But he admits tonight's game may have come just too soon for the 33-year-old, who has had three ops since his last game for Villa against Norwich last May.
Lambert said: "Richard has had a great career and knows the game inside out. But it's difficult to throw players back in after a few weeks out - never mind half a year.
"Dunney is the type who will put his head in. He has been around the block and knows what we need when the ball comes in the area.
"He'll compete and put his head on the line. But it would be unfair to ask him to do something he feels uncomfortable with or would struggle to do."