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Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Tony Popovic emerges as a shock Norwich City managerial candidate

PUBLISHED: 14:34 13 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:54 13 May 2014

Crystal Palace's former defender Tony Popovic has been linked with the Norwich City managerial vacancy. Picture: Mark Lees

Crystal Palace's former defender Tony Popovic has been linked with the Norwich City managerial vacancy. Picture: Mark Lees

Former Crystal Palace assistant boss and Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic has emerged as a surprise potential candidate for the Norwich City managerial post.

Reports emerged on Tuesday afternoon (UK time) Down Under claiming the Canaries could be prepared to make an approach for the 40-year-old, who worked alongside Dougie Freedman as his assistant at Selhurst Park for 15 months prior to returning to Australia.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph claim no official approach has yet been made from the Canaries for Popovic who is two years through a four-year contract.

Popovic has forged an impressive coaching reputation after steering his club to two grand finals and a Premier Plate in 2013, with Wanderers also looking to secure a quarter-final spot on Wednesday night in the Asian Champions League if they can overturn a 3-1 first leg defeat against Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Parramatta Stadium.

Wanderers finished the regular A-League domestic season in second place, 10 points behind Brisbane Roar to qualify for this season’s play-offs, but lost the grand final 2-1 to the Roar last week.

City’s top brass released a club statement following Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat against Arsenal, which confirmed their relegation, that stated they aim to find a permanent successor to former boss Chris Hughton within a week.

Chief executive David McNally revealed they had drawn up a short list with three or four names on it. Ex-Cardiff City chief Malky Mackay has been heavily linked with the post since the end of the season, while Neil Adams had made no secret he was keen to carry on after his five-game stint in charge.

McNally also made it clear the Canaries were looking to change the management structure on the football side of the club, which could include a more experienced director of football role to work alongside a first team coach.

Popovic began his coaching career as an assistant at Sydney FC, where he remained until February 2011, before returning to England to work alongside Freedman until becoming Wanderers’ first coach. He was named A-League coach of the year after guiding them to the Premier Plate in 2013.

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