Date: 17th July 2014 at 11:45pm
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Manager Paul Lambert has said that he felt there were plenty of early encouraging signs following our opening friendly victory over Mansfield earlier tonight.

Speaking to the Official Site following the three one victory courtesy of a Darren Bent brace and a solo goal from Gary Gardner, our manager said.

‘It was a useful workout. It’s our first game this season, two halves with different teams, and it was pleasing. What is more pleasing is that everyone has come through it unscathed. Jores hasn’t played for a long time, Charles is the same. Chris and Gary have come back into it. Darren has returned from his loan spell at Fulham. Alan has come back and, I thought, was excellent. I was delighted with the whole group.’

Lambert goes on to say that really we should’ve been a couple up ahead of their opening goal, but he was pleased with the response after that because we did keep chipping away and creating chances and ultimately we got our reward for that with the fresh team in the second half and three good goals.

With Gardner getting himself on the score sheet and looking relatively composed in the middle of the park, and showing signs of the player we all hoped he would become following his performances at U21 level, Lambert picked him out for special praise.

‘If there is one lad who deserves a break, it’s Gary because of his injuries. He’s a terrific lad. He will have to fight, but if he plays like that and does things like that, why not force his way in.’

He goes on to say that Benty obviously has the knack of being in the right place at the right time, and since returning to training ‘to be fair to Darren’ he’s really knuckled down and worked his socks off so he deserved those goals tonight in the manager’s eyes.

Well, one game down, the bombsquad proving their worth, our newbies looking decent as well as the rest of the squad, but it wasn’t competitive and with respect, it was Mansfield, so I doubt anybody can, should or even would, read too much into this result irrespective of whether you are positive or negative ahead of the coming season, or even if you’re desperately hoping it’s all been a bad dream and it’s still early May 1982.

And on that note, I’m off to continue toasting the victory.

Up The Villa!

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