Shackell and Doherty key to Canaries survival - Brown

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:05 10 September 2010

Ex-Canaries striker Chris Brown believes Jason Shackell could be the most important man in the fight against relegation. Brown emerged from a bruising encounter insisting that the central defensive pairing of Shackell and Gary Doherty will be key to City's survival battle.

Ex-Canaries striker Chris Brown believes Jason Shackell could be the most important man in the fight against relegation.

Brown emerged from a bruising encounter insisting that the central defensive pairing of Shackell and Gary Doherty will be key to City's survival battle.

Shackell is at Carrow Road to the end of the season, returning on loan to the end of the season from Wolves, where he moved last August.

Manager Bryan Gunn's decision to bring Shackell back looked to be a good one on the evidence of Saturday - Brown certainly thinks so.

"I rate Jason very highly, having played with him, and I think he could be the man to tighten up the defence," said Brown, who was at Carrow Road for just a year before Glenn Roeder sold him to Preston for £400,0000 12 months ago.

"Him and Gary Doherty can be outstanding together - I thought that when I played there and I still think that now. I think if those two stay fit they are vital to Norwich surviving.

"I think Doc's one of the most under-rated players in the Championship.

"He is very hard to play against, very strong, he wins his headers and positionally he is very good as well.

"It was always going to be a tough game against them both, but thankfully we came out on top."

Brown was involved in Preston's goal, his blocked shot falling perfectly for Jon Parkin to fire home just before half-time, but he doesn't believe defeat will do any long-lasting damage.

"I think they'll definitely stay up," he said. "They have got some good players. It just seems to me that they are always in the game, but they just seem to be missing something. What that is I don't know but they just seem to be very unlucky in terms of losing a goal and being unable to get back into the game.

"I think they have got enough to survive. I think Bryan Gunn has made some good signings and hopefully they'll pick up."

Shackell has slipped down to fifth in the pecking order at Wolves, where he has started just four games since his £1m move.

But manager Mick McCarthy insists the 25-year-old still has a future at Molineux.

"He's gone to get back playing," said McCarthy.

"Jason was unfortunate in that when he came in, he didn't play - not because of him, but because we were doing so well.

"I think he got frustrated. Having brought Christophe (Berra) in, Jody (Craddock|) came in as well, so I've still got four central defenders.

"He just didn't get the opportunities, and when he did, he hadn't played enough football, which doesn't do you any favours."

McCarthy denied there had been any rift and praised Shackell's conduct.

The manager said: "Shacks has been great. He just got his head down and trained and got on things. He wants to play."

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