Lambert to hold critical Benteke talks
Paul Lambert will hold urgent talks with Christian Benteke in an attempt to ensure he remains at Aston Villa.
Benteke is sure to find himself in demand following his outstanding contribution to the club's survival effort and has been linked with top clubs abroad.
But Lambert hopes that the fact he's already under a long-term contract and is only a year into his stay in England will see to it that he is retained for at least another season.
"Christian and a few other lads are in my thinking," the Scot said. "I don't know how much he's on. I leave the finances to other people.
"But he is one of a few who have been brilliant for us. Collectively as a team and individuals, they've been great. We're coming to the end of the season and yes, we'll sit them down and try to get things done."
Benteke, who sits out Sunday's final game at Wigan because of his careless sending-off last weekend, has scored 19 goals in the Premier League and four in the cups.
The likes of Matt Lowton, Brad Guzan and Andreas Weimann are also likely to be on the list of players for Lambert to see before they go their separate ways for the summer.
"Every one of the players have helped us stay up," he added. "It's not just one player. Every one of the lads contributed something and they're the ones that have done it. We got ourselves over the line."
Wigan's Tuesday night defeat at Arsenal was the result that ultimately guaranteed safety and doomed the FA Cup winners at the same time.
But the manager is anxious to praise his players for getting the job done with "unbelievable form" with a game to spare - and not have them portrayed as profiting from the slip of another side.
"I think people are getting totally misled," he said. "It's rough on the lads. We have done what we have done.
"We weren't relying on Wigan to get beaten. We put ourselves in a position where the 40-point mark was reached. We weren't looking to anyone else to do us favours.
"We're going to have a fantastic following up at Wigan on Sunday and we have to try to win it and not slack off and let it become one of those games where it's like a festival. We've got a job to do."