| 14°C Belfast

Paul Lambert's abrupt resignation from Norwich City clears way for Aston Villa

Paul Lambert is on the brink of becoming the manager of Aston Villa after offering his resignation at Norwich City.

Lambert told Norwich's board on Wednesday night that he wanted to move to Villa Park. His resignation was officially rejected yesterday by the Canaries, who announced: "The club regrets to confirm that Paul Lambert has offered his resignation from the position of Norwich City manager.

"We have fought hard to keep Paul at Norwich and have not accepted his resignation while discussions with another club are taking place.

"However, whatever happens, we want to place on record our sincere gratitude for everything Paul has done for the club over the last three, fantastic seasons."

Lambert's sights are now firmly set on succeeding Alex McLeish, who was sacked just over two weeks ago after a poor first season in charge.

The 42-year-old has worked miracles at Carrow Road since he moved there from Colchester in 2009. Norwich had just been relegated to League One when he took over, but he led the side to successive promotions and a successful return to the Premier League this season.

But doubts about his future first surfaced after striker Grant Holt, who scored 17 goals in the campaign just finished, handed in a transfer request. There was also concern about the transfer budget that would be available to Lambert to build on what he had achieved.

That appears to have fuelled the Scot's desire to move to Villa, who are searching for a period of stability as they look to appoint their fourth manager in two years. Villa are believed to have continued talks with representatives of Lambert and hope to announce the former Celtic midfielder as their new manager soon.

The Villa goalkeeper Shay Given, currently away preparing for the European Championship with the Republic of Ireland squad, said: "If Paul was to come in, it would be a great appointment because he's a fantastic manager.

"At every club he's been at he has been going up all the time so hopefully, if they can get that done, it would be great news for the club.

"The sooner the manager is in place for next season the better because there will be targets and players he wants to get in himself," Given added. "The sooner that's done the better."

Belfast Telegraph