A look ahead to Saturday's big match
NORWICH City travel to Villa Park on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League as they look to pick up where they left off following last weekend’s superb victory over Arsenal.
Grant Holt’s first half goal was enough to give City a long overdue and well-deserved win in a vibrant atmosphere at Carrow Road, and Manager Chris Hughton will be hoping to keep that momentum going forward.
Former City boss Paul Lambert is the man in charge of the Villains on Saturday – the first time he has faced City since joining Villa in the summer.
Lambert’s side are coming into the game on the back of consecutive away defeats to Fulham and Spurs, so will be eager to give their home form a boost. They currently sit in 17th position in the league, a point behind 15th placed City.
Kick-off is at 12.45pm, and you can listen live to the action through Canaries Player, as well as following live updates on Canaries.co.uk, and through our official Twitter (@NorwichCityFC)
and Facebook pages
CITY: Defender Steven Whittaker made his return from an ankle injury in the under-21s development squad on Monday night, but Saturday’s game will come too early for the former-Rangers man. Goalkeeper Mark Bunn will also miss out, but may be available for the clash with Spurs in midweek, and striker Harry Kane (foot) is still continuing his recovery.
VILLA: Lambert is thought to be without defender Richard Dunne (groin) and Ciaran Clark (knee). Nathan Baker (knee) is also missing, whilst Gary Gardener is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.
LAST LINE UPS:
CITY v Arsenal
Fulham v VILLA
Larim EL AHAMADI,
Former Scottish international Paul Lambert joined the midlands club in the summer following a successful three year spell in charge of Norwich City, in which he guided the Club to back-to-back promotions and a 12th placed Premier League. The 43-year-old Scot has also had spells in charge of Colchester United, Wycombe Wanderers, and Livingston. He also won numerous trophies in Scotland with Celtic, as well as a Champions League winner’s medial with Borussia Dortmund in 1997.
England striker Darren Bent was signed to Villa by Gerard Houllier in a reported £24M deal in January 2011. Since then the former Ipswich, Charlton, Tottenham, and Sunderland striker has scored 20 Premier League goals for the Villa Park side. The striker’s pace and finishing make him a dangerous opponent, and he has netted three times in nine appearances so far this season. City will know all about the 28-year-old after he scored twice in a 3-2 win over Norwich at Villa Park last November.
Aston Villa v Norwich City
|Villa wins||Draws||Norwich City wins|
Whilst the home side have the better head-to-head record overall, it is the Canaries who won the last encounter – a one-sided 2-0 victory at Carrow Road on the final day of last season. The last time City secured a win at Villa Park was in the 1992-93 season, when goals from David Phillips, Darren Beckford, and Daryl Sutch earned them a 3-2 win.
TOP LEAGUE SCORERS:
CITY: Grant Holt – Three league goals
VILLA: Darren Bent – Two league goals
MOST LEAGUE STARTS:
CITY: John Ruddy, Bradley Johnson, Russell Martin – Eight league starts
VILLA: Ron Vlaar, Karim El Ahamadi, Matthew Lowton – Eight league starts
REFEREE: Phil Dowd
The 49-year-old Staffordshire-based referee is the man-in-the-middle for Saturday’s match – the first time he has taken charge of City this season, however he was in charge for Villa’s 4-2 Capital One Cup victory over Manchester City. The last time he took charge of a City match was last season’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle. In his eight games in 2012-13, Dowd has issued 39 bookings and two red cards.