Suspensions of Villa duo untimely for Paul Lambert

Aston Villa have suspended two of Paul Lambert’s backroom team – assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa – “pending an internal investigation”.

Paul Lambert's struggling Aston Villa side have lost four in a row. Picture: Getty

The suspensions are not thought to be related to the team’s recent poor performances, but of a disciplinary nature.

The suspension of the pair, who followed former Celtic and Scotland midfielder Lambert to Villa after working with him at Norwich and before then at Colchester, was confirmed in a statement from the Premier League club.

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Gordon Cowans and goalkeeper Shay Given have been temporarily promoted to assist Lambert and his first-team coaching staff. Villa said in a statement: “The club can confirm that Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa have been suspended pending an internal investigation.”

The statement quoted Lambert as saying: “I’m delighted to have Gordon and Shay to assist me in preparing the team for Saturday which is what the whole group is focused on.”

It comes at a difficult time for the club, who have lost four matches on the bounce and are still threatened by relegation.

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner admitted everyone was “hurting”. He said: “Four games ago, on the back of two good home wins, we were looking up the table and feeling confident of a strong, positive finish to the season. Since then we have suffered four consecutive defeats and that is hard to take. We are hurting. Fans are hurting, players and the manager are hurting. The frustration is shared by everyone who loves Aston Villa.”

Cowans was also quoted in Villa’s statement announcing he and Given’s temporary promotions.

Cowans said: “The manager has asked me to step up to assist him at this time and I’ll do my utmost for the club and the manager in helping prepare the team for Saturday’s game against Southampton.”