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Dec 11, 2012

Lowton: Lambert doesn't deserve boos

Matt Lowton believes his Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert might need to cover his ears on his return to Carrow Road on Tuesday night - undeserved though any baiting would be.

• Blog: Lambert's date with destiny
• Blog: Norwich scale new heights

The Scot had an easy ride from visiting Norwich fans in the 1-1 draw between the clubs at the end of October but the volume is likely to be turned up for the Capital One Cup quarter-final in Norfolk.

It is his first return to the club he left in acrimonious circumstances in the summer and Lowton fears that memories are going to be short.

"He deserves a good reception," the Villa defender said. "I think he will get the crowd against him but if they take a step back and look at what he did for them - two promotions from League One to the Premier League - anyone deserves credit for that.

"He will definitely try to keep that separate. It is all about the game. When Norwich came here, he said: 'Let me deal with that side of things and you just go out there and get a result.' We will work on things and hopefully we can go there and get a positive result."

For Lowton, a Wembley final in the competition offers the perfect potential antidote to his heartbreak there with Sheffield United in last season's League One play-off final. The Blades were beaten by Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield on penalties and he had the extra disappointment of missing one of the kicks.

Tonight will be his 20th appearance, though, since his summer move to the Premier League and he insists he has moved on.

"It would be nice to go back to Wembley," he added. "I had a bad experience there last year. I loved the day but was disappointed in the end. It would be fantastic to go back down there in a cup final.

"If losing a play-off final ends up being the worse thing in my career, then I've done well. Even if we had gone up, I would still have come here if the opportunity had come up - an opportunity like this, with Premier League football, with a manager who wants to play football and is willing to give the young lads a chance.

"The few days afterwards (in May) were very hard but it's gone now. We were all on the floor. We worked so hard, we were second for so long but were overtaken by the other side of the city, which made it even worse.

"The good thing at Sheffield United was that we had good people around us. I remember laying on the floor and Chris Morgan, a seasoned pro who I had watched in the Premier League, came up to me and said: 'You've had a fantastic season, it's one penalty, try not to let it affect you too much.'

"I was lucky enough to get the opportunity here. That took the confidence to a whole new level, signing for a Premier League team, and I knew I had to let that go and move on. I definitely got stronger over the summer and when the phone call came (from Villa), my confidence went through the roof."

Villa have lost only twice in their last eight Premier League games - and both of those were against Manchester opposition.

Their cup form has been eye-catching at the same time, with high-scoring victories over Tranmere and Swindon coming either side of a 4-2 third-round success at Manchester City.

"The league is the main priority but a good cup run is fantastic," Lowton said. "We've got a great chance of getting to the last four and we will go there with high hopes.

"It is a big one for the club and the fans. If we get into the semi-final, it will add an extra dimension to the season. "I think we've had three clean sheets in the last four games. We are young, we are hungry to play football and we go out there and give 100%."

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