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Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v Norwich City

Norwich City can inflict further misery on former manager Paul Lambert on Sunday by extending Aston Villa’s winless run to five matches.

Lambert spent three years at Carrow Road, leading the club from League One to the Premier League in successive campaigns before he walked out to join Villa.

He is unbeaten in meetings with his former employers since leaving, winning two of the three Premier League games played as well as a League Cup clash last season.

However, pressure is beginning to build on the 44-year-old after a poor recent run that has seen Villa slump to 13th – directly above Sunday’s opponents – and another defeat would only see that increase.

Lambert is at least likely to be boosted by the inclusion of Ashley Westwood after the midfielder was declared fit to play.

Westwood suffered a dead leg in the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle but has overcome that problem to make the squad.

“Ashley is fine,” said Lambert. “I thought he was fantastic on Sunday. To lose him at that time was a blow, but he is fit again.”

Ryan Bertrand is also in line to feature after shaking off a virus, although Jores Okore is still a long way short of a return despite making progress in his recovery from a knee ligament injury.

For Norwich, boss Chris Hughton has had to contend with less positive news after he revealed that Dutchman Leroy Fer is highly doubtful.

Hughton replaced Lambert in the Norwich hot-seat and after a tough season will be keen to build on the 1-0 win over Tottenham when they travel to Villa Park.

Those three points saw Norwich move up to 14th and open up a four-point gap on the bottom three with 11 games remaining.

Their record at Villa Park does not make particularly happy reading though, with their last win on the ground against Villa having come back in November 1992.

Midfielder Fer will be monitored before the clash, with Hughton confirming on Friday: “He picked up a hamstring injury but we’re still assessing it.

“It’s something that’s only just happened, so we need a bit of time to assess it.

“Of course, it’s a blow for us at this stage of the season but it’s one that we’ll have to work around as best as we can.

“The good news is that Ryan Bennett is fit and available for selection, but unfortunately Michael Turner and Jonas Gutierrez are still out.”

Fri 28 February, 2014
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