Thursday 12 December 2019

Lerner assures Lambert his job is safe – even if Villa are relegated

John Percy

Paul Lambert has been told his job is safe at Aston Villa, but he will not receive any extra funds to strengthen his struggling squad.

The Villa manager is under increasing pressure after the humiliating exit to Bradford City in the League Cup semi-final and has spoken with owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner extensively over the past 24 hours.

But there will be no knee-jerk reaction to Tuesday night's embarrassment and Villa are determined to "tough it out" and keep faith with the Scot, who has still escaped criticism from the majority of supporters.

Lerner called Lambert shortly after the second leg against Bradford and reiterated his support for the 43-year-old. It is believed Lambert's position will even remain safe if Villa are relegated.

However, the board are not prepared to revise their approach to the transfer window and it is understood as little as £3m could be available for Lambert to spend.

Lerner forked out around £22m in the summer and is reluctant to follow the example of relegation rivals Newcastle United by bringing in a string of new signings.

Lambert has been promised any money raised from sales will be made available for this month.

Wolverhampton and Leeds have made bids to sign defender Stephen Warnock on loan, while an unnamed European club have also made an inquiry to take Alan Hutton for the rest of the season.

Lambert has conceded he may not make any further additions this month but the situation is now critical, with the next two games likely to be pivotal.

Villa face a daunting trip to Millwall in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow night and then host Newcastle on Tuesday in the league. Lambert's team are only a point above the relegation zone.

Ron Vlaar, the Holland international, has insisted Lambert's position should not be under threat.

He said: "Of course we are all behind the manager. I cannot believe that (sacking Lambert) will happen. I believe he is the right man for the job. The disappointment in my body, I've never felt this before and I feel very bad and ashamed. But we are not in the position to have a hangover from this game.

Richard Dunne has returned to training, but is not expected to be risked before next week.

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