Aston Villa boss Lambert backs striker Helenius

After seeing striker Nicklas Helenius score his first goal for the club on Saturday, Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has backed the Dane to find form and maybe break into the starting XI, writes the Birmingham Mail.

Helenius has struggled to make an impact at Villa Park since joining from Aalborg for £1.2m during the summer, experiencing just 49 minutes of Premier League football. Despite his disappointment at the embarrassing FA Cup defeat at home to Sheffield United, Lambert has praise for the 22-year-old.

The Scot said: ‘If there is one plus (following the latest defeat) it’s that I thought he did well when he came on. It was a great goal he scored. He’s had a bit of a hard time since he’s been here.

‘‘When you are that young and you are trying to get to a level, sometimes people will hit the ground quicker. He’s a really lovely guy, a nice guy and it was a good goal so that will do his confidence the world of good.”

Lambert is actively seeking a creative midfielder over the January transfer window as he looks to improve his side’s scoring record. Helenius though could be given more opportunities in the first-team after it was confirmed that fellow striker Libor Kozak had been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Kozak recently underwent an operation, and Lambert added: “Everything went well. Everybody is quite happy with the operation, so hopefully it is a recovery for him now and get him back. Hopefully he will be back for pre-season.”

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