LENNON PREDICTED LAMBERT SUCCESS

Celtic manager Neil Lennon always knew Paul Lambert would make a top coach.

Last Updated: 21/05/12 at 15:10 Post Comment

Lambert: Taken Norwich from League One to Premier League

Lambert: Taken Norwich from League One to Premier League

Celtic manager Neil Lennon always knew Paul Lambert would make a top coach and is relishing the opportunity to go up against his old team-mate in the dugout for Adam Drury's testimonial at Norwich on Tuesday.

The Scottish Premier League champions are set to bring a strong side down to Carrow Road, where veteran defender Drury will be honoured for his 11 seasons service with the Canaries.

Lambert, 42, has performed a minor miracle since taking charge at the Norfolk club in August 2009, masterminding successive promotions up from npower League One and then comfortably securing top-flight status with a respectable 12th-place finish.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Celtic midfielder - who won four SPL titles during his time at Parkhead under Martin O'Neill - has inevitably been linked with a move away from Carrow Road, and reportedly is on Aston Villa's shortlist.

Lennon is not surprised. He told Press Association Sport: "I am looking forward to seeing Paul. He has done an absolutely brilliant job at Norwich.

"I am delighted for him and his backroom staff, whom I know very well, and for Adam Drury - any player now in the modern game who does over 10 years at a club is unique, so we are delighted to be part of that night.

"Paul was a great team-mate and a great player, who knows the game very, very well.

"He was always a leader, and the Norwich players have responded magnificently to what he has asked them to do, and they have just gone from strength to strength."

Lennon, 40, added: "Paul has already proved he has got what it takes and it does not surprise me there is a lot of speculation surrounding him - the more successful you are, the more the big clubs will want to take you.

"I don't want to prise him away from Norwich, or say words to that effect, but it is the way of the world, it is a natural progression, but I think he is pretty happy there."

While Lambert has as yet given no indication on his immediate future, Norwich were last week rocked by the news captain Grant Holt - player of the season for the last three years - had handed in a transfer request, which was rejected out of hand by the club.

It remains to be seen whether the 31-year-old, who plundered 15 Premier League goals and had been touted as possible outsider for the England Euro 2012 squad, will feature as expected on Tuesday night, when former Canaries star Darren Huckerby will turn out for the hosts.

Holt's representatives were set to meet with the Norwich hierarchy on Monday in a bid to resolve their differences.

Agent Lee Payne told BBC Radio Norfolk: "Grant has had a tremendous three years at the club and he just feels it was a decision that he had no other choice to make at this stage.

"Why would he not want to stay? His family is here and he is adored by lots of the fans, but things have to be done correctly and professionally.

"Grant just feels over the last couple of months some comments have been made and things have been said which have been very unfair.

"If they ever come out in the wash, I am sure everybody will understand why he did what he did.

"It is not all about money. I think players like to feel like they are being valued and being respected.

"[Chief executive] David McNally is a very experienced professional man as well and I would like to think when people come together with a professional mind, there is no reason why we can't sit down like adults and gentlemen, and try to resolve this situation we are in at the moment."

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