Hearing date key to Lambert’s involvement

Paul Lambert could be forced to watch his first East Anglian derby from the stands after admitting an FA charge of improper conduct.

The Canaries boss has asked for a personal hearing before the FA's Regulatory Commission at their Wembley Stadium headquarters.

And it is the timing of that hearing which will determine whether Lambert is in the dug-out or in the stands for Sunday's clash against Ipswich Town.

A date has yet to be set, but, with the FA's new fast track system now in place, it must be held before close of play next Monday. The punishment is expected to be announced immediately after the hearing.

If the hearing is this week, then Lambert will miss the Ipswich game – the standards sanction for a first offence is a one-match ban and a fine, but there is no standard sanction for offences where the respondent has previous offences on his record.

Lambert was charged following incidents at the end of the controversial 3-3 draw at Reading on November 13. Having already seen striker Grant Holt shown a straight red card – which was rescinded on appeal – just before half-time, with the Canaries leading 3-1, Lambert was sent to the stands in the final moments after leaving his technical area and walking alongside the pitch to check on young midfielder Korey Smith, who was receiving treatment after a hefty challenge, which went unpunished by referee Michael Oliver.

When Lambert returned to the City dugout the official sent him to the stands. And while Lambert was scathing in his post-match criticism of Mr Oliver, it was actually his conduct and language after the final whistle, when he spoke to the official in the tunnel area, that landed him in hot water.

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The Regulatory Commission will take into account Lambert's disciplinary history, which will have a bearing on the punishment meted out. Lambert was fined �750 and warned as to his future conduct after being sent to the stands in his last game as Colchester boss before moving to Norwich in August last year.

He was also fined �1,000 and incurred a one-game touchline ban last April after comments he made to referee Eddie Ilderton following a controversial defeat at Tranmere.