Paul Lambert prioritising Premier League over cup

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ASTON Villa boss Paul Lambert has admitted Saturday’s Barclays Premier League showdown with Manchester City is his priority as he prepares his side for tonight’s Capital One Cup clash with
Tottenham.

Lambert is likely to rest a number of his star names for the knockout tie after a gruelling start to the season which is due to continue at the weekend against Manuel Pellegrini’s in-form side.

Christian Benteke is almost certain to sit out after suffering a shoulder injury in last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich, with his replacement and goalscorer Libor Kozak pushing for a start.

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Antonio Luna could also be rested after returning from injury issues against the Canaries, with Lambert acknowledging his side’s tough start to the season has taken its toll.

Lambert told his club’s official website: “We’ve played really hard teams in this opening spell – three teams you think will be round about there in Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, and now we’ve got two more tough ones.

“The main one is Saturday but we’ll do our best to get through the Tottenham tie.”

World Cup-winner Juan Mata and Brazil defender David Luiz are to feature as Chelsea travel to Swindon in the third round.

Manager Jose Mourinho has told Mata, who has made only two starts this term after being near ever-present in his first two seasons at Chelsea, to prove his worth at the County Ground.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay believes his side’s experiences in the Championship mean they will cope better than most with any fixture congestion.

The Bluebirds head to West Ham for a third-round clash that will take place just two days after their gut-wrenching 1-0 defeat to Spurs but the Scot said: “I think it is easier for us to retain that work-rate. In the Championship we regularly played Tuesday and Saturday.”