The Jewell of denial

The chances of Paul Jewell becoming Norwich City's next boss appeared to recede today after an associate of the former Wigan manager claimed it was too soon for him to return to football.

The chances of Paul Jewell becoming Norwich City's next boss appeared to recede today after an associate of the former Wigan manager claimed it was too soon for him to return to football.

Jewell was swiftly installed as the favourite to succeed Peter Grant as City boss, and would appear to be ideally qualified for the job after his Premiership success with Wigan.

But a source close to Jewell, who did not wish to be named, said last night it was highly unlikely the 43-year-old would end up at Carrow Road.

He said: “I would be amazed if Paul took the Norwich job. He has been linked with Leicester and other clubs, but it is too early for him to come back.”

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Jewell, rated 11-4 favourite by the bookmakers, is believed to be out of the country at the moment. Whether he would consider a return to the Championship club, currently in the bottom three, after giving up a Premier League job five months ago is a moot point.

Jewell has also been touted as a target for top-flight Bolton if things fail to improve under Sammy Lee, and if the opportunity arose, staying in the north-west would be likely to have more appeal for the Liverpudlian.

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Former City midfielder Ian Crook, who was understood to have been interviewed for the managerial vacancy last year when Nigel Worthington was sacked, has resurfaced in the bookies' thinking as 5-1 second favourite.

Crook, who coached Northern Spirit FC in Australia and was assistant coach of Sydney FC , took the assistant manager's role at Japanese second division side Avispa Fukuoka earlier this year, when he was reunited with former Sydney manager Pierre Littbarski .

One clear disadvantage is that he has been out of English football for a decade.

The odds shortened overnight on another ex-Canary taking the job, with former Ipswich boss Joe Royle moving in from 16-1 to 10-1.

Another man with Ipswich connections to come into the reckoning is Colchester boss Geraint Williams, rated a 25-1 shot after his success at Layer Road over the past 15 months.

Peter Taylor, sacked by Crystal Palace this week, is another outsider, but is now tipped for a return to Gillingham.

Meanwhile, Grant has confirmed he is planning a swift return to football after leaving the Canaries by mutual consent on Tuesday night.

He said: “I don't want any time out of the game. If I get a job, I'll take it. It'll take a hell of a lot more than losing your job to knock my confidence.”

He said of his exit: “The only regret that you have is that you don't win enough games. I was very calm after the game, which is unusual for me.

“It's a results business and there's nothing better I'd liked to have given the Norwich supporters victories and win the Championship, that's why I took the job.

“I still think I've got the abilities to do that, but the results dictated that you lose your job.

“In 26 years this is the first day I've had off. I want to be connected with a football club tonight.

“Yes, there are pressures that go along with the job, but it doesn't knock my confidence to be successful. Sadly it didn't work out here.”

To be City's next manager: Paul Jewell 11-4, Ian Crook 5-1, Steve Bruce 13-2, Dion Dublin 7-1, Mark Bowen 8-1, Martin Allen 8-1, Jim Duffy 10-1, Joe Royle 10-1, Mike Newell 14-1. Glenn Hoddle 14-1, Peter Reid 16-1, Peter Taylor 16-1, Dave Penney 16-1,

Nigel Pearson 20-1, Geraint Williams 25-1, Stuart Pearce 33-1, Steve Tilson 33-1, Paul Ince 33-1, Kevin Keegan 33-1.

Odds from bet365

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