Lambert looking forward to derby
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is relishing the atmosphere of a buzzing West Midlands derby under the floodlights at local rivals West Brom.
Lambert has spiced up Monday's clash by insisting Villa are still a bigger club than their neighbours.
With Birmingham and Wolves currently a world away from the Barclays Premier League, matches between Villa and West Brom have become the region's primary derby clash.
Lambert admits the wait over the weekend is not ideal but is looking forward to the action getting under way.
"Its a long week, there's no two ways about it," he said. "But the Hawthorns has got a really good atmosphere because it's smaller and the ground is on top of you. It's a really good atmosphere there and I'm sure Monday night will be no different."
The Villa Park outfit have traditionally been regarded as the top side in the region due to their 1982 European Cup success, large fan base and 42,000 capacity stadium.
However, it is the more modest West Brom who have established themselves as the top team in the midlands in recent seasons, finishing higher than their rivals in the Barclays Premier League in the last two years.
While Villa have had to significantly tighten their belts financially, Albion are going from strength to strength under chairman Jeremy Peace.
The Black Country side have a successful structure in place which has seen previous technical director Dan Ashworth and his successor Richard Garlick work brilliantly with former coach Roy Hodgson and current boss Steve Clarke.
Villa and Albion's battle for supremacy has ignited the rivalry between supporters but Lambert believes his side still have bragging rights despite Albion's footballing and financial supremacy of late.
"Aston Villa is a massive club," he said. "I don't think anyone can ever dispute that. It's a club that's won a European Cup, league titles, has a massive fanbase and has a bigger stadium.
"That's no disrespect to West Brom at all, they're a good club in their own right.
"I haven't been at West Brom or managed the club but Aston Villa, for me, is a bigger club."
Lambert hopes to welcome back several key players from injury for the clash.
Strikers Andreas Weimann (hamstring) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (ankle) have missed recent games, while fellow forward Christian Benteke had a knee issue while on international duty with Belgium.
However, all three are in contention for the trip to the Hawthorns while the likes of Fabian Delph (knee) and Antonio Luna (hamstring) are also available.