Lambert will unleash Benteke

02 October 2014 09:46

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has vowed not to wrap Christian Benteke in cotton wool as he prepares to let him loose.

The striker is expected to be in the squad for Saturday's visit of Manchester City to end his six-month injury nightmare.

Benteke has been out since April after rupturing his Achilles, which forced him to miss Belgium's World Cup campaign.

But Lambert insisted he will let his star player off the leash rather than nurse him through his return to the Barclays Premier League.

He said: "I'll let him go when he's out there. He's deserved it. When he's out there he's got to go and do it. His injury was the most important thing that he's recovered from.

"I heard it, I heard the snap from where I was standing, I knew it was a major one but it wasn't just that, it was losing (Libor) Kozak as well with a broken leg.

"With losing Benteke you've lost two strikers, your number nines are out.

"That was the problem. The start we've made has been really good but we've done it without a number nine."

Benteke's swift return has been a surprise and Charles N'Zogbia was ruled out for the whole of last season after he ruptured his own Achilles in 2013.

And Lambert admitted he did not know how long it would take his £7million man to recover.

He said: "You are never quite so sure because Charlie did it and he was long so I think with every individual it can vary how quickly they can come back and how quickly the body heals itself.

"I knew it was going to be a long one but time wise I didn't really know.

"If he comes through training OK (on Friday) I'll put him in the squad and we'll decide from there."

Source: PA