Swansea City v Aston Villa: Lambert optimistic of away success

Paul Lambert is backing his Aston Villa side to follow up their hard-earned point against Manchester United with a win at Swansea City.

Christian Benteke's stunning strike put Villa in front against United in last Saturday's Premier League clash at Villa Park, but they were up against it when Gabriel Agbonlahor was sent off after Radamel Falcao had equalised in the second half.

United were unable to fashion a winner, though, as the home side held on for a 1-1 draw despite playing the last 25 minutes with 10 men.

Villa have suffered just one defeat in their last seven top-flight games and face a trip to the Liberty Stadium on Boxing Day.

Swansea hammered Lambert's team 4-1 in south Wales last season, but the Villa boss believes his side can ensure there is no repeat performance this time around ahead of matches against Sunderland and Crystal Palace over the festive period.

The Scot said: "We've got hard games over this period, but if we can keep doing what we're doing now and keep this feeling then, as I said, we've been beaten one in seven games. The form is pretty good. 

"We respect them and what they've done, but Swansea have done it for a good few years now and they are a good side - especially at their own ground - so it will be a really tough game, but we are playing well enough to go and get a result."

Lambert also praised the job his opposite number Garry Monk has done at Swansea in his first managerial role.

"He's done great Garry, the foundations were probably laid there but you've still got to go and manage players and cope with everything that gets thrown at you, so he's done really well," he added.

Agbonlahor will be available to face Swansea after his red card for a challenge on United's Ashley Young was rescinded by the Football Association on Tuesday, and Tom Cleverley will be back in contention after being ineligible to face his parent club.

Alan Hutton returns from suspension, but Kieran Richardson serves the second of a two-match ban.

Joe Cole's hamstring injury will be assessed by Villa, while Ashley Westwood (knee), Philippe Senderos (calf), Nathan Baker (knee) and Libor Kozak (broken leg) are definitely out.

Swansea secured only their second away win of the season at struggling Hull City last weekend following back-toback defeats against West Ham and Tottenham.

Monk made seven changes for the clash at the KC Stadium, with leading scorer Wilfried Bony - who scored twice in the home defeat of Villa last season - starting on the bench. However, the Ivory Coast striker will be expected to return on Friday.

Swansea will check on the fitness of Gylfi Sigurdsson (foot), Leon Britton (knee) and Jefferson Montero (hamstring).