Norwich City boss Lambert won’t be drawn on Burnley links

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert remained tight-lipped today over Burnley's official approach to become their new manager.

Lambert deadbatted questions from the media at his weekly press conference ahead of this weekend's FA Cup third round home tie against Orient.

Lambert did hold Colney talks with chief executive David McNally prior to meeting the press but refused to add further to the club's statement on Thursday night which stated the Canaries would fight 'tooth and nail' to hold on to their highly sought-after Scottish boss.

'You have seen the statement and I am happy with that,' said Lambert. 'It's all about the game tomorrow and trying to get through that. I'll say it once and once only - ask me about the game. That is all I am here for. To win a game of football. Don't push me on anything because the statement is there.'

Lambert's hardline stance came after the Canaries' hierarchy had refused Burnley permission to speak to their manager in a terse statement issued on the club's official site.

City's response came shortly after 11.30pm on Thursday following Burnley's own announcement on their club website, little more than an hour earlier, that they had made a formal request to Carrow Road to be allowed to approach Lambert.

City's statement read: 'Norwich City wish to confirm, in response to Burnley's decision this evening to publish the fact that they have made a formal request for permission to speak to Paul Lambert about their managerial vacancy, that permission has not been granted.

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'Under no circumstances would the club wish to grant permission. The club will fight tooth and nail to retain the services of Paul Lambert and his team, during this critical period of the season, and whilst they remain employed under a long-term contract.

'The club remain committed to Paul and his team in the long term, and see them as a vital part of our future plans.'

Earlier in the day, Burnley chairman Barry Kilby revealed that they had drawn up a short list of six men they wished to interview for the Turf Moor post, while bookmakers Skybet and Victor Chandler made Lambert odds-on favourite to take over from Laws, who was sacked on December 29.

Kilby said: 'We have two weeks where we don't have a league game with points at stake. It gives us that time to get up and down the country and see the people we want to see, see the best candidates and get the best person for Burnley Football Club.

'We're going down to our shortlist and we'll be interviewing the people we want to see. More or less our shortlist is about half a dozen people, different sorts, different reputation. Let's hope we can make a good decision.

'I'd say we will appoint when we're ready. Stuart (Gray) is holding the fort now but the path of the club has to be sorted out as quickly as possible and uncertainties put out of the way. That is the most important, but on the other hand it has got to be the right man. There will be negotiations attached to that with their own timescale. We'll do it as quickly as we possibly can.'

Later, Burnley issued a statement which read: 'Tonight a formal request has been submitted to Norwich City Football Club to speak to their manager, Paul Lambert.

'The club has begun the process of targeting the shortlist of candidates to fill the vacant manager's role at Turf Moor, and club officials have subsequently requested permission from the Norwich board to discuss the position with Lambert.

'Burnley Football Club will make no further comment at this time.'

Watford manager Malky Mackay, the former Norwich centre-half, and St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes are also believed to be on Burnley's shortlist, although the Hornets have issued a 'hands off' message to their Championship rivals.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, former Burnley and Norwich midfielder Paul Cook and ex-Chelsea number two Steve Clarke have also been linked with the Turf Moor job.

Burnley are currently 10th in the Championship, seven places and eight points behind the Canaries. They were first linked with Lambert a year ago when they were still a Premier League side, as they looked to replace Bolton-bound Owen Coyle, but City insisted there was no approach.

The two clubs meet at Turf Moor on Saturday, February 5, after drawing 2-2 at Carrow Road in November.