Roeder hopes new coach will arrive soon

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's quest for a new first-team coach could be concluded this weekend.Hartlepool youth team coach Paul Stephenson has been given the guided tour of the club's facilities and a deal has been agreed.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City's quest for a new first-team coach could be concluded this weekend.

Hartlepool youth team coach Paul Stephenson has been given the guided tour of the club's facilities and a deal has been agreed. All that's left is for the League One club to agree to release him.

"We have struck a deal as far as we are concerned with the coach to leave his club and come here," said Roeder. "We are just waiting for permission from that club to release him.


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"If they don't I would be hugely disappointed that another club has tried to hinder the progress of a young, enthusiastic coach who would bring a lot to this club, because of his enthusiasm, his ability and a guy that even on the rainiest, cloudiest day will wear the broadest smile on his face.

"He is lucky to be born like that. He will walk in laughing and smiling - he'll just lift everyone.

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"I know him well, played with him a while ago - yes, he'll be good. A good link between the academy and the first team because he will travel with the first team as well - it will be myself, Lee (Clark) and the other guy in terms of senior coaching."

While Roeder hasn't made the coach's name public, it's clear that it is Stephenson, who confirmed he had held talks with City - and likes what he sees.

"Yes, I've been to Norwich," he said. "Hartlepool gave me permission to speak to Norwich and I met up with the club on Tuesday. It's a very nice area and a nice place, but there's not a lot to say because it isn't finalised with Hartlepool. I have to pay respect to my current employer. I owe them a lot. I ended my football career there, and began my coaching career there, so I have to respect that. I'm sure there'll be more to say over the next few days."

After retiring in 2003 from a playing career which included spells at Newcastle United, Millwall and Hartlepool, Stephenson joined the coaching staff at Hartlepool in 2003.

He was swiftly promoted to youth team coach, where the 39-year-old guided the club's young charges to several honours, including victory in the prestigious Dallas Cup at Under-19 Group A level in 2004.

Stephenson also took temporary charge of Hartlepool United's first team at the end of the 2005/6 season and was undefeated in his first five games in charge, despite the club being in turmoil.

But he was unable to prevent Pool's relegation to League Two and lost out on the permanent job to Danny Wilson, leaving him to return to his youth coaching role.

Current City boss Glenn Roeder managed Stephenson as a player during his time in charge of Gillingham and approached Hartlepool with a view to Stephenson joining him on the bench at Newcastle when Roeder took charge at St James' Park in 2005, but the move never materialised.

Norwich have failed to appoint a first team coach since Martin Hunter left to join Watford last July, leaving then City boss Peter Grant furious.

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