The Villa manager has hinted that he is unlikely to play the veteran defender in his side's FA Cup clash against Millwall, citing the player's 'major operation' as a factor
After losing to Bradford City in the League Cup semi final, the Villans are set to take on Millwall in the FA Cup at The Den tonight, Friday January 25, and Lambert has suggested that the game may be too early for Republic of Ireland international Dunne.
The 33-year-old centre back has not played a game since suffering an injury while on international duty with Ireland at Euro 2012 and has since undergone a series of surgeries in order to correct the concern.
"I think Richard's a different case because he's had a major operation," Lambert told reporters. "That's the big thing with him.
"Sometimes you’ll do that with players, you'll throw them in because you need to and then I'll take the responsibility if they're tired after an hour. But with Richard it's a bit different," he added.
Elsewhere, Dunne's fellow Ireland international Stephen Hunt has also been told not to rush his return to action, with Wolves boss Dean Saunders suggesting that the 31-year-old has been pushing himself too much upon his return to training.
"[Stephen Hunt] just can't go out and train and take it easy and cruise through it," said the Wolves coach. "Five minutes into the session on Tuesday he ran the length of the pitch on a counter attack, sprinting. I was cringing watching him running, thinking ‘steady on it’s your first day back’. So you can’t hold him down."
He added: "He played 50 minutes in a practice match and he did well. He is a good lad and I am pleased that he is back out training.
"But let’s hope he doesn’t have any setbacks. That will be the test for him because he has gone from doing nothing to working hard. We will try and get him a game for him on Monday."