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Lambert prepares for Lerner meeting

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is preparing for a tricky debrief on his and the club's dismal start to the season with owner Randy Lerner next month.

Lerner was absent from Villa Park for the 1-1 draw with Norwich City at the weekend, which leaves Villa perched precariously above the Premier League relegation zone.

The American, over £600 million richer from the recent sale of his NFL franchise the Cleveland Browns, is scheduled to visit Birmingham in two weeks to discuss Villa's miserable record of just six points from nine games this season.

The club's budget for the January transfer window, as well as the long-term future of Darren Bent and whether the England international will have to be sold to generate funds for new players, will also be on the agenda.

Lerner has been reluctant to invest heavily in the past 12 months because of the new Financial Fair Play regulations, but Lambert said his boss has been supportive of him.

"The chairman has got the club at heart," he said. "I have a good relationship with him, which is mutual, and he will come over in a couple of weeks' time.

"At the end of the day, you just keep going. Has he been really supportive? Yes. Honestly. I have a good relationship with him."

Whether the relationship between the pair has been damaged by an inauspicious start for Lambert remains to be seen.

Lambert has five points fewer than Alex McLeish managed at the same time last season and one win in nine league games represents Villa's worst start to a season since they were relegated to Division Three 43 years ago.

His policy of signing young and untried players has so far failed to produce the kind of results Lerner demands, but Lambert remains adamant that his squad will not face relegation.

"They won't - we will be fine," he said. Asked why he has such faith in his players, he explained: "I just always do. I always have belief in the team."

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