Villa v Bradford preview: Lambert - Players hungry for success
Paul Lambert sees this semi-final against Bradford as a chance for his players to earn a super showpiece at the hallowed Wembley Stadium, with the prospect of a cup triumph the ultimate prize.
But the boss knows this game means a lot more than that.
Lambert believes the confidence will "break through" if Villa can see off the Bantams on Tuesday.
And that has exciting implications for the Barclays Premier League campaign.
Lambert is hopeful that the team will surge up the top-flight table with the shot in the arm gained from these cup exploits.
First, of course, is the tough task of seeing off the League Two side, who have a 3-1 lead from the first-leg at Valley Parade.
It's a good advantage but Lambert believes his team can overturn the deficit, especially with a raucous crowd behind them.
He said: "It's well within their capabilities to do it. They are playing well enough to do it. And I know for a fact the stadium will be absolutely bouncing. It'll be a different ball game from what it was a fortnight ago.
"I am pretty sure everyone will make us favourites to turn it round. I think everyone will do that.
"In a cup game anything can happen. But with a big pitch and a crowd behind us hopefully we will be able to score more than we did up in Bradford. We had a lot of chances up at Bradford.
"If we can create that amount then we'll be close.
"We've got to take them but there is a lot of confidence about the team at the moment, especially after the first half at West Brom.
"We should have been out of sight on Saturday. If we do what we've been doing of late, hopefully we will go through.
"My message to the fans is 'get right behind us and do what you've been doing.' I can't ask anymore because I know the stadium will be absolutely rocking.
"The players will feed off the atmosphere. It happened in the game against Manchester United. You look at that game and I couldn't hear myself shout with the noise levels that the stadium generated.
"We'll be ready for this. We know we have to come out the traps really quickly.
"We need the fans to drive us through and you need your players to go and perform. It will be a terrific occasion for everyone.
"If we get through the confidence will break through. It will be great. The feeling around the club will be massive.
"It will be a great thing. It can definitely play a huge part in the season turning.
"It's clear there is no grey area in this one. We have to win and get through. We're not going in with any apprehension at all. We know we have to go and do it."
Lambert was keen to stress the importance of defending resolutely after it cost his team in the first-leg.
The boss is confident his side has enough firepower to blast Villa into the final if they can perform solidly at the other end.
He continued: "You have to be prepared to put your head onto the ball when it comes into the box. If we do that, hopefully we will have enough going forward.
"I think in an attacking sense the football club is strong - Christian, Gabby, Darren and Andreas.
"There are lads there who have goals in them. And we have lads who can provide them. There is that ability to make chances happen."
After seeing the Baggies clash, Lambert will be eager to let Charles N'Zogbia off the leash on Tuesday.
N'Zogbia's stats were terrific as he set up both goals and caused permanent panic in the Albion backline.
The manager will hope to see the wideman sparkle against the Bantams.
He added: "We've got him in a position he really enjoys and to play that position, you've got to have a talent.
"It is not easy to find little holes and pockets on the pitch but he does it.
"Saturday was his best game. He is a definite talent. He goes past people as if they are not there."
Now let's hope Villa can 'go past' Bradford on what promises to be an enthralling evening.
Villa v Bradford
Seats are still available.
You can contact 0800 612 0970 or visit Villa Park/New Street to pick up.
AVTV DON'T MISS
Delph and Baker were forced off during Saturday's 2-2 draw at West Brom with ankle and hamstring injuries respectively.
The second leg against Bradford is likely to come too soon for Baker but Delph is hopeful of recovering in time.
Given has been Villa's regular cup keeper this term but must shake off a hamstring problem if he is to feature against the Bantams.
Andreas Weimann will be available after missing the West Brom game through illness.
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Villa win - 4/11 [90mins]
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Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
King Edwards School car park is closed this evening.
Please use alternative official car parks.
This is the first time Bradford have reached the League Cup semi-finals in the competition's 53-year history.
They are the first fourth tier club to progress this far since Paul Lambert's Wycombe in 2006-07.
This is the 14th time Villa have been in the semi-finals.
It is the second time Villa have faced a fourth-tier club in the League Cup semi-finals. In 1975 Villa drew 2-2 at Chester before winning 3-2 at Villa Park in the second leg.
Snap up your tickets for the Bradford clash.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 2 - 1 Bradford (21st January 2013) >
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