Reading v Villa media watch: Lambert at war/Dalglish praise
Goal.com: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has urged his squad to "play the game and not the occasion" ahead of their crucial clash with relegation rivals Reading. The Midlands outfit go into Saturday's game at the Madejski Stadium mired in the relegation zone and just one point ahead of Brian McDermott's 18th-placed side. But the 43-year old says his team must show "fight", and not be overawed by the potential consequences of the fixture.
Daily Mail: Paul Lambert has likened Aston Villa's fight against the drop to an "absolute war", telling his players to appreciate and fight for the club's precious status in the Barclays Premier League. The Scot enters a week with a huge bearing on Villa's immediate future as they travel to second-from-bottom Reading on Saturday and welcome QPR to Villa Park next weekend. While Lambert believes his young team are playing without pressure, he felt the need to spell out exactly what is at stake.
Sporting Life: Paul Lambert has challenged his Aston Villa players to show courage and "play the game and not the occasion" in Saturday's Barclays Premier League relegation clash with Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Villa are in the bottom three and approaching a vital week in their battle to stay in the top flight with a home match to follow against bottom placed QPR next weekend. But Lambert senses no fear in his squad about the battle to survive and admits he thrives on the pressure.
Daily Mirror: Kenny Dalglish Column - Aston Villa have had a wretched season so far but I have still been impressed with the spirit the team has shown. The young lads in the side have given it absolutely everything and if they had had a bit of luck now and again, Villa could be well clear of the relegation zone. Instead, they're right in the thick of it down at the bottom and their game at Reading today will be critical as to whether the Villans stay up or not. If Villa keep their belief, there is no reason why they can't do it.
Birmingham Mail: Ron Vlaar looks set to start for Villa today after overcoming his niggling calf problem. The Dutch defender has trained for the past two days and will give the claret and blues' leaky defence a welcomed boost. Boss Paul Lambert is expected to drop Joe Bennett and move Nathan Baker to left-back to accommodate Vlaar. It means the club captain will partner Ciaran Clark in the centre of defence after Lambert confirmed the Republic of Ireland ace is 'over' his mistake against Manchester City last time out.
Daily Star: Forgotten man Stuart Taylor is determined to prove he has not fallen off the face of the football earth. Taylor has spent so much time on the bench during his career you can hardly blame him for briefly losing his bearings after being picked to play at Everton last week. "I thought I was going to go out, turn around and just sit on the bench like normal," said Taylor, who joined Reading last summer. "But to go out there and be starting again it felt good because it's been a long time."
Irish Examiner: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists Richard Dunne's niggling groin and hip injuries are not career-threatening. "You can't say that it is career threatening," insists the Scot. "The guy is trying his up-most to get himself back fit. "He has been to the best on the other side of the world and it seems to be niggly little things. It feels good at some point and doesn't feel good at others."
Sky Sports: Matt Lowton has urged his Aston Villa team-mates to keep fighting in two 'massive games' against Reading and Queens Park Rangers. All three sides are currently languishing in the Premier League relegation zone and Lowton admits it is vital for Villa to pick up some important points in the next fortnight. The defender was encouraged by a spirited display in losing 1-0 to Manchester City on Monday and is confident of beating the drop.
ESPN: Gabriel Agbonlahor has said Aston Villa are prepared for their relegation battle to go to a final-day decider at Wigan but believe they can avoid such a tense scenario. Agbonlahor is feeling the pain of Villa's struggles at the wrong end of the Premier League table more than many because of his boyhood allegiance to his hometown club. The attacker said he was keen to avoid the prospect of survival boiling down to the clash at the DW Stadium - and told his team-mates that forthcoming games against Reading and QPR could go a long way towards avoiding the prospect.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.