Clark: We are behind Lambert
Aston Villa's stand-in captain Ciaran Clark insists the players retain full faith in manager Paul Lambert and will reap the benefits of several experienced men returning to fitness.
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5. Ciaran Clark
Villa dropped into the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League after Saturdays 1-0 home reversal against Southampton, which came after a controversial penalty converted by Rickie Lambert.
But Clark is confident Villa can escape from their current predicament - especially when players like captain Ron Vlaar return to the side after injury.
The Holland international was on the bench against Southampton after seven weeks out of action with a calf problem.
Clark said: "Are the players still fully behind Lambert? Definitely. Our luck is out at the minute as you saw with the penalty given against us which was not a penalty.
"In the next few weeks hopefully it will turn and we'll get a bit of luck and maybe put three or four goals past a team.
"We need to keep our heads up. We have West Brom to come next weekend and we need to stay positive and look forward to that.
"After the game, heads are down, but in the next couple of days we'll pick ourselves up in training and we'll get back together.
"We'll stick together, we are a close team and we'll look forward to the next game. There are enough characters, there's definitely enough togetherness between us all.
"Over the next few weeks it's important for us to pick up some points and, if we stick together, I'm sure we'll be able to do that."
In addition to Vlaar, striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and winger Charles N'Zogbia are returning to fitness after lengthy lay-offs while defender Richard Dunne is due to resume training this week.
Clark said: "We've got a few experienced lads coming back from injury who will obviously help the squad and team.
"Ron (Vlaar) has been out for a while now. It was good to see him back on the bench against Southampton.
"It's good for the team and squad to see players like that coming back.
"Having the experienced lads back gives the younger lads a boost, it gives them a bit of help to get through the games.
"Obviously those guys have been through it before and know what to do. It is nice to have them back but there's enough togetherness about the lads. We'll show that we're all right."
Manager Lambert has money to spend during January on possible newcomers and believes club owner Randy Lerner's investment in Villa should not be underestimated during his six years in charge.
The Villa boss said: "I always speak to Randy. I've always had a good relationship with him.
"If you look at the years he's been here, I don't know how much money he has put in but it's a lot of money.
"If a couple of players come in during January, then great. But you can't fault Randy for what he's done for this club, that's for sure.
"January always gives you an opportunity to bring people in.
"We have conversations all the time and it would be wrong for me to say there is 'X' amount available.
"You can work with what you've got and if one or two come in, then great."
Lambert remains confident Villa will survive and preserve their record of 25 successive years of top-flight football.
He said: "Do I still think Villa will be safe? Yes. Because? I just do. I said that from day one. I just do.
"If you look at the middle of that table, there is not much in it. There are about eight or nine teams all close."