SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Matt Lowton of Sheffield United celebrates scoring the second goal during the npower Championship match between Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest at Bramall Lane on March 8, 2011 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
One of the first things Paul Lambert did when he was officially announced as the man in charge at Villa Park was make it clear that he wanted to hurl Alan Hutton into a deep crevasse filled with snakes, tigers and fire ants. Ok, maybe I'm paraphrasing a bit but the suspicion at Aston Villa is that Hutton is persona non grata under Lambert who seeks to improve what is, in the nicest possible terms, a terrible situation at fullback.
So then it should not be a huge surprise that we're now starting to hear that Lambert is putting out feelers and he's found a target in 23 year old right back Matthew Lowton who is currently paid money by Sheffield United in League One. While blog favorite and fine American Eric Lichaj is set to compete for a starting spot on the right side of the defense this season, one can't help but feel like the current level depth is akin to that of a blow up kiddie pool. Lambert is keen on instilling a sense of competition among his players this season. Reading between the lines it would seem that players like Hutton, Stephen Warnock and James Collins won't be penciled in automatically week after week by virtue of experience.
So far Lambert has targeted young, inexpensive talent that could soon blossom into major contributors. While Villa more than likely won't be lining up Manchester-sized bids for household names, this is a great strategy to start getting the club back on solid ground. Besides that, Matthew Lowton has a distinct quality that curries a lot of favor with fans of Aston Villa: he's not Alan Hutton.