• Villa have to overturn a two-goal deficit against Bradford
• 'I feel we are ready for it,' says Lambert
It was Paul Lambert's press conference but it was easy to imagine the team talk following a similar thread in Aston Villa's changing room on Tuesday night. "You have to grab this chance because you just don't know when this could happen again. The best players make sure that they grab it," the Villa manager said. "In football, you can't have any regrets because you'll look back over your career and [say] 'if only' and 'I should have'. The ones who actually succeed are the ones who do it."
Lambert was speaking before Tuesday's second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final against Bradford City, when Villa hope to extinguish the memory of their embarrassing defeat at Valley Parade a fortnight ago, when a club who are outside the play-off places in League Two defeated their Premier League opponents 3-1 to give themselves a great chance of reaching the final. It was, by Lambert's own admission, the most depressing result of a hugely disappointing season.
The tie, though, is far from over, irrespective of what a Yorkshire vicar may or may not have said after the first leg. Lambert expects his players to feed off the energy of a capacity crowd and is confident that they will be going to Wembley next month if they reprise the form they showed during the opening 45 minutes against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, when Villa carried a real threat and raced into a two-goal lead before being pegged back.
"I don't think you can use the word revenge," Lambert said, reflecting on the Bradford result. "The players know they're hurt by it and they know they've got the chance to rectify it and get through. It could be a fantastic night. We have to come out of the blocks and if we do that, and we do what we did in the first half on Saturday, hopefully we will go through."
Villa are fourth from bottom in the table and Premier League survival remains the priority. Lambert, however, is acutely aware that reaching a major final could transform the mood over the coming weeks and months.
"I think for the players and fans it's important. We need the fans to drive us through and you need your players to go and perform," he said.
"It will be a terrific occasion for everyone. If we get through, the confidence it will bring will be great. The feeling around the club will be massive. It will be a great thing. It can definitely play a huge part in the season turning."
Although Villa looked dangerous going forward against Albion, with Christian Benteke, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N'Zogbia all catching the eye, their frailties when defending set pieces, which Bradford identified and scored all three goals from in the first leg, was exposed again.
Benteke, who lost Gareth McAuley on the corner that led to Albion's equaliser, has proved to be something of a liability when it comes to marking in his own box.
"I think what's happened is he is getting punished for defending corners but he's only 22 and he's new to it," Lambert said. "I can't nitpick because the big guy has been unbelievable for us.
"What I bought him for is to put the ball in the net. And you only need to look at his ratio there."
With Ashley Westwood cup-tied, Lambert is desperately hoping that Fabian Delph recovers from the ankle injury that forced him off against Albion.
Nathan Baker is definitely out after pulling a hamstring in that game but Andreas Weimann returns after recovering from illness. The only other doubt surrounds Shay Given, who has been Villa's first-choice goalkeeper in the Capital One Cup, ahead of Brad Guzan, but looks like missing out with a hamstring injury.
Whatever team Lambert picks, the bottom line is that the Villa manager is expecting to be celebrating at the end. "[Bradford will] know themselves that two goals is easily retrievable," he said. "I don't sense any apprehension at all. I just feel we are ready for it and we know what we have to go and do."
Aston Villa (4-3-1-2, probable) Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett; Holman, Delph, Bannan; N'Zogbia; Benteke, Agbonlahor.