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Villa to give Lambert transfer options

Paul Lambert has met with American owner Randy Lerner to formulate a January transfer window plan of action to help Aston Villa's fight against relegation.

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Lerner flew from America for the meeting with his manager ahead of last weekend's 5-0 defeat by Manchester City which helped drop Aston Villa into the bottom three in the Premier League for the first time this season.

After an acrimonious departure from Norwich City, Lambert has presided over Villa's worst start to a season for over 40 years, but Lerner is determined to do all he can to help the manager he chose to replace Alex McLeish in the summer.

Lambert still has the full support of the former Cleveland Browns owner and the meeting was held to discuss the budget for the winter transfer window and the policy on players who appear surplus to requirements at the club.

Earlier this month Lambert said he expected Lerner to be "supportive" in January and sources told ESPN: "It's understood that Lambert has been told he has money for January and the owner intends to do what he can."

Lerner also has to decide whether to allow Stephen Warnock, Alan Hutton and possibly Richard Dunne to leave the club in the January transfer window and what the policy is on striker Darren Bent if the club receive offers for the England international.

Bent has fallen out of favour because of the emergence of Christian Benteke following the Belgian's £7m move from Genk in August. Warnock is currently on loan at Bolton Wanderers, while Hutton remains frozen out. Dunne, who is out of contract in the summer, is still trying to recover from a groin injury which has kept him out all season.

Lambert wants to sign an experienced central defender and has also been linked with NK Maribor striker Robert Beric and he is confident of guiding Villa out of relegation danger, after taking just nine points from their opening 12 Premier League games.

"It's not where you want to be, nobody wants to be there, but you have to bounce back and keep going," Lambert said. "There is a long way to go and the players are giving everything. I will lift them and they will bounce back."

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