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FA Cup quarterfinal draw

FA Cup

Villa table bid for youngster Bennett

Aston Villa are hoping to follow up their first victory under new boss Paul Lambert by landing England Under-21 international defender Joe Bennett from Middlesbrough.

• Blog: A long road ahead for Villa

A bid, thought to be around £2.5 million, has been lodged for Bennett, 22, who has played nearly 100 times for his club.

Lambert was asked about the pursuit of the player following last night's 3-0 Capital One Cup victory over Tranmere and said: "Hopefully, something might happen on that. Has a bid gone in? Near enough."

But Boro have made it clear they won't be undervaluing the Rochdale-born left-back as they aren't in a rush to sell.

Their manager Tony Mowbray said: "We've had a few conversations with Aston Villa over the last few days but he's not a player we're in any hurry to move on.

He has done exceptionally well for us and is a very talented individual. But like all players, if the numbers get to the right level, we will consider it."

Bennett said on Twitter that Tuesday was "the most stressful day of my life" and has yet to play this season after being a virtual ever-present in 2011-12.

He had to nurse a slight knee injury during pre-season and has since had only had one outing in the reserves. He has also seen George Friend, a £250,000 summer signing from Doncaster, settle into the left-back role in his absence.

Villa turned to Bennett after they were met with frustration in their pursuit of Ipswich's Aaron Cresswell. Lambert has decided that the experienced full-back pairing of Alan Hutton and Stephen Warnock are not in his plans, although creating interest in them elsewhere is proving difficult.

Asked if he had had enquiries for them, he added: "No, none. I haven't thought about one thing other than trying to get people into the club. I can't do anything if the phone doesn't go. Maybe their agents are doing things, I don't know."


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