Paul Lambert predicts top three Championship promotion contenders

Paul Lambert manager of Blackburn Rovers

Paul Lambert believes it is down to relegated trio Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United.

Paul Lambert manager of Blackburn RoversPaul Lambert 

After Ian Holloway caused a stir with his prediction for Aston Villa's season, former boss Paul Lambert had a more positive spin.

Holloway had attracted the ire of Villa owner Tony Xia by telling SkySports he is being generous by predicting they will finish 16th.

New owner Dr Tony Xia during the press conferenceNew owner Dr Tony Xia during the press conference

Lambert, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Football Club (1/8) at 7pm, said he views Villa as strong promotion contenders and cannot look past the three sides relegated from the Premier League last season.

He said: "I don't think they'll be far off. Newcastle have the best chance, Norwich close, Villa will be in there.

"The three teams relegated will be hard pushed not to go back up."

Lambert will not be facing Villa next season, having quit his job as Blackburn Rovers in the summer, and says he is in no rush to jump back into management.

Villa have bought well this summer but are lower on numbers, arguably needing a top striker before they can really feel confident about finishing in the top two.

Next season is a rebuilding job and Roberto di Matteo has a big task at hand, which begins with a difficult trip to Sheffield Wednesday this Sunday.

New manager Roberto Di Matteo poses after the press conferenceNew manager Roberto Di Matteo poses after the press conference

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