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1-0, think we will be able to take advantage with them being without Brown, O'Shea and possibly Borini and the possible return of either/both Vlaar and Benteke.

Guzan, Herd, Vlaar, Baker, Luna, Westwood, Delph, Bacuna, Gabby, Albrighton, Benteke, 4-3-3.

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With West Sam and Fulham playing each other 3 points would be even more extra handy, I've seen Sunderland a few times and they haven't looked as bad as their league positioning might suggest, just a bit toothless and prone to own goals and red cards.


Reading this topic on the Sunderland forum I'm surprised at how unconfident they seem to be, maybe our bad form of late is slipping under the radar.

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Latest on Vlaar and Tekkers...




Sunderland v Villa injury news: Benteke back in training
Paul Lambert reveals injury latest.
30th Dec 2013


Paul Lambert will decide in the next 24 hours whether to unleash Christian Benteke against Sunderland after revealing the striker is back in training.

Benteke trained with his team-mates this morning and could feature in the New Year's Day clash at the Stadium of Light.

The 22-year-old has been nursing a knee problem that has kept him out of Villa's last three Barclays Premier League games.

Meanwhile, Lambert is also keeping tabs on the fitness of Ron Vlaar, who did some light training this morning as he steps up his recovery from a calf injury.

Vlaar hasn't featured since being forced off at half time during the 3-2 victory at Southampton on December 4.

If the skipper is able to feature, it will be a timely return with fellow centre-back Ciaran Clark set to serve a one-match suspension.

Joe Bennett is also on the road to recovery following a long spell on the sidelines with a back injury.

"Christian trained this morning and he looked ok," said Lambert.

"He feels ok within himself. He's back and hopefully he'll go and do what he did for us at the tail end of last year, which is when Christian started to score all of his goals - at the turn of the year."

Asked about Vlaar, the Villa boss added: "He's looking ok at the minute. We'll see how he is and judge it tomorrow."

Make sure you pick up match tickets for Villa v Sheff Utd.



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Lambert says Vlaar is "looking ok at the minute. We'll see how he is and judge it tomorrow." and that Benteke "trained this morning and he looked ok".



**** great news that. Particularly Ron with Clarke out. Despite his form being way off the pace, we've looked doubly inept going forward since Benteke went down too. Hopefully this is him cleared up because if he finds his form again it will radically change how we play.

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