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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Lambert: Vital we spend in January

Paul Lambert anticipates being given permission to make significant additions to his struggling Aston Villa squad when he meets owner Randy Lerner in the next ten days.

• Lambert hails O'Neill efforts
• Dunne targets Villa return

With Villa having collected just six points from their opening nine games, Lerner is due in Birmingham for discussions with Lambert over the club's form as well as to thrash out January transfer policy and budget.

That poor return has merely underlined the need for more signings at the turn of the year for Lambert as he looks to move the club away from the relegation zone in a month that sees Villa face both Manchester clubs and Arsenal.

With Richard Dunne still unavailable until December and a lack of experience in defensive positions, Lambert, who signed seven players in the summer window, said: "The squad needs to get bigger."

He will ask Lerner for further additions, with his priorities believed to be another central defender and cover at left-back.

"Just look at the central defensive situation - we lose Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker and have to put Matt Lowton or Chris Herd back there," he said. "It shows you are short in certain areas and you have to improve the squad, which we will try and do.

"It is important we do that and it is normal. Everyone has to have competition for places. That is vital."

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