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Jun 6, 2012

Norwich set for Hughton talks

Norwich City have been given permission to talk to the Birmingham City manager, Chris Hughton, as they step up the search for a successor to Paul Lambert.

Norwich asked Birmingham for the go-ahead to talk to the former Newcastle boss, which was "reluctantly" given by officials at St Andrew's.

The Birmingham acting chairman, Peter Pannu, said: "Chris is a great manager and deserves the opportunity to speak to Norwich, which is why we have granted him permission to speak to them."

With the Canaries deputy chairman, Michael Foulger, saying he was hopeful an announcement on the managerial situation at Carrow Road could take place in as little as 48 hours, Hughton seems the clear favourite.

A Norwich statement said: "Norwich City can confirm that Birmingham City have granted the club permission to speak to Chris Hughton about the vacant managerial position at Carrow Road. The club will be making no further comment at this stage.''

Reports suggest that compensation, thought to be £2 million, has been agreed, and that Hughton's backroom team - assistant Colin Calderwood, coach Paul Trollope and goalkeeping coach Dave Watson - would move with him.

The 53-year-old took over on a rolling contract at Birmingham following their relegation from the Premier League in 2011. Despite player sales and financial constraints, he guided them to the play-off semi-finals, where they lost to Blackpool.

He served as assistant to Martin Jol at Tottenham before leading Newcastle back to the Premier League in 2009-10, only to be sacked the following season with the club safely in mid-table.

Doug Livermore, a former Norwich player who worked with Hughton at White Hart Lane, said he would be a "very, very good appointment" if the East Anglians confirmed him as their new boss.

He told BBC Radio Norfolk: "When you look at the budget Newcastle had and the budget Birmingham City had, Chris has done fantastically wherever he's been.

"He's bubbly, he's intelligent and knows exactly what he wants and how his team should play.

"Whoever comes in as manager has got a hell of a job to follow on from Paul Lambert. But Chris is very capable of handling that situation. He'd get on with it and cope with it very well."

Meanwhile, Aston Villa will unveil Lambert as their new manager at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The 42-year-old Scot resigned from Carrow Road last week after being denied permission to talk to the Midlands club. Although Norwich refused to accept his resignation, they admitted on Friday that the search for a new boss was under way.

Lambert, who took Norwich into the Premier League via back-to-back promotions from League One, was confirmed as the Villa manager on Saturday.

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