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Lambert looking at break to give Villa clean bill of health

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert hopes the fortnight's break will give his squad time to claim a clean bill of health. Villa moved out of the bottom three of the Premier League via Sunday's 2-1 home win over West Ham but do not play again until they visit Arsenal on February 23.

"We have got this breather now after what has been a hectic period," Lambert said.

"There have also been lads away with their various national teams. It will give them a break.

"It will also let people like Gabby and Charles recover from illness and injury.

"Charles has hurt his knee. He has this fortnight's break so hopefully he will be okay while Ron Vlaar also took a knock.

"There has also been a sickness bug at the club. Ashley Westwood had it during last week and Gabby and Karim had it the night before the West Ham game and on the day of the match.

"It was a blow but hopefully everyone will be okay and fit for the Arsenal game."

Lambert praised the character shown by his players even when results have been going against them.

He said: "They have taken a lot of knocks and a lot of criticisms but we've never let their heads go down. That's important.

"We've played well in some recent games, the first half at West Brom, the second half against Newcastle, and at Everton we were excellent.

"From mid-table to the bottom, there is little in it and another eight or nine teams are doing the same as what we are doing."

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Dave Williams

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