to be doing it the other way around at the moment, winning away from home, and finding it hard at home. I don't know why that is. It's strange.
"It's not as if we set our stall out any differently. We always go out to try and win every game we play in, and I'll never change that
"We've too many fans who come to watch us, so we can't sit back.
"Sometimes we are forced to because visiting teams get on top of you, but we never deliberately set out to defend.
"We know it's something we have to put right, to improve, and I'm sure it will come. The law of averages says it will come."
Villa go into the clash with City with a number of players nursing knocks and niggles, although Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, Fabian Delph, Ciaran Clark and Antonio Luna should all be available again.
Star striker Christian Benteke, with 23 goals in 39 league matches - including four this season - represents a significant loss, though, with a hip injury ahead of taking on a rampant City side that thumped rivals United 4-1 on Sunday.
It could mean a first league start for Libor Kozak, the B#7million signing from Lazio on transfer deadline day, and who scored within 90 seconds of replacing Benteke at Carrow Road.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini claims next week's clash with European champions Bayern Munich is not yet occupying his thoughts.
Pellegrini wants to focus on the weekend Barclays Premier League trip to Villa Park before switching his attention to Wednesday's glamour Champions League tie at the Etihad Stadium.
City attracted some criticism after labouring to a goalless draw at Stoke a fortnight ago, three days before their last Champions League outing.
Potters boss Mark Hughes suggested Pellegrini had prioritised the wrong game after making six changes at the Britannia Stadium.
But even though Pellegrini has confirmed Sergio Aguero will not be risked at Villa Park after a knock, the Chilean insists his quest for top spot is priority this weekend.
Pellegrini, whose side have not yet won away after defeat at Cardiff last month, said: "I am sure nobody is thinking about Bayern Munich. We are all thinking about Aston Villa.
"We know it is a strong team playing at home. We need to play a very good game if we want to win and we need to win away now.
"We have lost one away and drawn the other, for different reasons.
"It is in the past so I don't continue talking about those games but tomorrow we have the opportunity to win against Aston Villa.
"It is very important for us to reach the first position of the table."
City, currently third, could go top if Arsenal and Tottenham drop points this weekend.
News of Aguero's unavailability was a surprise. The Argentina striker was outstanding as he scored two goals in last week's derby destruction of Manchester United.
He was substituted after 86 minutes but it was not thought to be injury related and it was no surprise that he was rested for the midweek Capital One Cup win over Wigan.
Pellegrini has now revealed there was a problem but it will not keep him out of the Munich match.
Pellegrini said: "Aguero finished the last derby in the last play with a small pain.
"I think it was nothing important but I think it was a risk for him to play three games in the same week.
"We will leave him for next Wednesday but he will be absolutely fine."
Playmaker David Silva remains on the sidelines after four games out with a thigh strain but could be back in contention to face Pep Guardiola's German giants.