Premier League: Paul Lambert predicts typical derby match for new West Brom boss
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is expecting a typically passionate Midlands clash against Pepe Mel's West Brom team.
Last Updated: 29/01/14 8:16am
Wednesday night will see former Real Betis boss Mel take charge of only his second Premier League match when Albion travel to Villa Park.
Speaking ahead of the match, Lambert believes the Spaniard is still somewhat of an unknown quantity.
"It could be harder for us, preparing to face a team with a new manager," he said.
"His reputation is there for everybody to see, and what he's done in Spain. It's new to him. The league's new to him. West Brom is new to him. We'll see."
But Lambert is confident that the home side's derby day support could be the difference.
"The atmosphere won't need lifting. It will be there anyway. We'll have the majority of the crowd on our side this time and they'll get right behind us, I've got no doubt about that," he added.
The sides last met in late November when Villa battled back from 2-0 down to earn a draw at The Hawthorns.
However, Steve Clarke was the West Brom boss then and Lambert is unsure how Mel might set up his team for this match.
"It's hard to say because when I played Steve's team in the last couple of years it was roughly the same," he said. "The atmosphere takes over in a derby game, you do things, you probably get caught up in the game at certain times. We'll see what happens."
Gabriel Agbonlahor could miss the match with a foot injury, but Lambert has faith in Wigan loanee Grant Holt, who is looking for his first Aston Villa goal.
"He's been fantastic about the place for us," the Villa boss said. "He's a good guy, good character and I thought he did great when he came on at Liverpool. He's given us that lift, no doubt."