Doc's pledge to stay

Paddy Davitt Norwich City defender Gary Doherty is ready to pledge his future to the Canaries.Doherty confirmed the club had opened preliminary talks on a new deal, with the 27-year-old's current contract due to run out in the summer.

Paddy Davitt

Norwich City defender Gary Doherty is ready to pledge his future to the Canaries.

Doherty confirmed the club had opened preliminary talks on a new deal, with the 28-year-old's current contract due to run out in the summer.

City boss Glenn Roeder recently revealed he wants Doherty and skipper Mark Fotheringham to stay at Carrow Road long-term after identifying the pair as a key to his rebuilding plans. Doherty signed a one year extension to his original contract 12 months ago.

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“The gaffer got me into his office to offer me a new deal and that's the start of it,” said Doherty. “To be honest we haven't really had any major discussions. There is obviously bits and pieces to sort out now but I'm happy here and enjoying my football.”

Doherty - a permanent fixture in City's re-shaped defence during all bar one of the club's recent 13-match unbeaten league run - could be press-ganged into a more advanced role for Barnsley's Championship visit. Roeder is minus a recognised targetman after Dion Dublin picked up his fifth booking of the season in last weekend's Leicester defeat.

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The versatile ex-Spurs player was deployed by Nigel Worthington as a striker in the early months of his City career - scoring on his full debut in a Premiership away defeat at Newcastle back in 2004.

“I haven't really thought about putting in a shift up front,” he said. “I would be surprised if the gaffer went that way but he might look at it if he feels he needs a targetman. Curo looks good in training so that gives him different options and you have the likes of Chris Martin as well ready to step in.

“I don't remember the last time I started a game up front. I think it would probably have to be when I first came here when the club was in the Premiership.

“That was one of the reasons I decided to come to Norwich because I was being played in two different positions at my previous club and when that happens its hard to progress or establish yourself.”

Doherty pinpoints a home Championship double header against Barnsley Saturday and Blackpool's visit the following week as pivotal to reviving the club's fading play off ambitions.

“These next two games will shape our season - whether we can push on for the play offs or not,” he said. “We'd still have to go on a ridiculous run to get anywhere near but to do that I think you need maximum points from these games coming up.

“The gaffer has spoken to us a few times about having the strength of mind to deal with certain situations. When you looked at the table before we went on our run we were going into matches knowing it was must win. That seemed to bring the best out of us. The pressure of trying to stay in the hunt is something we can also respond to.”

Doherty detects a renewed sense of purpose to try and erase memories of the club's Leicester mauling.

“It had been going so well for us defensively but that game was a little bit of a disaster,” he said. “If you were to stop and look at the reasons why we went 13 unbeaten it was more or less built on not conceding goals and trying to keep clean sheets. Leicester was a terrible result for us and we're looking for a response. It was a big shock - not just to lose three points but to lose three big players for a game or two although the gaffer has already said it's a chance now for others to come in and show what they can do.”

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