Premier League

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert reckons Gabriel Agbonlahor is nearing top form

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has been impressed by Gabriel Agbonlahor

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Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert reckons striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is showing signs of returning to his best form for the team.

Agbonlahor had a frustrating start to the season after sustaining a knee ligament injury, but he has started to regain his sharpness in recent weeks and scored the only goal in the win at Sunderland last weekend.

And Lambert is confident the 26-year-old can form a productive partnership with Christian Benteke as he prepares his charges for the visit of Manchester United on Saturday.

"I think Gabby at this minute in time is playing extremely well," Lambert said. "There is a belief that he's starting to hit top form and is definitely a real handful. He's really quick.

"When he gets up to speed, he is a handful. If he can get goals to go with his game, he will be really fine.

"Gabby and Christian look a threat. The two of them are a handful at the moment for anybody."

Lambert is relishing rather than being fearful of a run of fixtures which sees Villa face United, Manchester City and Arsenal in successive weeks.

He said: "Any game in the Premier League is really tough whether you are playing Manchester United, Manchester City or anyone else.

"They are the fixtures we have to play next and you get on with it. It's something I will look forward to, not something I will think, 'Oh here we go'.

"I know the task of it and the team know the task of it, but on any given day you just don't know what can happen.

"To beat someone like United you need a bit of luck. We also have to believe that we can win. The belief in the football team at the minute is there.

"We are going to have to play well against them that's for sure."

Lambert is also taking encouragement from Villa's own recent performances, saying: "We've been on a bit of run. When you get a bit of a run or achieve a good result, everyone comes in for the week feeling buoyant. This week has been no different.

"We are doing really fine. They are a young team but I think they are starting to get there."