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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 13 hours ago
Read
Jan 8, 2013

Villa boss hails Weimann

Paul Lambert is backing Andreas Weimann to continue delivering the goods as Aston Villa attempt to succeed in the Capital One Cup tonight where Arsenal and Wigan failed.

• Given considers Ireland return

The Austrian international has tended to operate in the shadow of Christian Benteke and club record signing Darren Bent but his superb winner in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Ipswich was the seventh goal of his flourishing season - all of them in the last two months.

Benteke is likely to be recalled for Tuesday's semi-final first leg at Bradford City, having been rested at the weekend, but Weimann scored twice in the quarter-final fightback at Norwich and is being seen as a possible starter after going on as a 44th minute substitute three days ago.

"He has scored some very important goals and he's playing really well," said Lambert, who believes the player could save the club a major outlay in the transfer market.

"He could. He's young, only 21, and what you get from him is that he's really confident at the minute and has great enthusiasm for the game.

"Because of the performances of Christian, he has tended to get a bit overlooked. But I know the value he has got, and the value of what he has done for the team.

"Even if he has not been fully fit, he has been willing to stand up and say he's willing to play, which is a great thing. I can't speak highly enough of him as a guy and as a footballer."

Villa were beaten by Manchester United in the 2010 final and have fond memories of this competition, having won it twice in the 1990s and twice in the 1970s - a decade in which they also reached the final as a Third Division club.

The potential for a giant-killing weighs on their shoulders now but Lambert believes his grooming in the lower divisions with Wycombe and then with a Norwich side he lifted out of both League One and the Championship will keep his squad grounded at a venue at which Arsenal were humbled a month ago.

"I know what it's going to be like there," he added. "So, from one perspective, that's why I never underestimate any game - because I was never good enough to walk into great places all the time.

"You've got to give Bradford a lot of credit for what they've done. They've got a big fan base, so they'll have a big crowd right behind them and there will be a great atmosphere. You just have to prepare the players for what they're going into.

"I think everyone will assume that we'll win, the same as everyone assumed Arsenal would beat them. And when you don't do it, it becomes a huge thing that could have a negative effect.

"But you get two cracks at it in a semi-final. That's the beauty of it. We go into it with great confidence that we can win both games."

Lambert is likely to be without Marc Albrighton for several weeks after he suffered suspected metatarsal damage against Ipswich.

• Pick your Premier League fantasy squad for the second half of the season now and challenge your friends.

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