Following surgery, Dunne (right) was told he would be back training in three weeks and ready to play in six weeks. That's good news for Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni as Dunne should now be fit for the World Cup qualifying double-header against Sweden and Austria in March.
A source close to Dunne said: "This time the prognosis is good. There is every reason to expect Richard to be fit in time for the Swedish game."
Meanwhile, his former Ireland team-mate Shay Given looks no closer to regaining his place as Villa No 1, despite the 12 goals they have conceded in their last two matches with Brad Guzan between the sticks – 8-0 and 4-0 defeats against Chelsea and Tottenham respectively.
Lambert said: "If it hadn't been for Guzan, it could been more in those two games. At Chelsea he was fantastic.
"Even the other night against Tottenham he was exceptional. To be fair to Shay Given, every time he has played in the Capital One Cup he has produced some unbelievable saves. But anyone at our games will have seen that Guzan has been fantastic."