Lambert free to add to his squad

Norwich City's financial problems have not hindered manager Paul Lambert's team strengthening plans, the club insisted last night. The assurance came from chief executive David McNally when he confirmed that the Canaries were set to make their third signing of the January transfer window.

Norwich City's financial problems have not hindered manager Paul Lambert's team strengthening plans, the club insisted last night.

The assurance came from chief executive David McNally when he confirmed that the Canaries were set to make their third signing of the January transfer window.

City have had an undisclosed bid accepted for Stockport County striker Oli Johnson, who was reported to be having a medical yesterday.

McNally declined to comment, however, on reports that Millwall defender Zak Whitbread was also heading for Carrow Road.


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“We have an interest in Oli Johnson but it's all subject to the normal negotiations, medicals and whatever else,” said McNally.

“We wouldn't normally talk about players but as Stockport have been keen to publicise the Johnson possible transaction then it's possible to say yes, there is some interest there.”

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The 22-year-old Johnson is reported on County's official website to have agreed personal terms with City. Johnson joined Stockport in 2008, after a short trial, from Wakefield-based Nostell Miners Welfare. He made his debut against Colchester United, then managed by Lambert, in October 2008 and scored his first goal in a 3-1 defeat at Oldham Athletic three months later.

Johnson has found goals much harder to come by in the current campaign and has found the back of the net just once, in the 4-2 win at Brighton.

With American centre-half Whitbread a possible fourth new addition to the squad after Russell Martin, Anthony McNamee and, one expects, Johnson, chairman Alan Bowkett said there was “a good footballing budget” for Lambert to work with despite the club's debts of nearly �23m, revealed yesterday.

Bowkett said: “Every player he has wanted to sign we have been available and supportive. Whether we delivered or not was not because of constraints on budget. It was because Paul felt at the end of the day he was the wrong individual, or we got the player.

“He's shopping in the market of people who he wants to develop and be Championship footballers with a desire to play for the club and not in the market of mature, established players.”

McNally said Lambert was not restricted by City's continuing cash problems.

He said: “It has no impact on him whatsoever. Throughout our time together, the chairman, myself and Paul have worked very closely. Everything is clear. Even if things aren't very rosy in the garden, we're all on side. Paul has a budget and he's working towards that budget. The budget does reflect that of a League One club, as you would expect, and he has a couple of positions he would like to strengthen in an attempt to make the team more competitive this year and indeed be ever more competitive next year.

“He's looking at it in the long-term. There are certainly no plans to bring players in just for the remainder of this season. We've given him everything he has asked for.”

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