Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark confident in replacing injured Ron Vlaar

Lambert: Blackpool have nothing to lose (1:02)

Paul Lambert says Championship strugglers Blackpool will be a dangerous side for his Aston Villa team to face in the FA Cup third round. (1:02)

Ciaran Clark insists he can plug the gap for Aston Villa if Ron Vlaar's knee injury rules him out for weeks.

The defender believes he has earned manager Paul Lambert's trust and can deputise for the skipper.

Vlaar limped out of the New Year's Day's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace and Villa are sweating on the severity of the injury ahead of Sunday's FA Cup visit of Blackpool.

The Netherlands international was due to have a scan on Friday and Clark, who stood in when Vlaar was out with calf trouble earlier in the season, is ready to step up again.

"It was a frustrating start to the season for me when the lads were getting injured, I was in and they came back and I was out," he said.

"Three lads got injured at the same time which is when Jores [Okore] and I managed to get our partnership in that run of games.

"It's nice knowing that you're going to get a chance to play the next game and the next after that.

"We built a bit of confidence up in the games we've had. We've tried to take that into each game and keep improving. Hopefully if we can keep doing that we'll keep doing well."

The Republic of Ireland international has made 14 appearance this season, scoring once, with Villa 12th in the Premier League.

They have won just twice in their last 16 games though and were jeered off after the Palace stalemate with fans frustrated after only 11 goals in 20 top flight matches.

Crisis club Blackpool are bottom of the Championship and nine points from the safety line after a disastrous campaign so far.

Former Birmingham boss Lee Clark replaced Jose Riga in October but has won once in 10 games in charge -- against his old club.

They will face a changed Villa side with Jack Grealish, Shay Given and Matt Lowton expected to feature while Fabian Delph is still suspended and Ashley Westwood and Nathan Baker (both knee) are sidelined.

Villa have been dumped out of cup competitions by Bradford, Sheffield United and Leyton Orient under boss Paul Lambert though and centre-back Clark is wary of another upset.

"Cup games are always hard, no matter who you play. It's a one-off game and both teams have got to be up for it," said the 25-year-old.

"As we've seen in previous years against other teams it's not a nice feeling to get knocked out by a lower league side. Hopefully we'll be out there and give it a good go on Sunday and hopefully try and win this game.

"We'll be going out there trying to win the game. It's important to put on a good performance and I'm sure we'll be playing the same way as we have been.

"We'll be patient, keep the ball and wait for that opening to come and hopefully take it."