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Oct 30, 2012

Lambert not underestimating Swindon

Paul Lambert is not being swayed into thinking his struggling Aston Villa side will have an easy ride when they visit a reshuffled Swindon Town side in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.

• Blog: The Di Canio factor

The League One side's manager Paolo Di Canio has already suggested he will rotate his squad for the tie at the County Ground, where Lambert will be seeking a fillip for a club reeling from their worst start to a season in 43 years.

But the Villa boss is still expecting a searching examination from a team who hit four in winning at Stoke City in the second round of the competition.

"For any big team that goes and plays at a lower-league team, the expectancy is always there," he said. "The expectancy is always on the bigger team and this will be no different.

"I've been there, I know exactly what it will be like and it will be a hard game. They tell me Di Canio is an extrovert character. I've never met him but he was a great player. I'll try and pick a team I think will win the game. If you are in something, you try and win it."

Lambert has declined to say whether, at opposite ends of his line-up, Darren Bent and Shay Given will be given starting roles.

Bent remained in the shadows as his main rival for a place, Christian Benteke, scored in Saturday's disappointing home draw against Norwich City, while Given has started only once since August - that came in the 4-2 win at Manchester City in the last round.

The keeper is being kept out by the outstanding form of Brad Guzan, who sees the competition as the opportunity to exorcise a personal ghost.

In what was then the Carling Cup in 2009-10, Guzan excelled in Villa's run, only to be left out and replaced by Brad Friedel for the final against Manchester United.

"Not playing at Wembley was one of my biggest disappointments," he said. "It was very frustrating and a difficult pill to swallow. It's made me stronger as a keeper and a person, though. Now we need to try and get in the hat for the next round. If we do, it's job done."

Lambert denies that the awkward tie is necessarily a chance to restore confidence.

"We were down to ten men against Norwich," he said. "You can take a lot of positives out of not losing to 11 men and, for most of that second half, we were on the back foot. But the effort was there in abundance."

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