Paul Lambert: Aston Villa squad 'down to the bare bones'

Paul Lambert's Aston Villa are missing a total of eight first-team squad members for the visit of Manchester United

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says his squad is "down to the bare bones" ahead of four games in the space of 12 days.

Suspended trio Tom Cleverley, Kieran Richardson and Alan Hutton will miss Saturday's visit of Manchester United.

Joe Cole (hamstring), Ashley Westwood, Nathan Baker (both knee) and Philippe Senderos (calf) are all also sidelined, as is long-term absentee Libor Kozak.

"One of two of the kids might make the bench," Lambert told BBC WM 95.6. "But we'll still have quite a strong side."

Even without his suspension, United loanee Cleverley, 25, would have missed the game because of Premier League rules dictating that the midfielder cannot play against his parent club. However, his suspension will not be carried over.

Midfielder Fabian Delph was able to return to action from shoulder surgery, earlier than expected, in last weekend's derby defeat by West Bromwich Albion.

"Losing Fabian at the time was a blow," Lambert said. "We've been without key players in big positions for a good while so Fabian coming back was earlier than I wanted to do it, but needs must.

"He put himself forward to play which was great and with another week under his belt, he will be ready for it."

Villa are 13th in the Premier League, five points above the relegation zone.