Lambert plays down spicy confrontation Paul Lambert insists focusing on the need for Aston Villa to defeat his former club Norwich will be his top priority after his acrimonious summer departure from Carrow Road. Lambert will do battle with Norwich for the first time at Villa Park since he quit at the end of last season to take charge of the midlands club. The Scot and Norwich are both suing each other for breach of contract and the matter will ultimately be decided by a Premier League managers' tribunal.
Lambert was upset when Norwich chairman Alan Bowkett made the matter public at a fans' forum last month and also claimed he had left all his previous clubs in a similar manner. But his main objective is to revive Villa's season after one win in eight matches has left them occupying 17th position. Lambert, who claims he has not spoken to Bowkett for two years, said: "The Norwich game only has spice because I left.
It's not something that I'm really worried about or anything like that. "It's just another game. I had a great three years there and if people want to deflect on to something else then I can't help that. "There's some things that have been said which have been disappointing. "But football moves on and it's a massive game for ourselves. We have to win, that is the bottom line." Villa have triumphed only once in their last 18 Premier League games - a 2-0 home win over Swansea during the current campaign.
But Lambert said: "The pleasing thing for me is that we've been playing pretty decent stuff. "It's not as if we've been going into any game with any trepidation. "In the last two away games (at Tottenham and Fulham) we've certainly deserved more than what we've got." Villa are facing a potential centre-back injury crisis against the Canaries. Richard Dunne (groin) is definitely ruled out while Nathan Baker (ankle) and Ciaran Clark (knee) will be assessed later today. Matt Lowton is on stand-by to switch into the centre with Eric Lichaj in contention to earn a recall as his replacement at right-back. Chris Hughton also denies there will be any extra edge.
Hughton said: "We are up against a good Aston Villa team who are playing at home and will have a great support behind them. "Whether we are fighting for three points at Aston Villa or anywhere else doesn't make any difference once that whistle goes. "In some ways it's different because of the previous manager but that is a very small detail. The bigger detail is that it is three points to play for and I'm sure from Paul's point of view it will be exactly the same.
"We'll have a group of players who will be very grateful to Paul for the magnificent job he did here but once the whistle goes there is only one objective. That is how any of our players will see it. "I can absolutely guarantee that once the game has kicked off it will be about 11 v 11 and not managers." Hughton has no fresh injury concerns following the Arsenal match with reserve goalkeeper Mark Bunn targeting a possible comeback from injury in next week's Capital One Cup tie against Tottenham. Full-back Steven Whittaker, whose ankle injury has kept him out of senior action all season, could also feature against Spurs.