Villa v West Ham preview: Lambert - We want to increase the gap
Paul Lambert is eager to build a gap between Villa and the teams below them as he welcomes West Ham on Saturday.
Lambert is more than aware that Villa are only five points off the drop zone in the Barclays Premier League but he's also comfortable with the team's placing of 10th.
He insists that "there are a lot of teams who'd like to be where we are" as he eyes three points against one of them, the Hammers, this weekend.
Lambert is eager to keep on securing maximum points as often as possible to build a big space in the currently tight top-flight table.
He said: "It's a massive game for us.
"We are at home. We have been playing well of late. It's important to take that form into your next match.
"If we win this one, it will certainly give us that gap.
"There are that many teams down there. But we are sitting on top of that group.
"I think it will keep on fluctuating. But we have to keep ahead of everything.
"The main thing for me is that we are playing well.
"Everyone wrote us off last season. And we were in a much worse position than this, that's for sure. We managed to do it.
"If you look back at the magnitude of what we did last season, it was great. This season, you look up - you don't look down.
"These next two games we will try to win. Cardiff will be a tough match down there aswell.
"But you focus on Saturday first. We go into this next game in a bit of form.
"We lost at Everton but the confidence is still very high.
"I thought we were comfortable against Everton. Everton had a good bit of the ball which they are entitled to do as the home side.
"They are trying to get into the Champions League so they are going really well.
"The first goal was disappointing. You could have had five goalkeepers in there for the second goal and they wouldn't have saved it.
"I thought the very worst we should have got was a draw overall. I wasn't too disappointed with the way we played.
"If they can keep what they have done of late, they can come out of the traps on Saturday.
"They have that monkey off their backs now with winning at home against West Brom and that's something they have to go and try to do on Saturday again.
"West Ham will provide a hard game. We had hard matches last year against them - and earlier this season too. You have to earn the right to win.
"It's tough but we're in form. That's my main concern. We are playing well. If we can hit the form of late, we will certainly be in the game.
"They have a physical aspect. But they have some good players, good footballers."
He added: "We are strong there.
"Christian is hitting a bit of form. There's Andi in there too, scoring goals again. And Gabby hopefully coming back will be a major coup for us.
"We certainly have goalscorers in the team, that's for sure.
"And, if one does well, the others seem to follow suit. It's the case with those three.
"They have been playing well. At Anfield, for example, they were excellent together."
Villa v West Ham
Paul Lambert press conference - watch here
Pre-match show - watch here
Vlaar came off with a hamstring injury in last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Everton.
The skipper was forced to sit out the last 10 minutes of the clash at Goodison Park and now he is facing a battle to be ready for the visit of the Hammers.
But there is a more positive outlook for Agbonlahor who has been missing since colliding with an advertising board in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool three weeks ago.
Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
Villa have won three and lost just one of their last six Barclays Premier League games against West Ham.
Christian Benteke has scored in three of his last four Premier League appearances.
West Ham have kept the joint-most clean sheets in the Premier League along with Arsenal .
Villa have won four and lost none of their last six Premier League home fixtures against the Hammers.
West Ham midfielder Kevin Nolan has scored three goals and assisted two in his last four Premier League appearances.
At Villa Park, West Ham have managed only two wins from 17 visits in the Premier League. The last of those came in January 2006.
Villa have conceded only three goals in their last six Premier League games against the Hammers and one of these was an own goal.
BetBright matchday odds:
Villa to win - Evens
There's more fun in store ahead of Villa's clash with West Ham as B6 hosts another family funday.
Following on from the successes of previous fundays, another one is set to take place before the Barclays Premier League match with the Hammers.
Enjoy the build-up to the game by checking out a host of free activities in the Villa Park Indoor Academy from 12noon.
These include some activities to celebrate Chinese New Year, including a chopstick challenge.
Mascots Hercules and Bella will be coming along too!
Disabled entrance access at the front - or on the road side - of the Indoor Academy.
Villa's match console is the ultimate place to be to follow the game with West Ham.
Tune in from 12pm 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 Andy Blair 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.
You can enjoy AVTV for £4.99 per month or £44.99 for the year - sign-up today now.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 0 - 2 West Ham (7th February 2014) >
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