City boss Paul Lambert laid his cards on the table this morning and insisted he was not about to jump the good ship Canary.
The Scot was installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Owen Coyle yesterday, going from 25/1 all the way to odds on with Paddy Power.
But he wasn’t ducking or diving any questions at Colney this morning, unlike Coyle, who did not attend the press conference following last weekend’s FA Cup clash at MK Dons.
As far as Lambert is concerned, with the Canaries flying high in League One, he has a job to do.
“I’m staying,” he said at his weekly pre-match media briefing. “I hear people say I don’t stay at clubs for a long time but I was at Wycombe for a couple of years.
“And I left Colchester because I was told I could come and speak to Norwich. I am certainly not going to leave this club.
“I love it here. There is a great rapport with people and this is a special place. The fans and the players, with what they’re doing, have been absolutely terrific so I’m not going anywhere.”
To be fair, it would be a surprise to see the former Celtic hero swapping East Anglia for the North West after just over four months in charge – after all, the two clubs could well be competing in the same division next year.
The Clarets could only attract around the 13,000 mark in the Championship whereas City regularly pull in 25,000 a division below. And Lambert feels he’s onto a good thing, despite the financial issues surrounding the club.
“Managing in the Premier League appeals to everybody but all you need to know is I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying here.
“We have got a club going the right way, albeit it it’s got financial things going on at the minute but we have got a crowd on our side that is as vibrant as any. The team are going brilliantly and I just feel it’s right for me to stay here – I don’t want to go anywhere.
“What you’ve got here is adulation from the crowd, which is phenomenal. The most pleasing thing is to get a club going when it was ailing.
“To do what we’ve done in a short space of time has been absolutely terrific and I’m not going to walk out on it. I am not going to walk out on this football club, that’s for sure.
“We’ve started something. We’ll try to take it a long, long way. If you turn down a Premier League club to stay in League One they may just give you a wee bit more credit than people think. I’m not going anywhere until maybe Norwich sack me.”
With yesterday’s accounts announcement and the speculation surround the Canary chief, it’s easy to forget there is a game going on tomorrow with Exeter visiting Carrow Road – weather permitting.
With the region subjected to heavy snow this week, and more on the way today and tomorrow, the club continue to monitor the situation.
The pitch itself is fine, however, and the City squad were able to make use of it earlier in the week. But Lambert admitted that while he hopes the Grecians clash goes ahead, preparation hasn’t been ideal.
“We have trained at Carrow Road but we couldn’t train yesterday. It’s a worry, but I’m pretty sure it will be the same for everyone up and down the country.
“I hope it’s on. The pitch is fine it’s just the areas surrounding. You don’t want a backlog of games and it be stop-start, stop-start. If we can play the game tomorrow and win, it keeps everything going.”
And finally, on the transfer front, the signing of Oli Johnson is expected to be announced at 2.30 today after the Stockport striker passed a medical and agreed personal terms.
Lambert also admitted his interest in Millwall defender Zak Whitbread and he could even be unveiled alongside 22-year-old Johnson this afternoon.
That one could, however, be for another day but as the Scot admitted, the Canaries are short of central defenders at the moment. And the USA-born Scouser – it’s not often you can say that – is certainly one he likes.
“That position is giving us a bit of a headache and we need more recognised centre-halves. And if we can get him, he’s a really good player.”
But don’t get too excited out there. In terms of January transfer window arrivals, that could be it.
“Yes, that’s more than likely,” he added.