West Brom v Villa preview: Lambert - We can expect the unexpected
Paul Lambert says we can "expect the unexpected" as Villa travel to West Brom on Monday.
Lambert is a big fan of derbies, having played in his fair share in Scotland - Celtic v Rangers - and Germany - Dortmund v Schalke.
As a connoisseur of these clashes, boss Lambert anticipates an entertaining encounter in a lively environment.
But he also thinks the stage is set for someone to come forward and deliver something exceptional.
He said: "I think a derby game can throw up anything. Nobody knows what's going to happen.
"Everyone knows a derby is important for supporters, first and foremost. For the team and the football club it's vital to try to win a derby game.
"I had the upbringing for Celtic v Rangers. I knew what that game meant to half the city of Glasgow.
"I also played in Dortmund v Schalke. I was unaware of the importance of that one initially. Then the lads told me all about it and I played in front of 85,000 fans so I then knew what I was getting involved in at that point.
"I have been involved in two West Brom v Villa derbies now too. I know the atmosphere will be there. You can see it's a great game to play in.
"But the thing with every derby is the fact it doesn't matter who is playing well, you could be top or bottom of the table or near each other, it doesn't make a difference because in this type of game people do things which look extraordinary - things they wouldn't do in a normal game. That's a derby.
"People say it and I have certainly been involved in tight derby games. But you can also win by six or lose by five. Derby games are like that. You've got to expect the unexpected. You never know what can happen.
"The Hawthorns has got a really good atmosphere because it's smaller and the ground is on top of you. It's a really good environment there and I'm sure Monday night will be no different."
Supporters live for this match and Lambert says the players are more than aware of the derby significance - but he has stressed the importance of staying cool under pressure.
He continued: "People get caught up in things. The fans are at another level and the players are the same.
"The atmosphere tells you all about the game.
"You have to handle the atmosphere first and foremost. Then you play with your brain and do nothing silly. You then get a foothold.
"But you just have to play with your brain and be disciplined.
"You have a chance to win with 11. We must play with our heads. You play the game not the occasion. That's what we will try to do."
Lambert also spoke of his admiration for West Brom and the job being done by Steve Clarke at The Hawthorns.
But, despite this appreciation, Lambert has immense faith in his own team to deliver the right result in front of a passionate away support.
He added: "Stevie has got a good team there. They're a good side with a lot of experienced lads. It was already set there. Roy did a great job. Steve has taken it on. They have added a few on to it. But they are a good team.
"However, we concentrate on our game. I have great belief in my own team.
"We will have a top travelling support too.They will make themselves heard. Our away fans are fantastic.
"You find that sometimes when you're smaller in numbers at a match, you make more noise.
"Our travelling fans have certainly been excellent and I am sure they will be again on Monday."
West Brom v Villa
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Benteke trained with his team-mates despite injuring his knee on international duty with Belgium.
Weimann was also able to join in with the rest of the squad this week after a hamstring problem ruled him out of the victory over Cardiff a fortnight ago.
Brad Guzan is fine despite hurting his ankle in the Cardiff game.
Lambert will also assess the fitness of Gabby Agbonlahor as the striker continues his recovery from an ankle problem.
Villa will be wearing their home kit of claret and blue.
Villa have made fewer substitutions than any other team in the Barclays Premier League this season, using just 24 of the possible 33 after 11 games.
Villa have kept three clean sheets in the last five Barclays Premier League matches.
A total of 10 out of the 14 goals scored by West Brom against Villa in the Barclays Premier League have come in the second half.
The only time Villa have played West Brom on November 25 came in 1978, with the match finishing 1-1, Allan Evans and Tony Brown scoring the goals.
There have been 18 goals scored in the five Barclays Premier League matches on a Monday so far this season, an average of 3.6 per game.
Villa's match console is the ultimate place to be to follow the game with West Brom.
Tune in and be part of the claret and blue conversation.
Before the game starts, the match console will also contain pre-match analysis, interactive polls and a free video package previewing the game.
During the match itself, you can follow the action and interact with Paul Brown and Dan Harrison in the match console.
Paul and Dan will bring you blow by blow action as the game unfolds as well as the thoughts of fans logging-in from all over the planet.
After the game, the match console contains a game report, manager's verdict, stat pack and a picture gallery.
You can boost the coverage of the game in the subscription-only area of the match console.
Here, you can enjoy live audio commentary, with Jack Woodward joined by Tony Morley on the microphone throughout the 90 minutes.
Also, in our subscription area, you get a video interview with Paul Lambert and the star players from the game and extended highlights too.
This costs £4.99 per month or £44.99 for year - sign up today here.
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