Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert - I’ve not spoken to Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett for two years
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert today claimed he had not spoken to Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett for two years - as he prepared to face his former club tomorrow.
Lambert will do battle with the Canaries at Villa Park (12.45pm) - their first meeting since he quit Carrow Road at the end of last season to take charge of the Midlands club.
Lambert and Norwich are suing each other for breach of contract and the matter will be decided by a Premier League managers' tribunal.
But the Scot was upset earlier this month when Bowkett made the matter public at a fans' forum and claimed he had left all of his previous clubs in the same fashion.
Lambert insists his action is only a counter-claim to Norwich's charge that he breached his contract when resigning five months ago.
When asked about Bowkett's claims, Lambert said: 'I don't know because I've never spoken to the chairman for about three years.
'Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, maybe two. It's a good chunk of time. Why? That's football. Let him talk. We will see what happens.'
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Lambert says he has the backing of the League Managers' Association and is confident he will win his case.
He said: 'Could I have handled leaving Norwich any differently?
'Me, not at all. I took advice from the LMA and I know what is going on.
'It will be in the hands of a Premier League managers' tribunal and hopefully it will be sorted. But I've got nothing to be ashamed of. I've got nothing to hide.''
Lambert looks back with pride on steering the Canaries to successive promotions and 12th place in the Premier League, but is unsure what reception he will receive from their fans.
He said: 'When you leave a club, especially after what we'd done, you'd think we'd be made to feel welcome.
'But it doesn't always transpire that way. I look back at the three years with pride.
'It was an incredible part of my life which I'll never forget and the crowd were magic with me.
'Football moves on but I'll never forget the time there. I loved my time there but I don't think I'll be made welcome to go back, that's for sure.''
Lambert added: 'The Norwich game only has spice because I left. It's not something that I'm really worried about or anything like that.
'It's just another game. I had a great three years there and if people want to deflect on to something else then I can't help that.
'There's some things that have been said which have been disappointing.
'But football moves on and it's a massive game for ourselves. We have to win, that is the bottom line.'
Villa have triumphed only once in their last 18 Premier League games - a 2-0 home win over Swansea during the current campaign.
But Lambert said: 'The pleasing thing for me is that we've been playing pretty decent stuff.
'It's not as if we've been going into any game with any trepidation.
'In the last two away games (at Tottenham and Fulham) we've certainly deserved more than what we've got.''