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Lambert pushes for Villa additions in January

ESPN staff
November 2, 2012 « Di Matteo urges Ferguson to mind his own business | Chartbeat test »
Paul Lambert wants to flex his muscles in the transfer window © Getty Images
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Paul Lambert anticipates being given permission to make significant additions to his struggling Aston Villa squad when he meets owner Randy Lerner in the next ten days.

With Villa having collected just six points from their opening nine games, Lerner is due in Birmingham for discussions with Lambert over the club's form as well as to thrash out January transfer policy and budget.

That poor return has merely underlined the need for more signings at the turn of the year for Lambert as he looks to move the club away from the relegation zone in a month that sees Villa face both Manchester clubs and Arsenal.

Richard Dunne's unavailability until December has underlined a lack of experience in defensive positions. Lambert, who signed seven players in the summer window, said: "The squad needs to get bigger."

He will ask Lerner for further additions, with his priorities believed to be another central defender and cover at left-back.

"Just look at the central defensive situation - we lose Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker and have to put Matt Lowton or Chris Herd back there," he said. "It shows you are short in certain areas and you have to improve the squad, which we will try and do.

"It is important we do that and it is normal. Everyone has to have competition for places. That is vital."

Lambert will also be delighted if he can have a fraction of the success Martin O'Neill, his mentor and the man he still refers to as "gaffer", enjoyed during his time as Villa manager.

O'Neill qualified for the Europa League three times in succession as well as reaching the League Cup final during a four-year stint at Villa Park, but his achievements have been devalued in some supporters' eyes by the acrimonious way he walked out on the club in 2010.

However, the difficulties the club has suffered in the post-O'Neill era only serve to magnify his achievements and, ahead of this weekend's meeting with Sunderland, Lambert has said that Villa fans should reflect more fondly on his achievements.

Asked about O'Neill's departure amid rumours that he had fallen out with owner Randy Lerner over transfer funding, Lambert said: "I don't know what happened. It was prior to me being here.

"What I do know is he had Villa rocking when he was here. They just missed out on the Champions League and got to Wembley a few times, so that showed you the success he had here - unbelievable success."

Lambert, who won the Champions League as a player under Ottmar Hitzfeld and later featured in O'Neill's Celtic side, has nothing but praise for the Northern Irishman.

"I played under him for five years," he said. "Ottmar Hitzfeld and the gaffer are two of the best managers I ever played under. They are two different types of people but two of the best managers for me. For me as a footballer, and I can only speak as that, I absolutely loved playing under him."

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