Lambert hopes for defender’s return
The centre-back has not kicked a ball for Villa this season because of the injury, which he picked up while playing for the Republic of Ireland in their miserable Euro 2012 campaign last summer.
Experienced Dunne’s consistent absence from the Villa backline this season has been one of Lambert’s team’s main problems, demonstrated by their failure to keep a clean sheet in all competitions since December 8.
Stiliyan Petrov’s indefinite period on the sidelines after his diagnosis of acute leukaemia last year has been another implication that has forced Lambert to have an over-reliance on youth and inexperience, a large contributor to their perilous position just three points outside the relegation zone.
Lambert will however have been boosted by recent performances, which have seen the Villains win two of their last four games.
Nonetheless, Dunne’s persistent injury issues are a worry for the Glaswegian, and despite several operations to try and repair the damage, the problem remains.
Lambert told the newspaper: “It’s been really complicated that injury.
“Richard has been over to the United States a couple of times to try and get it sorted. But there are little niggles that aren’t clearing up.
“That’s a real frustrating thing for him. Is it career-threatening? No, nothing like that. You can’t say that.
“Richard has been trying his utmost to get back fit. He’s been to the best people (specialists) on the other side of the world.
“He feels good at some points, but not so good at other times. He can’t play through the pain barrier with that injury.”