Hanley and Gibson get Farke’s vote

Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson are forming a new look central defensive pairing at Norwich City in rece

Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson are forming a new look central defensive pairing at Norwich City in recent games Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Daniel Farke feels Norwich City’s latest centre back pairing is a work in progress – but the Canaries’ boss likes what he sees from Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson.

Hanley and Gibson will continue their double act on Saturday at Bristol City in the Championship, with Christoph Zimmermann back in light training after a calf issue.

Hanley’s own City spell has been punctuated by injury problems, while Gibson barely played during the past two seasons at parent club Burnley.

The duo had a difficult shift against Brentford’s prolific Ivan Toney in midweek, following on from a defensive mix-up involving Hanley to gift Wycombe a goal at Carrow Road. Farke is in no doubt the experienced pair will prove their class with a regular run.

“All in all I have to say I am pleased with them. Our conceded average is under one per game,” he said. “That is a good sign. It could be better. I would like a clean sheet every game. I can remember my first season we had a club record number of clean sheets in a row and I want to achieve that again. It is not that easy for them because they were both out for a long time.

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“Ben Gibson had not played a game in 18 months, Grant Hanley’s season was interrupted by long-term injuries.

“They have been solid but like the rest of the boys when I judge their performances they have done many, many things right.

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“Take Grant, he was sadly involved in a couple of conceded goals but I was also told he made the Championship team of the week. That is a sign he has done many things right, his statistics are impressive, yet perhaps he was involved in that crucial goal (at Wycombe) so you cannot then speak about a perfect game or performance.”

Farke has hailed the pair’s leadership in the dressing room.

“They show great leadership around the group as well, which is important, but they know there are some little bits where we can do better,” he said. “It is a sign of how difficult the position is. You really have to perform without any mistakes because in that area of the pitch each mistake you make can be punished.

“An offensive player can make a poor pass and lose the ball 30 yards from goal and it is not that dangerous.

“But if you lose your striker in the box it can be a goal, and that might be a crucial goal. For all the players there is always space for improvement.”

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