Grant needs quick fix as Hunter quits

DAVID CUFFLEY Norwich City have begun their search for a new first team coach following Martin Hunter's shock exit. The former England Under-19 boss is expected to join Watford as part of manager Adrian Boothroyd's coaching team.

DAVID CUFFLEY

Norwich City have begun their search for a new first team coach following Martin Hunter's shock exit.

The former England Under-19 boss is expected to join Watford as part of manager Adrian Boothroyd's coaching team.

Hunter was conspicuous by his absence from the Canaries' first tour match in Holland on Saturday, a 2-0 victory over AGOVV Apeldoorn.


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The explanation came after the final whistle from manager Peter Grant - clearly angered by the timing and manner of Hunter's sudden move.

Grant said: “I got a phonecall from Aidy Boothroyd on Thursday evening asking me for permission to speak to Martin. I think that was after the horse had bolted, really, because I think that talk had been going on.

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“If people show an inkling of not wanting to be here any longer, I don't give them very much time here. I think it's the right thing. Martin will move on, to Watford probably.”

Grant's comments suggested an acrimonious parting. Asked if he knew which job 52-year-old Hunter (pictured) would take at Watford, he said: “I don't know. I never gave him that much time to explain it.”

Hunter, who arrived at Carrow Road 13 months ago as former boss Nigel Worthington's hand-picked replacement for the sacked Steve Foley, could not be contacted for a comment last night.

Grant accepted that Jim Duffy's arrival as assistant manager last February may have influenced Hunter's decision, saying: “It's maybe a bit more difficult for him. That's life. Life goes on and we'll have somebody else in.”

But that didn't subdue the anger of the City boss, who said: “I think I showed an honesty to keep Martin on in the first place when I could easily have changed it and I don't think that's been repaid.

“Martin knows what was going on last week. He knows how disappointed I was that there were things going on with players' agents, supposedly behind my back, then something like this happens.”

Hunter spent part of the close season leading Uefa A coaching courses, passing on his expertise to Premiership bosses such as Roy Keane and Gareth Southgate. Only last month, he dismissed reports linking him with a move to Wigan.

He said at the time: “Without any doubt I will be back at Norwich City to start work next week and I'm very much looking forward to it. It's been a very eventful year because of certain circumstances but I have no regrets whatever.”

With less than three weeks to the first Championship fixture at Preston, City will look for a quick replacement.

Said Grant: “There are a lot of people I know who would desperately want this job and I've got to make sure it's the right balance with me and Jim.

“Jim has been absolutely fantastic for me. Jim and Bryan Gunn through the summer time were excellent and were all over the place when I was away.

“I'm very, very pleased with them and I'm lucky I've got them. I will definitely add to the coaching staff.”

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