It is understood that Villa owner Randy Lerner’s faith in his manager is not believed to have wavered, despite witnessing the club crash out of the cup at the semi-final stage on Tuesday following a 4-3 aggregate defeat by the fourth-tier Bantams.
Villa are also struggling at the wrong end of the Barclays Premier League, but it is believed Lambert would even be afforded the chance of trying to regain Villa’s top-flight status should they suffer relegation at the end of the campaign.
Lerner recognises that Lambert would be the ideal candidate to achieve that after he secured successive promotions with Norwich prior to joining Villa last summer.
Furthermore, the relationship between the pair remains strong – they talk on a regular basis – and Lerner is believed to be keen not to overreact to the situation.
Villa face another tricky tie at Millwall in the FA Cup tomorrow before next Tuesday’s crucial home Premier League encounter with fellow strugglers Newcastle.
Lerner was prepared for a rollercoaster season in what is seen as the first year of a big rebuilding job at Villa Park following the disappointing tenures of Gerard Houllier and Alex McLeish. The former Cleveland Browns owner is happy for Lambert to put faith in young players, with the feeling in the boardroom that many of the club’s more experienced names have not performed to their abilities this season.
The prospect of the club adding new blood to the squad this month remains remote, however. Lambert knows he has only limited resources available and has previously said he will not sign players for the sake of it, while Lerner, who has ploughed in excess of £250 million into the club down the years, is not due back in the UK before the end of the transfer window.
Bradford City, in contrast, are expecting that their historic appearance in the final will earn them around £1 million in gate receipts and television cash.
Each finalist will receive 45 per cent of the gate receipts from Wembley Stadium, the Football League has confirmed.
The players will split around £250,000 of that in bonuses, but the rest of the money will go towards helping the League Two club in their efforts to regain their former heights, according to joint chairman Mark Lawn.
“The money means that if we don’t get promotion this year then hopefully we can keep this side together,” said Lawn, still basking yesterday in the glow of their aggregate win over Villa.
“Of course we are hoping to get promotion as well, and maybe getting to the final will instil some more belief into the players.”
The income from the cup run will also allow Bradford to go on a winter training break to Tenerife, a welcome change from their usual training ground at Apperley Bridge which is under two inches of snow. There will also be the reward of a trip to Las Vegas at the end of the season.
The Football League has confirmed that the winner will receive a Europa League place but, unlike the FA Cup, the runners-up will not benefit if the winner qualifies for Europe via the league.