Super Shacks has helped cover over the cracks

PUBLISHED: 09:28 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:07 10 September 2010

Gary Doherty heads Sammy Clingan's corner back towards goal for David Mooney to score the winner. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Gary Doherty heads Sammy Clingan's corner back towards goal for David Mooney to score the winner. Photo: Angela Sharpe

Canaries skipper Gary Doherty has paid tribute to central defensive partner Jason Shackell for helping plug the gaps in Norwich City's once leaky defence.

Canaries skipper Gary Doherty has paid tribute to central defensive partner Jason Shackell for helping plug the gaps in Norwich City's once leaky defence.

Three clean sheets in the last four games doesn't quite tell the full story of a back four that finally has a look of solidity - and consistency - about it.

The number of centre-back pairings City have fielded this season has run into double figures, but Shackell's return to City on loan from Wolves has proven to be a master-stroke.

Shackell and Doherty have started the last seven games, and in three of the last four goalkeeper David Marshall's line has not been breached.

"Shacks has been a massive signing for us," said Doherty after City's 1-0 win over Plymouth on Saturday. "The gaffer's done terrifically there because he doesn't have to bed in because I know his game inside out and he knows my game and I think it works.

"He's obviously been very unlucky at Wolves because I do rate him very highly and he's probably one of the best centre-halves in this league and I think he's proven that since he's come back.

"I can't speak highly enough of him.

"We're delighted and to get three clean sheets out of four, we're buzzing. We haven't had enough all season so we're happy, it gives us a good base to play from and if you win 1-0 it's a great result for the defenders."

Gunn has made only enforced changes at the back, usually at the left-back position where Ryan Bertrand and Adam Drury were injured and Shackell's arrival enabled Jonathan Grounds to move there from centre-half before his return to Middlesbrough. It's a far cry from the days when Doherty found himself next to Elliott Omozusi or Grounds.

"It's been awful and at times I've been playing with full-backs - with Groundsy and Elliott - which has made things doubly difficult because they didn't want to play centre-half," he said.

City's current revival has also coincided with Doherty's appointment as skipper a fortnight ago. He said: "I haven't been a permanent captain at any club I've been at so I am delighted with that. It feels terrific. Obviously there was a lot of pressure on us before the game, but the last 10 minutes seemed to go on forever. It was all about the result, the performance probably wasn't that great - we cut them open a few times and didn't really give them any chances which was obviously pleasing but to get a 1-0 victory, we're over the moon. We've got a massive game against Birmingham now, who we usually do all right against - we'll go into it with confidence, we're defending well at the moment and getting the odd goal too which is nice."

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