Norwich City boss Paul Lambert dismisses questions on his own future after Adam Drury testimonial
Paul Lambert batted away questions on his future and that of his captain Grant Holt after tonight's fitting testimonial for Adam Drury against Scottish giants Celtic at Carrow Road.
The City boss reacted tetchily to fresh questions on whether he will be at the helm come the start of next season after continuing to be linked with the Aston Villa vacancy. Lambert was also in no mood to be drawn on Holt's situation after his skipper's recent transfer request.
'There is no point asking me. I am telling you I am not going to answer anything about that,' he said. 'Listen, I know what is going on (with Holt) but this is Adam's game. It is not about Grant, it is not about me, it is about Adam Drury. This isn't the night for those questions. Don't ask me negative things about me or Grant. I am delighted I am at Norwich if that is what you are asking. I have never said a word that I want to get away. Not a thing and people jump to conclusions about what I say or don't say.'
Lambert, however, did confirm plans are well underway to attract new blood to the club over the summer.
'I don't think being a manager ever stops. I try to prepare Norwich for next season the best I can,' he said. 'Ian (Culverhouse) and I have had a chat and we have in mind what we would like to bring to the football club. Hopefully we can get those lads in and keep progressing the club. I have told the club and David (McNally) knows the lads I want to bring to the football club. If we get them, then hopefully we'll be okay. My job is to make this club the best it can be and we have had nothing but success in the past three years. The higher you go the more the challenge it is to bring in players but it is something I enjoy. Ian and I have been abroad to look at games numerous times and there is some terrific footballers out there, but they will demand an awful lot of money, but there are lads we have identified.'
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Lambert also confirmed he has decided on the futures of the remaining players out-of-contract – among them testimonial man Drury.
I have had a chat with him. He knows what is going on and he is thinking about a few things. I'll see what he thinks in the next few days. Everybody knows what is happening,' he said. 'I think it was fitting for a lad who had been here 11 years to get Celtic down and the fan base they have got certainly made the atmosphere. In the three years I have been here, he has been brilliant. He deserved a fitting game with Celtic and the Norwich crowd coming out. I have to say a big thanks to Neil (Lennon) for coming down. It's a good eight hours or so from Glasgow, but you saw the attitude they created. It was brilliant for Adam to see lads like (Dani) Pacheco and (Michael) Nelson and those lads coming back. To see someone like Darren Huckerby come back and play shows you how well he is thought of.'
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Central defender Zak Whitbread was the highest profile casualty released last week, but Lambert insisted the American's injury record was not a major factor in his decision not to offer the former Liverpool trainee a fresh deal.
'The injuries had nothing to do with it because every time that lad played for me his performance level was really, really high,' he said. 'The thing of it is that every year you have to try and build it again and get success to the football club. My job is to try and keep building the football club.
'It was very tough to let them go. Just the same as what I did with lads like Michael Nelson and Matty Gill. It was a tough decision to make but I told them it was a big thanks for me on a personal note and as a football manager.'
Celtic counterpart Lennon paid tribute to the revolution Lambert has overseen at Carrow Road.
'Paul has worked a minor miracle here when you consider what he took over,' he said. 'He has probably worked on a smaller budget than most other clubs but to get promotions in consecutive years and then consolidate in the Premier is fantastic. Myself and Paul are good friends and so that association helped, I guess. It is very rare in the modern game to get 11 years at one club. That is a lifetime and Adam deserves it. I think our fans enjoyed it and they created a great atmosphere. They travelled by trains, planes and automobiles and some of them set off at midnight to come down. They are just in party mode from getting the championship presentation last week and for me it has been a great year to bring the title back.'