The Times: Paul Lambert, the Aston Villa manager, fears his young team have become an "easy target" for harsh treatment by referees. Villa are away to Stoke City tomorrow for what is a vital match but also a meeting between the two teams at the foot of the Fair Play table. "I think some of our bookings are because we are young and an easy target," Lambert said. "We have deserved some bookings but some we haven't."
Daily Mail: Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa's youngsters are being picked on by referees. The Scot takes his side to the Britannia Stadium tomorrow for a clash against Stoke City that is sure to be a hotly contested affair, given the positions of the two clubs. And Lambert does so with his club and that led by Tony Pulis occupying the bottom two places in the Fair Play league. Lambert believes his side have fallen victim to officialdom on occasion this season.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert fears Villa are being victimised by some referees who view his young players as an "easy target." Lambert has no argument over some of the decisions to caution his players but claims there have been cases where their ages and lower profiles have counted against them.
Daily Express: Paul Lambert wants referees to stop picking on his Aston Villa kids as the two teams with the worst disciplinary records in the Premier League clash tomorrow. Villa have collected sixty-five yellow cards so far this season, the most of any club, and two reds. Stoke, Villa's opponents in another relegation match that they must not lose, are the worst-behaved club in the country with sixty-one bookings and three dismissals. Villa are second-bottom of the disciplinary table and third-bottom of the table with seven games left. And Lambert wants referees to help improve the first problem while he deals with the second.
Sky Sports: Paul Lambert believes it has worked against Aston Villa to have such a young side this season because referees find it easier to issue yellow cards. Villa have a poor disciplinary record in the Premier League, having collected sixty-five bookings, but Lambert does not think the statistics tell the whole story. Lambert would like to think that officials treat all players the same regardless of their experience, but he does feel that some of the decisions to go against his men this term have been harsh.
Daily Star: Paul Lambert insists his young bravehearts won't buckle in tomorrow's 'Battle of the Brit.' Lambert's Aston Villa side go head to head with relegation rivals Stoke in what has all the hallmarks of a tasty encounter. Stoke are top of the Premier League's 'bad boy' table, with sixty-one yellows and three reds. Villa are just below them with sixty-five yellows and two reds and there is plenty at stake as the relegation dogfight is cranked up another notch. Lambert feels his side have been unfairly targeted by refs but says his youngsters will not wilt in the heat.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has challenged Villa to 'Rule Britannia' for the first time in tomorrow's survival scrap at Stoke by frustrating the partisan Potters crowd. Villa have never won at the Britannia Stadium with two draws and two defeats in their previous four visits. But tomorrow would be the perfect time to start because a victory would take the 18th-placed claret and blues, currently on 30 points, to within a point of Stoke, who have 34 points and are 13th. Lambert admits Villa must try to silence Stoke's supporters by playing on the nerves of the fervent fanbase.
Daily Mirror: Paul Lambert has confirmed Aston Villa are in negotiations to offload flop Jean II Makoun permanently to Rennes. Gerard Houllier paid £6m to Lyon to take the Cameroon midfielder to Villa in January 2011. But he only made seven starts and was bombed out on loan, first to Olympiacos and then to Rennes.
The Sun: Aston Villa have joined the chase to land nineteen-goal Walsall hotshot Will Grigg. Boss Paul Lambert has been monitoring the Saddlers star as there are doubts over the Villa Park futures of strikers Darren Bent and Christian Benteke. Northern Ireland international Grigg, 21, is out of contract in June and has been offered a new two-year deal.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has told Villa's NextGen Series heroes to savour their success and remember football is about glory rather than "money and flash cars." Lambert flew to Lake Como to see Tony McAndrew's claret and blues lift the U19s European Cup with a final victory over Chelsea on Monday.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.