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Sep 25, 2012

Lambert to name strong side against City

Paul Lambert has sidestepped a pitfall that brought heavy criticism to two of his predecessors by promising to name a strong Aston Villa side in the Capital One Cup at Manchester City on Tuesday.

• Vlaar rallies troops for response

Martin O'Neill and Gerard Houllier each incurred fans' wrath by selecting weakened line-ups for cup ties, the Frenchman doing so in an FA Cup clash the club lost at Eastlands in March, 2011.

But Lambert has pledged that the travelling supporters will see something akin to a first-choice team whatever changes City boss Roberto Mancini might make in prioritising the Premier League title race and Champions League.

"Nobody will expect anything from us, other than ourselves, but you go up there and you go and try and win," he said. "I'm not going to change my ideas. We're going to go and try and win against one of the best teams in Europe regardless of what personnel they have out.

"We will be up for it and I'll tell them we've got nothing to lose. Manchester City are not the champions of the league for nothing and they've just nearly come away from the Bernabeu with a credible draw and should have done, or might even have won. It shows you the standard we're going to have to come up against.

"If Roberto Mancini makes changes, it doesn't matter because they've still got some world-class players to come in."

Villa's stance is a front-foot response to the despair of Saturday's second-half capitulation at Southampton, although Stephen Ireland is out as he awaits diagnosis on the arm he injured and Ashley Westwood and Jordan Bowery are cup-tied.

Houllier was slated for resting several established first-teamers when a limp Villa performance resulted in a 3-0 City cruise two seasons ago.

And O'Neill organised a free dinner by way of apology to 295 angry supporters who shelled out big money on a trip to a last-32 UEFA Cup tie away to CSKA Moscow, only to feel short-changed by the naming of a young side and a narrow defeat.

Lambert says there will be no repeat for those travelling up the M6 today, adding: "I'll go as strong as I think I can to win the game.

"I'm pretty sure we'll have a good following, so the game is not something I want to take lightly. I don't want to just go up there and just think we're going to get beat. Too many people come to watch us to do that so we have to try and get through."

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