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Premier League

Norwich granted permission by Birmingham to talk with Chris Hughton


Birmingham manager Chris Hughton has been granted permission to speak to Norwich.

The Canaries are in the market for a new boss after Paul Lambert completed a switch to Aston Villa on Saturday.

Hughton has been heavily linked to the managerial vacancy at Blues' neighbours West Brom, but the 53-year-old is now set for talks at Carrow Road.

A statement released by Birmingham this morning read: "Birmingham City FC can confirm that Norwich City FC have made an approach for Chris Hughton with regards to their vacant managerial position.

"Hughton expressed a wish to speak to the Canaries and permission was reluctantly granted."

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."

Norwich see Hughton as the ideal candidate to take the reins from Lambert and continue their remarkable rise up the football ladder.

Lambert guided the Norfolk outfit to back-to-back promotions to take them from npower League One to the Barclays Premier League, where he clinched a superb 12th-placed finish last term.

But that impressive progress alerted a host of admirers, including Villa, and despite Norwich rejecting Lambert's resignation last Thursday, an agreement was reached on Saturday for the Scot to make the switch.

Speculation linked both Malky Mackay and Neil Lennon to the vacancy at Carrow Road, but the Canaries have confirmed their move for Hughton.

A club statement read: "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."

Hughton, on a one-year rolling contract, has spent little under 12 months at St Andrew's having replaced Alex McLeish following his controversial move to fierce rivals Villa.

That period has been a hugely successful one for the former Tottenham coach and Newcastle boss, who guided the Magpies to the npower Championship title in 2010 before harshly losing his job in December of that year with the north-east outfit 11th in the top flight.

Hughton has become a popular figure at Birmingham and is hugely admired by supporters, who look set for a difficult summer as the club's uncertain financial future continues to provide concern.

Battling City's well-documented cash-flow problems and having put together a new-look side following their relegation from the Premier League, Hughton's Birmingham impressed in both the Europa League and FA Cup this season before eventually finishing fourth in the Championship.

But he was unable to guide Blues back to the top flight, losing out 3-2 on aggregate to Blackpool in the play-off semi-finals.