Norwich City's great Dane a breed apart

PUBLISHED: 11:42 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 10 September 2010

David Cuffley

Jens Berthel Askou wears number 33 - but he appears to have established himself as the number one choice in the centre of defence for Norwich City.

The 27-year-old Dane has played all but two of the Canaries' 14 matches in all competitions this season, and when he was not selected they suffered in his absence, beaten 7-1 at home by Colchester on the opening day and 4-1 by Sunderland in the Carling Cup.

Jens Berthel Askou wears number 33 - but he appears to have established himself as the number one choice in the centre of defence for Norwich City.

The 27-year-old Dane has played all but two of the Canaries' 14 matches in all competitions this season, and when he was not selected they suffered in his absence, beaten 7-1 at home by Colchester on the opening day and 4-1 by Sunderland in the Carling Cup.

Askou will be hoping to keep his place for the ninth game in a row in tonight's Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round tie at Gillingham (7.30pm), well aware that the rest of the side sent out by manager Paul Lambert is likely to have a drastically different look to the one that started the League One fixture at Priestfield Stadium 11 days ago.

Not that the disruption is a worry for the steely Scandinavian, who has already had three central defensive partners this season in Gary Doherty - back for the past two games - Michael Nelson and Michael Spillane.

He said: “I have enjoyed playing with all of them. They are all good players and quality players. They have different qualities, but as I said before, defence, midfield, attack or goalkeeper, it doesn't matter who's playing.

“I just enjoy playing and whoever is next to me it is not a big issue.

“It's not going to affect me a lot. We have enough quality players to step in when somebody is out with injury or bookings so it's not a problem.”

Askou is still sporting a scar on his forehead - the legacy of a training ground collision with goalkeeper Declan Rudd - but has completed the full match each time he has been selected, and does not want to miss a minute's action after convincing home wins over Leyton Orient and Bristol Rovers.

“At the moment it is going very well,” he said. “We've had two fantastic wins and played in front of almost 50,000 fans in the last two games so it's been amazing and hopefully we can keep riding that wave.

“We are looking to climb the league table and the faster we can do that the better.

“When we pass the ball as well as we did on Saturday it gets a lot easier for us at the back just to keep a high line and take the ball down whenever they get it again. It was a fantastic game and it's a pleasure playing in the defence when we keep the ball as much as we do.”

Askou expects another battle at Gillingham after 10-man City fought back for a 1-1 draw in the league fixture.

He said: “It is never going to be easy, but I hope we won't get a knock as we did last time when we had the goalkeeper sent off.

“It was a big blow and shook us up and it was a tough game playing one man down.

“I think we started very well against Gillingham and we have played the same kind of football the last two games and I hope we keep that up.

“They're probably going to be hungry to beat us after having almost succeeded the last time we visited them, so it is going to be a tough game.”

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