Lambert: No rest until top flight survival is assured

Norwich make funds available for January transfer window and upgrading academy

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Paul Lambert has declared that he will "never rest" in the battle to keep Norwich City in the Premier League. The Canaries have produced some determined displays on their return to the top flight for the first time since 2005. However, Lambert's men suffered a second successive defeat when beaten 2-1 at home by Arsenal on Saturday and the 42-year-old former Celtic midfielder is under no illusions as to the challenges ahead.

Lambert, who has guided the club's swift rise from npower League One since August 2009, said: "I look at the fixture list coming up and I think, 'Oh no, we've got Manchester City in a fortnight,' but that is the difference in the Premier."

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of Norwich's shareholders, Lambert added: "Never in a million years did I think we would be in this position. I remember when I first got the job the chairman said to me just get us in the top six. You do that and then he turns around and says I want you to win it. And then when you win it he expects you to do something in the Championship, but that is the way football is.

"That is why I never rest because I know for a fact the moment we go on a losing streak I'm just not so sure people will be singing, 'There is only one Paul Lambert.' I am a realist. If this goes belly up the only one who cops it is myself. That is fine, I know the game."

The estimated £90m promotion windfall will have safeguarded the club's future, and money is set to be made available to Lambert when the transfer window reopens in January.

Chairman Alan Bowkett also revealed at Tuesday night's AGM that Norwich intend to revamp their academy both to bring it in line with new Premier League guidelines and to help unearth home-grown talent.

"The rule of thumb in terms of Category One status is that you have to spend £2m per year in youth development," Bowkett said.

"You receive from the Premier League roughly £750,000 in contributions. That would still be four times the amount we currently spend. Our aim is to try and produce one young player for the first team every year. Paul is very much of the firm view, and this goes back to his experiences in Germany, that if we are to compete then we have to have our own young, hungry players."

Meanwhile, the West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson is awaiting fitness reports on the key quartet Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie, Paul Scharner and Graham Dorrans before he settles on his first-team squad for Saturday's Premier League clash with Tottenham.

Striker Long, who returned from a month out with a knee problem to score the winner in the 2-1 victory over Bolton four days ago, suffered a leg injury in training on Tuesday. Dorrans turned his ankle towards the end of Saturday's game and has yet to train this week, while fellow midfielder Scharner missed the last two games with a grade one tear to the medial ligament in his left knee.

Hodgson said on West Brom's official website: "Scharner is making good progress. He tells me he will train tomorrow and knowing the type of player he is, I think that's how it will be.

"Peter is difficult to work out. Shane took a knock yesterday morning so we're waiting to hear."