Smith and Knutsen still in the City frame with Lampard – reports

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith instructs his players during the Premier League match at the Tottenha

Dean Smith departed Aston Villa on Sunday - Credit: PA

Frank Lampard remains the front-runner to become Norwich City’s head coach but it seems that Dean Smith and Kjetil Knutsen are still in the race. 

The Canaries looked to have moved closer to appointing Daniel Farke’s successor this afternoon when TalkSport broke the news that Lampard was going to get the job, with many major national media outlets following suit. 

However, Sky Sports have put a cat among the pigeons this evening by claiming that Smith and Lampard have both held talks with City chiefs. 

Reporting that both Smith and Lampard have been impressed by what they heard, Sky also claim that City still want to talk to Bodo Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen, who is on the verge of retaining the title in Norway. 

Lampard has been out of work since January when his 18 months in charge at Chelsea came to end with top-four hopes drifting, when Thomas Tuchel stepped in and led the Blues all the way to Champions League glory. 

Former Brentford manager Smith took his boyhood club Villa up via the play-offs in 2019 during his first season in charge, scraping to top-flight survival in 2020 but then finishing 11th last season as the West Midlands club’s wealthy owners continued to invest. 

After the sale of talisman Jack Grealish to Manchester City for £100million, Smith had brought in Norwich star Emi Buendia in a deal worth £38m but was sacked on Sunday with Villa 16th after a 1-0 loss at Southampton on Friday. 

Sky report that the 50-year-old was “extremely impressive” in his interview with Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber and senior staff and that he had demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the club’s playing style and structure. 

The twist emerges as some sources close to Chelsea suggest that Lampard is already in negotiations to take some backroom staff to Norfolk, that he worked with previously, including coach Joe Edwards. 

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As previously reported, City hope to have the new head coach in place for the start of next week to begin preparations for a home clash with Southampton on Saturday, November 20. 

A home game against Wolves and a trip to Newcastle follow, with the new boss being able to hit the ground running a potentially crucial element of sparking a survival push, with the Canaries currently bottom and five points from safety after one win in 11 matches. 

Lampard was being offered as short as 1/25 by Sky Bet this afternoon but that has come back down to 1/4, with Smith at 3/1 and Knutsen 12/1. 

Reports earlier in the week suggested Bodo Glimt had received no approach for their manager but no official confirmation has followed. 

NCFC EXTRA: Who would Norwich City head coach candidates bring with them?