Paul Lambert again defended his decision to exclude Aston Villa's record signing Darren Bent from his matchday plans as his side gained a crucial 1-0 home win over Reading.

A late header from Christian Benteke, who has replaced Bent as the number one striker, moved Villa out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone. But there was no place again for £18million signing Bent even amongst the substitutes with rookie striker Jordan Bowery preferred.

Lambert denied there was any fallout with Bent or that the striker had left the stadium before kick-off after his exclusion from his plans. Lambert said: "Darren was in the squad, it was the same on Saturday. I just picked the same group. I do what think is best for Aston Villa."

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#Darren Bent