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May 31, 2012

Norwich begin search for new manager

Norwich City chief executive David McNally has confirmed that the club are looking for a new manager despite refusing to accept Paul Lambert's resignation.

• Grant Holt not for sale - Norwich

Lambert could be announced as the new boss of Aston Villa within 24 hours after it emerged that the Midlanders were ready to pay Norwich compensation.

"We are looking for a new manager," McNally told Sky Sports News. "That's likely to be what we concentrate on for the next few days - few weeks, maybe.

"We were in a situation where we were approached by another club asking for permission to speak to Paul Lambert. We didn't grant permission. We were very clear we wanted to keep our manager, who has been incredibly successful.

"When it was indicated by our manager that he would like the opportunity to speak to this particular club, really the dynamics changed... it's then about talking to them about compensation, agreeing compensation and agreeing with them a time frame. We're still in that process."

McNally praised Lambert, who guided Norwich to the Premier League via back-to-back promotions, saying he had been "fantastic for this football club".

He added: "He quite rightly will take his place in Norwich City history and we'll always be very grateful to Paul for his terrific achievements here over three glorious years."

On Thursday Norwich confirmed that Lambert, on a rolling contract at Carrow Road, had offered his resignation but it had been refused.

Reports on Wednesday night suggested the manager had rowed with the board after being refused permission to talk to Villa, who sacked Alex McLeish a day after losing 2-0 to the Canaries in the final game of the season.

It is believed Villa will have to pay around £1 million in compensation to ensure that Lambert, 42, becomes their fourth manager in less than two years. They are reported to be optimistic that the deal can be completed soon.

McNally denied that Norwich had made inquiries about the availability of the Celtic manager Neil Lennon or Cardiff City's boss, the former Canaries defender Malky Mackay.

He said: "I've seen it reported that we've contacted both their particular clubs about their managers. We haven't and I'd like to put that on record.

"Celtic Football Club and Norwich City get on marvellously well. I can confirm that no approach has been made for Neil Lennon.

"If we were interested in talking to them about Neil, because he's a great manager, we'd go straight to them quietly and privately. We wouldn't announce it through the media."

Lambert took over at Carrow Road with the club at its lowest ebb for decades after the Colchester side of which he was then manager inflicted a 7-1 home defeat on the first day of the League One season.

Norwich have vowed to continue the progress made under his management, and a club statement said: "The club does not need to sell any players and the finances are in place to substantially strengthen the excellent squad which helped us finish in 12th position in the Premier League last season.

"Rest assured that everyone behind the scenes at Carrow Road remains absolutely focused on continuing to help the club progress."

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