Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is hoping full-back Matthew Lowton can regain the form that made him one of the club’s top performers last season.
• Hughes: Free Fabian Delph
Lowton, 24, played in every minute of the 2012-13 Premier League campaign until picking up an injury at Norwich in May.
The former Sheffield United man has not hit the same heights this term, though, and sustained another injury in the 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat to Tottenham in September, keeping him out for almost a month-and-a-half.
However, Lowton was recalled as a wing-back for the 0-0 draw at West Ham on Saturday, and capped an impressive performance by providing the cross from which Christian Benteke almost conjured up a winner when he headed against the bar.
"Matty came in and did really well against West Ham," Lambert said. "That's what you need. You can't expect to go through a career without barren spells and Matt found out himself. You have to come through that.
"Leandro Bacuna has been excellent in a number of roles and has fitted in fantastically well. He had been playing on the right but I used him on the left at West Ham [with Lowton on the right]."
Antonio Luna's continued absence with the injury that forced him off in Villa's last home game against Everton leaves a full-back position up for grabs when Cardiff visit Villa Park on Saturday.
Villa are desperately short of goals and are again almost certain to be without Andi Weimann, as well as Gabriel Agbonlahor, but Lambert has promised a positive display.
And the Scot also maintains that the club's league placing of 14th is satisfactory given a fixture list that has already pitted them against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton.
"I'm sure it's one of the hardest starts we could have had and we have come away pretty decently," he said. "The start from that run of games, including several top teams, has been decent. There's a totally different feeling to last season.
"You can't label us as a side who don't have a go. We are always trying to score. If Christian Benteke's header goes an inch lower under the bar against Everton, we win the game. You're more worried if you don't create chances."