Villa v Newcastle: Lambert - Dunne can play key role in survival bid
Lambert is remaining cautious over Dunne's chances of featuring in the clash against Newcastle.
He is reluctant to rush the Republic of Ireland defender back and risk a reoccurrence of the groin injury which has kept him out of action since last summer's European Championships.
But the Villa boss is looking forward to having Dunne available again in the coming weeks.
Lambert believes the talismanic centre-back's presence will boost the team in terms of defensive steel and organisation.
"He knows the game inside out," said Lambert.
"Richard has had a great career but you can't rush somebody that's been out for that length of time.
"He will go and put his head in. He's been around the block and knows the game. He knows exactly what it entails.
"He's what we need, especially when the ball comes into the penalty area, going to compete and putting your head on the line.
"He's a good talker too, a really good talker."
Dunne was expected to step up his training ahead of the Magpies clash and Lambert will talk to him before making a decision on his availability.
It has been a frustrating season for the former Manchester City ace, who underwent surgery to correct the ongoing problem.
"It's been a nightmare for him," said Lambert.
"He's had operations, then another one and he's still not been getting to the bottom of it.
"But at this minute he's feeling not too bad.
"I'll go by Richard himself. We've had chats to see how he's feeling but he's been out for over half a year now and he's hardly trained.
"So it's difficult just to throw him back in. It's difficult for players who have been out for a few weeks, never mind half a year.
"You're taking a risk there. We'll see how he feels on the morning of the game."
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