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Norwich City unlikely to make double signing over international break

PUBLISHED: 07:30 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 20 March 2017

Norwich chairman Ed Balls is confident Alan Irvine can take the team beyond his two-game brief. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich chairman Ed Balls is confident Alan Irvine can take the team beyond his two-game brief. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Ed Balls admits it is ‘unlikely’ Norwich City will unveil a sporting director and head coach over the international break.

Ed Balls confirmed no final choice has been made on the new sporting director. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdEd Balls confirmed no final choice has been made on the new sporting director. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The Canaries’ chairman ruled ex-England boss Roy Hodgson out of the running ahead of Saturday’s 2-0 Championship win over Barnsley.

City outlined their new blueprint prior to that Tykes victory, with Steve Stone becoming managing director, and revealed the hunt for a sporting director is at ‘an advanced stage’.

“We have not made a decision and got it down to one candidate but we are a long way down the road,” said Balls. “We have had a lot of discussions and people have been met. We are not at the final interview stage. Since last weekend we have had a deluge of people wanting the job, or agents and senior figures touting people for both jobs. We are going to move as quickly as we can.

“I think it is unlikely we make appointments on both roles by this week. The reason we decided to terminate Alex (Neil’s) contract is because we wanted the football structure in place for the beginning of the close season. If we can do it faster than that then that would be great. The most important thing is this summer and next season.”

Alan Irvine will remain in temporary charge after guiding the Canaries to within five points of the play-offs.

“Alan is very experienced to do what he is doing beyond the international break,” said Balls. “If we do not bring in someone before then he is well-qualified and happy to do the role to keep things going through future games. Steve Stone and I have both spoken to him and if the right thing is for him to manage the (Aston) Villa game or subsequent games he won’t find that out the night before. Unfortunately that was the case with the timing around Alex’s departure.

“The reality is if we get to the play-offs and could get up then that is a different challenge for us although, realistically, most fans would say that is going to be a stretch. If we can get individuals in place before the end of the season that is a bonus. What we don’t want to be is in a position where these roles are not filled by June or July. It makes sense to bring in a sporting director who is then heavily involved in a head coach appointment. That is way around we want to do this.

“We want to move as quickly as we can so there is a tension there. We said back in January we wanted to look more strategically at what is right in the second decade of the 21st century for a professional football club. Our thinking was to bring in a sporting director early on and that was something Delia and Michael strongly felt was right to address the recruitment side but obviously with Alex (Neil) moving on that gives us an opportunity to get things in the right order.”

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