LAMBERT REMAINS VILLA FAVOURITE

Norwich manager Paul Lambert is the new favourite with bookmakers to become Aston Villa manager.

Last Updated: 23/05/12 at 15:38 Post Comment

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Lambert: Delighted at Norwich

Lambert: Delighted at Norwich

Aston Villa are continuing his search for Alex McLeish's successor with Norwich manager Paul Lambert the new favourite with bookmakers.

He is 100-30 to succeed McLeish after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer withdrew from the race because of personal reasons and family commitments.

Villa are adamant they were carrying out due diligence on other potential candidates even after interviewing Molde manager Solskjaer over the weekend.

A Villa source said: "The club is getting on with the process of finding a new manager and this process has been very focused from the outset.

"The timeframe is not as important as getting the best man to be the manager.

"The club feels well positioned right now with a number of candidates under consideration."

Lambert has no intention though of letting speculation over his future at Norwich deflect focus from plans to take the Norfolk club forwards next season.

Lambert reacted angrily to questions over links with the Aston Villa vacancy following Tuesday night's testimonial for long-serving defender Adam Drury against Celtic at Carrow Road.

The 42-year-old has transformed the fortunes of the Canaries since taking charge three seasons ago, guiding them up from npower League One and on to retaining Barclays Premier League status with a creditable 12th-placed finish.

However, the former Borussia Dortmund and Celtic midfielder knows Norwich cannot rest on their laurels if they are to remain competitive again in 2012/13.

"I don't think being a manager ever stops. I try to prepare Norwich for next season the best I can," said Lambert.

"[Assistant manager] Ian [Culverhouse] and I have had a chat and we have in mind what we would like to bring to the football club.

"Hopefully we can get those lads in and keep progressing the club.

"I have told the club and [chief executive] David [McNally] knows the lads I want to bring.

"If we get them, then hopefully we will be okay."

Lambert, however, appreciates it will be another test to secure the type of player who fits in both to the current squad's work ethic and wage structure.

"The higher you go the more the challenge it is to bring in players, but it is something I enjoy.

"We have been abroad to look at games numerous times and there are some terrific footballers out there, but they will demand an awful lot of money. But there are lads we have identified."

Norwich were hit by a shock transfer request from captain Grant Holt last week which was rejected, and the striker played in last night's match following a meeting with the club.

Lambert, though, would not be drawn on the issue, or the continued speculation over his own long-term position.

"I think enough's been said over what's happened and hopefully that will get resolved. I'm pretty sure it will. I think it's a private matter and I think it should remain that way," the Norwich manager said on BBC Radio Norfolk.

"I have never had a fall-out with Grant in one iota, and I have never said I want to leave the football club.

"People should stop speculating and causing trouble.

"I never said I am leaving. I have said I never know what's going to happen tomorrow.

"I absolutely love it here. I have loved my time here.

"Because I don't say much, people want to go on message boards, fuel things and make up absolute nonsense."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, who rejected the chance to take charge of Villa last summer, is second favourite at 4-1 with former Villa player and current Huddersfield boss Simon Grayson 6-1.

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