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Jan 11, 2013

Lambert hurt by Bradford debacle

Paul Lambert says he has had sleepless nights after the "hurt and embarrassment" of Aston Villa's Capital One Cup humbling by League Two Bradford City.

Four days on from the 3-1 semi-final first leg defeat at Valley Parade, Villa are preparing for an even more crucial assignment at home to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Lambert has had to deal with some calls for his dismissal in the last few days, and said: "I'm the same as Aston Villa fans.

"There's hurt and embarrassment at getting beat the way we did. Everybody is embarrassed by it. I can see it in the fans' faces. It's my job to rectify it and pick things up.

"I've had a couple of sleepless nights, but I never worry about myself. It's not about me. It's about this club and the fans, who are vital to us. I have to get a result and get the crowd going.

"We're at home in this game and the onus is on the home side to come out."

Lambert could have captain Ron Vlaar back in his squad after almost two months out with a calf problem.

Earlier in the season, Villa were beaten 4-1 at St Mary's by Nigel Adkins' Saints, and the manager said his young players needed to be able to deal with the demands of a struggle against relegation.

"The club has been in the same position with top players, so it's a challenge," he said. "If you're here, you have to handle the pressure. It's a big club. I've seen great players capitulate at big clubs."

Discussing Villa's slide in recent weeks, the manager said: "I don't sit here and think: 'This is great,' but, probably through experience, I know how to handle it. I love the pressure of it and meet it head-on.

"I'm not good enough to say I am always right. I have made mistakes and learned from every one.

"I know exactly how the fans are feeling after spending their hard-earned money and we feel the same. We have to get through this period. You have to take the hits when they come."

Darren Bent, who scored one of the goals in the FA Cup home win over Ipswich last weekend, is out for around ten days with a medial knee problem he picked up in midweek, while Brad Guzan will return after Shay Given suffered a hamstring injury. Marc Albrighton is also out with a metatarsal injury.

Villa fans are still anxiously awaiting signals that experienced reinforcements will arrive this month, and Lambert said: "There are one or two lads we will try to get in, but prices can be so inflated in January."

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