Aston Villa are ready to reaffirm their commitment to Paul Lambert after opening negotiations over a new ­contract for the manager. Villa have initiated talks with ­Lambert over an extension to his present contract and the club are confident of reaching an agreement before the end of this season. Lambert has just under 18 months remaining at Villa Park but Randy Lerner, the club’s owner, is fully behind the 44-year-old Scot and determined to introduce further ­stability by persuading him to stay on for a longer period. Villa have appointed three managers since Martin O’Neill left in August 2010 and Lerner is reluctant to avoid any more upheaval at the club. Tentative discussions were held with Paul Faulkner, the chief executive, in January and while Villa are relaxed about the situation it is understood that Lambert is prepared to sign a new contract in the next few months. It is likely to be another three-year deal with improved terms.