Premier League

Benteke not for sale - Lambert

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Fri, 21 Dec 2012 12:04:00

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says he is ready to give temperamental striker Mario Balotelli another chance.

Balotelli backed down over a ?340,000 fine for ill-discipline this week, abandoning his appeal to a Premier League tribunal.

The situation had increased speculation he could leave City during the January transfer window but Mancini welcomed the U-turn and challenged the 22-year-old to now force his way back into the first-team.

Mancini said: "This is an old situation and it is normal when someone does a mistake he should take his responsibilities and Mario did this. It's normal.

"He (should) respect himself, not me, because it's important for him to respect himself, very important.

"I am his manager, like other players, and if he deserves to have other chances he will have them."

Balotelli will not feature in Saturday's visit of Reading after missing training with a virus.

Mancini said: "This weekend Mario, unfortunately, is ill. He came (on Friday morning) but he can't do anything."

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Last week the Shakers announced they were under embargo due to a short-term loan obtained until mid-January and David Manchester claims the shortfall is merely a matter of timing rather than anything more severe.

"It's within our means and we're confident we can pay it back in the time allocated," he said.

"It's all gone on expenses. Cash is king and sometimes it's just a timing issue and with us it's a timing issue.

"It's a difficult time over Christmas. Just an example, we were due to play Sheffield United in January. That's got put back and it's a midweek game.

"We'll lose about 2,000 fans - that's ?30,000. All these things can conspire against you over time but we've been through worse than this before and got through it and we'll do the same again."

Manchester is confident manager Kevin Blackwell will be able to return to the transfer market in the January window and, in the meantime, discussions are ongoing with the Football League over whether Bury can extend the stays of their six-player loan contingent while the embargo is in effect.

"That's something that we're discussing with the Football League at the moment," Manchester added.

"First of all you've got to find out if the players want to stay here, then you've got to establish will the parent clubs allow them to stay here?

"So there's all these things to be considered and then we can talk to the Football League and see what we can do."

Foster was named in North End's defence for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Bury on Tuesday night shortly after his move to Deepdale on non-contract terms was confirmed.

The 27-year-old, who previously played under Westley at Stevenage, acquitted himself well despite the 3-3 draw before the Lilywhites' penalty shoot-out triumph not being the idea night for defenders and he is battling to keep his place for the weekend trip to Coventry.

"He was brilliant," said Westley. "What a debut from the lad. He's played for me before and I know that he's a lionheart who'll put his body on the line and he'll fight with everything that he's got.

"He had an outstanding game, there's no question. We let three goals in but his positional sense, his fight in the challenge, his honesty, his organisation were big parts of what we did."

The Belgium international is proving a bargain buy at ?8million with his performances since his summer move from Genk.

Villa have offloaded key players such as Gareth Barry, James Milner, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing in recent seasons.

There has been speculation that Benteke could become a target for one of the leading Premier League clubs during the January transfer window.

But Lambert said: "There's no point in us even being here if it's a case of bringing people in and then letting them go.

"What's the point in that? We're trying to build something here which can take a few years and you need good players with you to achieve that.

"There's no point in them coming for half a season or a year and then we let them go. That's not the right way."

Lambert will look to strengthen his squad next month.

When asked if he will look to sign a couple of players in January, Lambert said: "That's the plan, to look at that. I will talk and see what we have.

"I don't think you stand still. I think you've got to look to improve."

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