Wednesday 25 April 2018

Villa still a much bigger club than WBA – Lambert

Gordon Tynan

West Bromwich Albion may have finished higher in the Premier League than Aston Villa in the last two seasons, but Paul Lambert, the latter's manager, insists his side should still be regarded as a bigger club than their neighbours.

Villa's past glories, including the 1982 European Cup, are distant memories and West Brom have established themselves as the top team in the West Midlands. But Lambert believes his side still have bragging rights, despite Albion's footballing and financial supremacy of late.

"Aston Villa is a massive club," he said before tonight's derby at The Hawthorns.

"I don't think anyone can ever dispute that. It's a club that's won a European Cup, league titles, has a massive fan-base and has a bigger stadium.

"That's no disrespect to West Brom – they're a good club in their own right. I haven't been at West Brom or managed the club but Aston Villa, for me, is a bigger club. We'll go there and try to win. I don't think you use the aim of finishing above them as a motivational tool.

DERBY

"Everybody knows a derby is important for supporters, first and foremost. For the team and the football club it's vital to try to win a derby game. But the thing with a derby is the fact it doesn't matter who is playing well, you could be top or bottom, or near each other."

Lambert hopes to welcome back several players from injury. Andreas Weimann (hamstring) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (ankle) have missed recent games while fellow forward Christian Benteke had a knee issue while away with Belgium.

However, all three are in contention for the trip to The Hawthorns, while Fabian Delph and Antonio Luna are fit after injury. (© Independent News Service)

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