Villa v Swansea match preview: Lambert has faith in Young Lions
The response couldn't have been more unequivocal.
Paul Lambert was asked in his press conference if he believed his new young guns could hack it against Swansea on Saturday.
"I've got no trepidation whatsoever about them playing! None!" replied Lambert.
The manager is talking the talk and now it's time for his new players to walk the walk.
Ashley Westwood, Joe Bennett, Christian Benteke and Jordan Bowery are the starlets in question, all signing for the claret and blues in the final days of the transfer window.
Westwood, Bennett and Bowery have all had a full week of training in the run-up to the encounter with Michael Laudrup's Swans.
Benteke has had a couple of sessions, after returning from international duty, as he looks to impress the manager sufficiently in the lead-up to Saturday.
Lambert will look at their freshness and the shape of the team he's looking to field before making decisions on personnel but there's no doubt he'd be happy to throw all four in, if needed.
"You want them to do well for themselves and for the football club," said Lambert.
"You have to have someone who has the belief in you to give you that opportunity. I was in the same boat myself, I needed someone to give me an opportunity. You will never know until you do that.
"I'm all for giving people opportunities to do it.
"The new lads are young but they have miles on the clock in terms of first team football. I think that is the important thing.
"If you play a couple of hundred Championship or League One games, then you know they have played men's football.
"It is not as if the lads have come from academy football and are playing against lads of their own age. They have played against hardened seasoned pros. That's the difference of playing at Championship level.
"It is a school of hard knocks which I think is important. They've had to learn their trade and they've played at a really young age which indicates they can handle it.
"They just need that opportunity to prove they can do it at a higher level.
"There's no question the Barclays Premier League is unforgiving. But the opportunity is there for them. Now they have to go and do it."
Given the smile on Lambert's face when the transfer business was wrapped up on deadline night, he's very happy with the astute work he's done.
Bennett looks set to be a modern-day full-back on the left while Bowery will offer a raw forward power up top.
Benteke will be a "handful" according to Lambert while Westwood is firmly in his plans for Saturday, given his "exceptional qualities."
"The opportunity is there for Ashley. I said that to him," recalled Lambert.
"The opportunity is there for him to go and grab it.
"In training, he has been excellent. It's when the match starts that you have to step up to the plate which I'm sure he will do.
"He was captain of Crewe at 21. That is a big thing as well. He's a really top player and could be exceptional here.
"I have no worries about Ashley making that step up from League One. I don't have any trepidation with any of the young lads, about putting them in, none."
Lambert's excitement at his young guns firing in the coming weeks is shared by the fans who are looking excitedly on at the new vision taking shape at Villa.
The personnel may be slowly changing but the approach isn't, however.
Lambert has preached "have-a-go" football since joining the club and he was continuing with this rhetoric at the pre-match press conference on Friday before the Swans game.
"It's the only way I know," said Lambert. "I won't go defensive. We will try and have a right good game and, if we get beat, we will make sure we get beat in the right way.
"But I want to win more games than not, that's for sure.
"It's our home game and we have to get after them. We are at home, we have to try and make the running. The onus is always on the home team to make the running.
"We know what we want to do in our own heads and we will try and implement it. We have to make sure we have to go on the front foot."
It will certainly be easier to do that given the fitness news coming out of camp on the eve of the Villa Park clash.
Fabian Delph [thigh], Chris Herd [knee] and Joe Bennett [ankle] are all fit for action while Gabby Agbonlahor [knee] has suffered no ill effects after coming back into the fray at Newcastle.
Match: Villa v Swansea
AVTV DON'T MISS
New signings Christian Benteke, Joe Bennett, Ashley Westwood and Jordan Bowery could all make their debuts.
Manager Paul Lambert has no fresh injury concerns going into the Swansea clash.
Marc Albrighton [foot] is set to resume training next week but Richard Dunne [groin] is still out of action.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has been forced into a defensive reshuffle with Chico Flores suspended and Neil Taylor sustaining a long-term injury.
But newcomers Dwight Tiendalli and Pablo Hernandez could feature for the Welsh outfit.
Tickets for this match are still available.
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GENTING BETTING GUIDE
Villa win - 13/10
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Villa will be wearing their home kit of claret and blue.
LAST TIME OUT
Villa 0-2 Swansea
If Darren Bent features it will be the 350th league game of his career.
This is the 20th meeting between the two teams. Villa have won 14, Swansea four and there has been one draw.
Swansea striker Luke Moore could make his 200th league appearance. He made 87 of those for Villa.
Joe Bennett is the only one of Villa's summer signings to have played a Premier League game prior to this season.
Visiting forward Michu could become the first player to score in his first four Premier League matches.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 2 - 0 Swansea (14th September 2012) >
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