Left-backs linked with Norwich City

Chris LakeyNorwich City boss Paul Lambert has reportedly opened talks with former Rangers left-back Steven Smith about a move to Carrow Road. Lambert was linked with a return to his former club Colchester for full-back Marc Tierney, while reports coming out of Scotland yesterday said he had moved quickly to offer a deal to Smith, who is available as a free agent after his contract at Ibrox expired.Chris Lakey

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has reportedly opened talks with former Rangers left-back Steven Smith about a move to Carrow Road.

Lambert was linked with a return to his former club Colchester for full-back Marc Tierney, while reports coming out of Scotland yesterday said he had moved quickly to offer a deal to Smith, who is available as a free agent after his contract at Ibrox expired.

The link with Smith, 24, comes just three days after Ewan Chester left Rangers to join City as their chief scout - although it's likely he was already on Lambert's radar.

Lambert admitted last week that he wouldn't rule out adding to his defensive numbers as he prepares to give his players "the help" they need to make a successful jump up to the Championship.

Smith's first team opportunities were limited at Ibrox by the presence of Sasa Papac, and also due to a series of injuries, although he did make enough league appearances to pick up an SPL winners' medal and played in the Scottish League Cup final win over St Mirren.

Tierney, 24, has a year left on his contract at Colchester, where he was signed by Lambert in January last year from Shrewsbury Town after a loan spell.

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At the time Lambert said he felt Tierney was "going to have a very big future in the game if he keeps going the way he is" - and reports suggest that future could be at Carrow Road.

However, Lambert will face competition. Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Bristol City and Coventry City - now managed by Aidy Boothroyd, who quit as Lambert's successor at Colchester less than a fortnight ago - are also reportedly in the hunt.

In April, Tierney was reported to have snubbed Colchester's offer of a new deal - reports which he later denied, saying he would be interested if the right deal could be agreed.

The 6ft tall Tierney is predominantly a left-back, but can also play at centre-half - an advantage for a manager like Lambert who has little in the way of spare cash to spend in the transfer market.

Adam Drury was Lambert's first-choice left-back last season, although he brought in Michael Rose on loan from Stockport County in January as cover. However, there has been no real indication from Lambert that he plans to make that move permanent, and Rose may decide to follow up interest from Hartlepool United.

That would leave Lambert short of cover at left-back - and Tierney appears to fit the bill.

Meanwhile, Canaries youngster David Stephens has had a change of heart over a move to Chris Sutton's Lincoln City.

The 18-year-old centre-back agreed a deal with the Imps last week, but reports in Lincolnshire say that is now close to collapse after he developed cold feet.

Stephens is said to have "severe reservations" over whether moving to Sincil Bank is the best career move.

A compensation package had been agreed with Norwich, who loaned Stephens to Lincoln at the end of the season.

The report claims Stephens' agent has told Sutton the player is considering his next move, with speculation suggesting he is wanted by a bigger club.

It has left Sutton frustrated at the hold-up and considering pulling out of the move.

Declan Rudd helped England Under-19s qualify for the European Championships after a draw against hosts Ukraine in Kiev yesterday afternoon.

The Canaries keeper was beaten for the first time in the qualifying group, but it mattered little as Noel Blake's team secured a place in the finals, in France this summer, for the third consecutive year.

England only needed to avoid defeat to qualify, and although they went behind on 81 minutes when Igor Zubko scored, Tottenham's Dean Parrett hit an equaliser two minutes later.

Rudd, 19, had earlier kept clean sheets in Ukraine against the Republic of Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.