By Paul Brown
Paul Lambert has praised the impact of Gabby Agbonlahor in the past few weeks, insisting: "He's been excellent."
Ace Agbonlahor suffered a massive blow in pre-season, badly injuring his knee in the clash with Chicago Fire in USA.
That kept him out for the start of the season, something he admitted left him "gutted."
Now he's getting back to top speed and looking good.
Lambert knows Agbonlahor will be a major player as the campaign progresses.
He said: "I think Gabby has been excellent the last few weeks. He's been in excellent form.
"Look at his goal against Swindon. It was top drawer, world-class.
"Strikers judge themselves on goals but there is a lot more to Gabby's game that just that.
"His work-rate is phenomenal and the way he is playing at the moment is excellent."
Agbonlahor has been partnering giant Christian Benteke in the last few games.
Lambert has also been thrilled with his new signing.
He added: "I think he will get better and better. His two goals were brilliant.
"He has been an absolute pleasure to work with. He is going to be a big player.
"He plays in a brilliant Belgium team and he puts himself in positions where he gets chances.
"He might not score every time but he actually puts himself in positions.
"The last goal was top drawer against Swindon."
Lambert will assess the fitness of Chris Herd, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker this week as he looks for someone to partner Ron Vlaar in the centre of defence.
He continued: "Chris injured his knee. We don't know how bad it is yet.
"We've got to hope one of the lads, Chris, Ciaran or Nathan is okay.
"Ciaran is not looking to bad at the moment and Richard is not looking too bad.
"We will see how they are this week."
Karim El Ahmadi will miss the Sunderland game after picking up his fifth booking.
Lambert admits it's a blow but said you can't curtail El Ahmadi's all-action game.
He added: "That's the line you tread but you can't curtail him. That's the way Karim plays.
"There is no point in me picking him if you tell him to hold off. He goes in for 50-50s and if they catch someone or are late, then you have to take the consequences."
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