McNally insists City have no need to sell in January

Michael Bailey Chief executive David McNally has reassured Norwich City fans that the club has no need to sell any of their star names during the January transfer window.

Michael Bailey

Chief executive David McNally has reassured Norwich City fans that the club has no need to sell any of their star names during the January transfer window.

With only weeks to go before clubs can move in with offers, Canaries manager Paul Lambert declared at the weekend that he would “be stupid” to let any of his in-from League One charges leave next month - while leading scorer Grant Holt insisted he intends to still be at Norwich at the end of his present three-year contract.

That just left the question of whether City, whose financial state was described as “dire” by McNally during a fans' forum at the start of the season, would be in any position to resist big-money offers for the likes of Holt and strike partners Wes Hoolahan and Chris Martin if and when they arrived.

And McNally went some way to calming some of the concerns yesterday when he confirmed that he has not taken a single call enquiring about City players - and has no need to talk business when he does.

“The plan we have does not require the club to sell any players - and we have no intention of selling any players in January,” he said, before clarifying: “Some fringe players - players that may not be getting too much game time at the moment - may leave the club in January. Time will tell.”

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Lambert has recently brought in Russell Martin and Anthony McNamee on emergency loan deals - both of which are likely to be made permanent in the new year - and continues to be linked with Exeter youngster, Danny Seaborne.

As well as the possibility of some low-key departures, McNally confirmed the Norwich manager still has money to spend as City look to earn promotion in May.

“There is a budget and it's reflective of our position where financially things are difficult and we're a League One football club,” said McNally. “But we are working with Paul closely and he knows what budget is available.

“That's allowed him to bring in Russell Martin and Anthony McNamee, and we'll look very closely at those lads. Paul knows where he'd like to strengthen and that there is some money available.”

Officials at Carrow Road have made no secret of the club's need to get back to the relative wealth of Championship football at the first attempt, following last season's painful relegation.

However, the Canaries chief acknowledged the board has a plan B in place should City's impressive rise falter between now and the end of the season.

“The business plan allows for the club being in League One for two seasons,” he said. “That being said clearly we would like to get out of the division as soon as possible, but we will only do that if we deserve to be promoted.

“We're benefitting currently from the great work that Paul and his team are doing with the players, and the players have responded magnificently. They've put together a fantastic run to put us where we are now.

“However, prudently we've looked at a plan that allows us to be at an operating level, self sufficient, in League One next year.

“Clearly we want to be playing in the Championship next season, but you can never be sure. There are lots of things that are outside of your control - injuries, suspensions, loss of form, other clubs' activities - we cannot control that.

“All we can control really as a business is that we're here for two reasons. Every minute of every day is focused on supporting Paul Lambert and his efforts, and the second thing is we're here to serve our supporters. That's what we are as a football club, those two things.”

With the club's debt close to �19million, as announced last year, and their subsequent fall to the third tier of English football, McNally admitted focusing everything towards City's results on the pitch may not have been the case in the past.

“I think that clearly, if a club has been relegated twice in four years, then there are certain things that have gone wrong,” said McNally. “There are many great things that are associated with the football club and some tremendous people working behind the scenes over and above the call of duty for their football club; tremendous.

“Clearly though we did lose direction and we did need to take stock in the summer and focus on the things that matter most.

“All the other things have their place but it's about concentrating on ensuring that every day we focus on the first team and every day we focus on the supporters, and that's what we're looking to do.”