Aston Villa planning to spoil Harry Redknapp's party at QPR

Redknapp takes charge of first game at Loftus Road

Manager Paul Lambert wants Aston Villa to move further away from relegation danger by spoiling Harry Redknapp's first home game in charge of QPR tomorrow.

Lambert is aware that a Villa win will lift them 11 points clear of bottom-placed Rangers, who replaced Mark Hughes with Redknapp a week ago.

He believes the pressure will be on QPR and hopes Villa can build on collecting four points from their last two games at home to Arsenal and Reading.

Lambert said: "Harry going in there will automatically give them a big lift because he is a brilliant manager.

"Everyone knows what Harry can do from the clubs he has been at during his career.

"QPR have an abundance of really good players, the crowd will be buoyant and will get behind him. You wish him well - but after tomorrow.

"The pressure is on QPR to make the running but we are definitely a threat, that's for sure.

"We would be happy to win the game for ourselves and keep them down there.

"We are certainly playing well enough to go and win. We are only a few points off mid-table. It is so tight in the bottom half of the table."

Lambert has great faith in Villa's crop of youngsters and they fielded their most inexperienced Premier League line-up against Reading in midweek with an average age of 23 years and 324 days.

Striker Christian Benteke has been grabbing plenty of headlines for his goalscoring feats including the late headed winner against the Royals.

But Lambert has also been pleased with the impact of former Crewe midfielder Ashley Westwood, another of his summer signings.

Lambert said: "We have a really young team, our youngest side in the Premier League since it started, which bodes well for the future.

"The young lads have been exceptional since Sunderland. I couldn't ask for any more from them. We had a tough run with the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal.

"Benteke has been unbelievable for us and Ashley Westwood has been absolutely terrific. People like Ashley are maybe not getting the credit they deserve.

"He is playing unbelievable football, he never gives it away and that's from a young lad who has just come from Crewe. He's slotted in so well and stayed in the side."

Lambert again had to field questions over the exclusion of record signing, striker Darren Bent, from the substitute's bench for the past two games.

But he confirmed Villa have received no inquiries for the England international and that he has not handed in a transfer request.

Lambert also denied there is a clause requiring the midlands club to make a £3 million payment to Sunderland if Bent makes 50 league appearances.

The 28-year-old has so far clocked up 47 league games for Villa.

But when asked if Bent had asked to leave, if anyone had asked to sign him or if there was a clause in the deal, Lambert said: "No".

Villa left-back Enda Stevens has been ruled out of the trip to Loftus Road with the ankle injury suffered during the midweek win over Reading.

Eric Lichaj is set to replace the former Shamrock Rovers player but skipper and centre-back Ron Vlaar remains a major doubt with a calf problem.

PA

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