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Norwich v Villa: Lambert backs Clark and Baker to fill Okore void
Paul Lambert on defensive conundrum.
19th Sep 2013
Norwich v Villa: Lambert backs Clark and Baker to fill Okore void


Harrison

Paul Lambert has backed Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker to step up to the plate in the absence of injured defender Jores Okore.

Lambert admits it is a major blow to lose summer signing Okore, who faces up to nine months on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The Villa boss will to turn to Clark or Baker to partner captain Ron Vlaar in central defence against Norwich on Saturday.

But he insists the academy graduates both have what it take to solve his team's defensive conundrum.

Clark and Baker made 60 appearances between them last term and Lambert feels they are battle-hardened from the experience of playing regular top-flight football.

"Ciaran and Nathan have been round the block and they know what it's like," said Lambert.

"Ciaran played really well for us when he came in at Arsenal. He lost his place at Chelsea but I thought he started the game well and did great.

"Nathan got injured at Arsenal which was the blow but the two of them are back.

"They know the situation and whoever plays out of those two will be fine.

"They're young so they are going to make mistakes but towards the end of last season they were great.

"Now they've had a year at it playing consistently they will be better for it. I don't have any problem with Ciaran or Nathan at all."

Lambert says the loss of Okore was tough to take as the Denmark international had shown great promise since his arrival from Nordsjaelland in the summer.

But the manager is adamant Okore will bounce back stronger from the setback.

"He started to find his feet and he was doing ever so well," added Lambert.

"It is a blow for himself first and foremost and a blow for us as a football club but he'll work hard to get back.

"The good thing is he is only 21-years-old so he's got a long, long time left in the game and he'll come back stronger from it.

"Now an ACL is pretty much standard that you can come back from it whereas in years gone by you would really struggle so from that point of view he is ok."

Lambert said a couple of his players are carrying niggles ahead of the Canaries clash but he is hopeful that they will have cleared by Saturday.

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