Aston Villa V Swansea at Villa Park : Match Preview
Aston Villa V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Fresh faces to get their chance.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is ready to introduce his crop of unproven summer signings after insisting they have become battle-hardened in the lower leagues. Lambert has included midfielder Ashley Westwood (Crewe), striker Jordan Bowery (Chesterfield) and defender Joe Bennett in the squad for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Swansea. The trio were signed during the final 48 hours of the recent transfer window and only Bennett has any top flight experience - just 45 minutes with Middlesbrough three years ago.
But Lambert adapted a similar policy with considerable success at previous club Norwich and has faith in the youngsters to make the step up at Villa.
He said: "The Premier League is unforgiving. The opportunity is there for them, now they have to go and do it. "You have to have someone who has the belief in you to give you that opportunity. "I was in the same boat myself as a player. I needed someone to give me an opportunity, and you will never know until you do that. "I'm all for giving people opportunities to do the business." Lambert did splash out #7million on Belgium international striker Christian Benteke, who is likely to line-up alongside Darren Bent.
Bent is regaining full sharpness after his long lay-off with ruptured ankle ligaments although he was excluded from the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers with Moldova and Ukraine.
Lambert said: "I think Christian will be a handful, I watched him the other night for Belgium against Croatia and he was excellent, the way he played. "He is only a young lad, he is only 21, but he will be a handful. Can he work with Bent? I've got my own ideas, we just hope they go and win us the game."
Benteke and Jordan Bowery, plus midfielder Ashley Westwood, are in contention to start. Defender Richard Dunne (groin) and winger Marc Albrighton (foot) are still ruled out although the latter will return to training next week. Meanwhile, Alan Tate will reap the rewards of his personal off-season training regime when he starts for the Swans at Villa Park. The 30-year-old former Manchester United defender has played in all four divisions for the Swans but he missed the majority of the club's first season in the Premier League after breaking his leg in a freak golf buggy accident just over a year ago.
Tate defied the odds to return to action with the first team in March, but was limited to four substitute appearances.
But, determined to try to force his way into Michael Laudrup's plans, while his team-mates took a break once the season ended, Tate knuckled down to getting himself back to full fitness, and his regime included training while on holiday in Greece. And it will all have been worth it when he runs out at Villa Park to make a first Premier League start since the opening game of last term, as Chico Flores' suspension and Kyle Bartley's quad injury hand him the chance to stake a claim for a regular place.
He said: "It has been a long time but what happened in between was a freak accident and when I got back into training it took me a while to get anywhere near match fitness, but now I am. "Pre-season helped, I went away at the end of the season and trained all the way through and it helped everything to heal. "I went to the gym here everyday and trained every day on holiday and it's all you can do. I had a lot of time off during the season so I wanted to give myself the best chance of playing as many games as possible. If I start Saturday it will have been worth it. "I have started this season on the bench after the manager brought in Chico, which I understand as I was not fit last season and he needed another option. "But hopefully if I play well I expect to stay in the side like anybody else."
Neil Taylor is out for the season after breaking his ankle against Sunderland, while Chico Flores starts a three-match ban after his red card in that game. Kyle Bartley (ruptured quad) and Garry Monk (back) are also out. Ben Davies and Tate are set to come into the back four with new arrival Dwight Tiendalli on the bench. Ki Sung-yueng and record signing Pablo Hernandez are also set to be named among the substitutes.
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