All the latest news, views and transfer stories from Villa Park...
Scott Sinclair deal stalls
Aston Villa’s pursuit of Manchester City outcast Scott Sinclair appears to have hit a stumbling block, with the two clubs unable to agree a fee at this point.
“There’s nothing going on with that at the moment – from both ends,” the paper quoted manager Paul Lambert from his press conference ahead of the weekend’s Liverpool game.
“We can’t do what Man City are asking us to do at this minute. If it became feasible financially then who knows but there’s a bit of them asking too much at the moment.
“We can’t do what Man City are asking us to do at this minute.
“If it became feasible financially then who knows but there’s a bit of them asking too much at the moment.”
Joe Cole sidelined again
Joe Cole is set for another spell on the sidelines, after picking up a hamstring strain in the 1-0 defeat at Leicester last weekend.
The midfielder lasted 71 minutes at the King Power Stadium before having to come off, and Lambert has told the club’s official website that he looks set to miss the Liverpool clash.
There is better news elsewhere, however, with the Scot confirming that Nathan Baker is in line to replace the suspended Ciaran Clark after being out since November with a twisted ankle.
“Joe Cole's got a little hamstring strain so he's a doubt,” he said. “But Nathan trained and has done for the last few days.
"He went out of the team with an injury in a spell where he was playing ever so well.
"Ciaran came in and hasn't looked back with the way he's been playing.
"You know what you're going to get with Nathan,” he continued. “You get 110% commitment from him and you know you'll get that on Saturday.
"He hasn't had much game time but he's been training. I don't have a problem putting him in.
"We've got one or two starting to come back but Joe's the one who's struggling."
Lambert urges fans not to protest
Meanwhile, with pressure mounting on Lambert, the beleaguered boss has been quoted on Sky Sports as urging supporters not to stage the planned protest during Saturday’s match at Villa Park.
Unofficial fans websites Villa Blog, My Old Man Said and A Villa Fan have all called on fellow supporters to boycott the opening eight minutes – representing owner Randy Lerner’s eight seasons in charge - via an open letter entitled ‘We Want Our Villa Back'.
However, Lambert believes their actions will be counterproductive to the chances of earning three valuable points, and has called for them to show their passion through getting behind the side instead.
"I understand the fans' frustrations, but we'll have a better chance of winning a game of football if they don't protest, if they stick with the lads, no matter how hard it gets at times,” he said.
"When the stadium is behind the players it's a great place to play football, and we've a better chance of winning if they don't do it. Whoever has planned it, I hope the guy next to them tries to keep them on their seat.
"I don't want Aston Villa fans to come to Villa Park - or even away from home - and not see the team win or not be entertained."
Lambert has also made it clear that he will not be quitting the club, despite the mounting criticism from the claret and blue faithful.
"I want to make a success of this,” he added. “I'm obviously not happy with the way things are going, with what's happening in the last third of the pitch.
“But anybody that knows me knows I'm not one for downing tools and walking away. I've never done that in my football career, and I don't intend to do it now."