Lambert: Cole could start

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert admits he may hand a debut to summer signing Joe Cole in Saturday's game with Newcastle.

The 32-year-old, who arrived as a free agent following his release from West Ham, missed last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Stoke due to a thigh injury.

Having recovered in time for the visit of Newcastle, Lambert is excited to see the former Chelsea playmaker in action and believes his experience on the field could prove vital.

"Joe comes into the equation. The one thing about Joe is he can see a pass and unlock defences," the Villa boss said.

"We just have to make sure we keep him fit. Joe has been there, done it and worn the T-shirt.

"The lad has won everything in the game. He’s a top pro, top guy and is really intelligent."

Cole’s career has been hampered by injuries, and Lambert admits it will be crucial to keep his new signing in good shape for their Premier League campaign.

"It’s just a question of keeping him fit and if we do that, we have a really top player on our hands," the former Norwich manager said.

"I know exactly what he is capable of. It’s a real bonus that he’s back because I know what he can give us."