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The 43-year-old manager believes the club still stand a chance of avoiding the drop this season, citing how congested the table around them has become in recent weeks

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert feels the battle to stay in the top flight this season and avoid relegation has quickly engulfed the entire bottom half of the Premier League.

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The relegation-threatened west Midlands outfit travel to Tony Pulis' out-of-form Stoke side on Saturday looking to find a way out of the drop zone, where they currently sit in 18th place.

With just four points separating Aston Villa and Southampton in 12th, however, Lambert believes plenty of clubs are starting to look nervously over their shoulders now, which he hopes will benefit his side.

"Every team in the bottom half is in a battle now," Lambert told reporters.

"We are four points off 12th and for much of the season we have been accustomed to this situation.

"We've been living through it and we've dealt with the pressures it brings.

"Suddenly, there are other teams that have been pulled into it, teams who haven't had to get their heads around it and we'll see now what happens.

"The important thing for us is that we don't get caught up in it all, that we continue to focus on our games, on our jobs and that's what we'll do."

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