Norwich City boss Lambert cleared to spend

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has cash to spend in the January transfer window – and no need to sell to help finance his team strengthening plans.

With the Canaries in fifth place in the Championship just four matches short of the halfway stage of the season, they are well placed to mount a challenge for at least a top six spot – with the potential of beating their own stated aim of a return to the Premier League inside three years.

Despite City's continuing financial problems, with a loss of �5.75m –including 'exceptional costs' –announced this week for the year ending May 31, 2010, chief executive David McNally confirmed there was still money in the kitty for Lambert to strengthen his squad, though not 'millions and millions'.

'We've been a buying club over the last three transfer windows. In the summer of 2009, January 2010 and the summer of 2010, we've bought players significantly ahead of any sales,' said McNally.

'We intend to continue in that vein. We have some budget left for Paul in the forthcoming window.

'Paul will perhaps have a target or two in mind and we'll take it from there. It's up to Paul who he allows to come to the club as part of his squad and if he ever decides to allow any of the players to leave.

'We don't need to sell any players. If Paul decides he would like to trade that's the football manager's prerogative.'

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Defender Leon Barnett, on loan from West Bromwich until January 4, is one potential target for a loan extension or permanent deal, while Arsenal midfielder Henri Lansbury is currently on a 28-day loan.

McNally said City were keeping an open mind on whether to look for permanent or temporary recruits.

'It's about choices – we can't do everything. We have to look at what Paul considers to be key priorities to bring into the club and we'll take it from there,' he said. 'There are not millions and millions of pounds to spare but there is some budget that's earmarked for investment if we so wish and Paul will control whether we bring in permanent signings or a loan signing.'

McNally reiterated his view that finishing in the top half of the table this season would represent great progress.

'I still think a top half finish would be fantastic,' he said. 'Our seven-year plan includes three years in the Championship. The first year is fundamentally to ensure that we're still in it and we do okay.

'The second year we would like, using football parlance, to push on a bit and the third year finally to get promoted. If we can beat that then great but we are realistic. This is a very competitive league.'