Clark to face his former suitor

PUBLISHED: 11:55 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:27 10 September 2010

Michael Bailey

Norwich City assistant manager Lee Clark will spend tomorrow's match in the opposite dugout to the man who wanted him to join his coaching set-up in Spain - Chris Coleman.

Norwich City assistant manager Lee Clark will spend tomorrow's match in the opposite dugout to the man who wanted him to join his coaching set-up in Spain - Chris Coleman.

Clark, who worked under the former Fulham manager during his time at Craven Cottage, was asked by the former Wales defender to join him as his assistant at Real Sociedad in the summer, but ultimately turned the chance down.

Coleman has since left the Spanish club after a difference in opinion with Real's newly elected president and took over at City's relegation threatened rivals Coventry City last month.

“There was a little bit of conversation while I was still at Newcastle to say would I like to go and join him and Steve [Kean] out there, but that wasn't something that I wanted to do at that stage of my career,” said 35-year-old.

“I was his captain for two years and played alongside him before that. I've got a good relationship with him in terms of friendship and a lot of respect. I think he's turned out to be one of the best young managers in the country and unfortunately for my old club at Fulham they're probably regretting the day they let him go.

“I knew what Chris' ambitions were and he wanted to go and work abroad. He proved very successful there and left on his own terms because of various reasons with the owner there, and he'd done a terrific job there and picked up a lot of experience.”

Clark is expecting a fully competitive side to take to the Ricoh Arena for tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship match, one in the mould of their latest manager.

“Even when we played together, during the training sessions we were very competitive against each other but afterwards our friendship was there for all to see and that will be the same tomorrow,” he added. “For 90 minutes, we'll both be determined to put one over each other, and then we'll have a cup of tea afterwards.”

After receiving Coleman's summer approach, November arrived bringing with it a similar call from current City boss Glenn Roeder asking whether the former Newcastle United midfielder would like to join his masterplan at Carrow Road. This time, Clark's decision was yes and one which he remains happy with.

“I'm loving it. I enjoy coming in every day, the group of players we work with want to learn and want to try and do the things we are asking them to do and picking up new things every day and we've been delighted with the response from the players.”

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