ASTON Villa manager Paul Lambert has said he knows how Gus Poyet feels as Sunderland sit at the bottom of the table – but said teams in that position must battle on.
The last time Villa and Sunderland clashed, Lambert’s side hammered the Black Cats 6-1 in a crucial victory in the fight against relegation last season.
While that victory helped spur Villa onto safety and allowed them to develop into a better side this season, Sunderland have been faring less well and currently sit at rock bottom of the Premiership.
“I was down there myself last year so I know exactly what it’s like,” said Lambert.
“You have to battle through it. It’s not a nice place to be but there’s still a long, long way to go.
“It’s hard to judge because Gus has only been there for a few weeks and you’re never quite sure. You don’t know the lads he’s got there.
“They’ve had a hard start. The last time we played them we won pretty convincingly at that time and everything we hit went in. We’re certainly playing well enough to go and win but we’ll have to wait and see how Sunderland are.”
Lambert insists his side have developed nicely in the last year.
“It’s totally different to this time last season for us,” he said. “If you look at the games we’ve played, our points tally is so much better as is the goals against tally. We’re so far ahead of where we were last year.”
Lambert must decide whether to restore forwards Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann to the starting line-up.
The pair came on as second-half substitutes in Monday’s 2-2 draw with local rivals West Brom after recent injuries, along with midfielder Fabian Delph.
All three are available for the Black Cats’ visit, as is left-back Antonio Luna after a recent hamstring complaint.