Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists he's counting on Darren Bent.

Lambert sparked debate by leaving Bent out of some squads before his injury lay-off, but hinted the striker has a part to play if he contributes to the team like he did on Saturday.

"Darren's a natural finisher," said Lambert. "Everyone knows that. People outside of Britain know what kind of striker he is.

"Christian Benteke has played unbelievable football for us and the system we have been playing, we have only had one up front at some times.

"But you have to give Darren credit for the way he performed.

"The goal was Darren Bent down to a tee. But I thought his game was very good, his whole work ethic and the way he played. His finishing was top class. I thought his whole general game was very good, considering he only really trained with us on Friday, so it was a big, big effort from him."