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Bradford v Villa: Lambert on healthy keeper competition

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Bradford v Villa: Lambert on healthy keeper competition


Paul Lambert says the battle between Brad Guzan and Shay Given for Villa's No.1 spot epitomises the competition for places he is seeking throughout the squad.

The two goalkeepers have both made strong claims to start against Bradford in tonight's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg clash.

While Guzan has impressed as Villa's regular league keeper since seizing his chance back in September, Given has performed heroically in the cup competitions.

Lambert is remaining tight-lipped over who will feature at the Valley Parade tonight but he was keen to highlight the qualities of both men.

"I wanted players competing for places and we've definitely achieved that with the goalkeepers," he said.

"I think that's why Brad is playing as well as he is, because he knows Shay is there.

"In the Norwich game Shay made incredible saves and on Saturday [against Ipswich] his saves were unbelievable.

"You get to the point where you think 'he isn't going to get beaten'.

"In the second-half the save he made from the lad Mclean was incredible. He's a top, top goalkeeper.

"Guzan is the same. I never really knew how good he was when I arrived because I didn't really know him.

"He was always the number two to Shay or Brad Friedel but over a consistent period he's been absolutely terrific.

"Brad's the same as Shay where you get to the stage where you think 'it's going to take some goal to beat him'."

Lambert received an excellent first impression of Guzan when the American custodian jetted in form talks about rejoining the club in July.

"Brad had left the club and I never knew what had happened," the manager added. 

"I just spoke to him and said 'give it a go, give it one more go'.

"I never made any promises except to say that I'd be fair and he trusted me. I try to be fair with everybody.

"I asked [goalkeeping coach] Terry Gennoe what the situation was with him and he said he'd left but that the door was still kind of open.

"To be fair to Brad he flew back from America to have a chat with us and then flew back. It just shows you the commitment."

Make sure you're there to back the lads against Southampton.

By @AVFCOfficial 8th January 2013
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