Aston Villa chief happy with Cats options

Paul Lambert, Aston VillaAston Villa should be at near full strength for the visit of relegation rivals Sunderland on Monday, according to Paul Lambert.

The Villa boss has an extra couple of days to formulate his team plans for the game against Paolo Di Canio’s Black Cats who have eased their own drop fears with two successive victories to move six points clear of the bottom three.

However, Lambert is adamant that the Wearsiders are still involved in the survival fight as a home win for Villa on Monday will put them level on points with their opponents.

Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is fit to feature having got through the full 90 minutes of last Monday’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester United with no ill-effects with regard to his recent groin injury.

Villa’s definite absentees ahead of the weekend are just the long-term injury victims with midfielder Gary Gardner working his way back to fitness after knee ligament damage while Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton and Richard Dunne also remain sidelined.

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