Doherty: I'm ready to fight

Norwich City defender Gary Doherty has warned any central defenders thinking of coming to Carrow Road they will have to fight for their place.

Norwich City defender Gary Doherty has warned any central defenders thinking of coming to Carrow Road they will have to fight for their place.

Canaries boss Peter Grant has been linked with West Ham defender Calum Davenport in the past week as he looks to strengthen his back four but after shutting out Preston on Saturday, Doherty revealed he is feeling good about the season ahead and has no plans to vacate his central defensive slot any time soon.

“He is always going to be on the lookout for somebody else but it's up to the gaffer really,” he said. “I can only do my best and I've got the shirt at the minute and hopefully my performances can keep me in the team.

“We've got Dion that can play there but he's said he wants to be a centre forward so it wouldn't surprise me if we get another centre half in as we've only really got me and Shack there. We haven't got much cover right back now either now we've lost Hughesy.”

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Grant was frustrated in his pursuit of Manchester United youngster Ryan Shawcross, who decided to go to Stoke but he will perhaps feel his need is not quite as urgent after an excellent rearguard display in the 0-0 draw at Preston.

Doherty revealed that the defence reaped the rewards of hours on the training field and in the classroom as the back four look to gain a better understanding after conceding 71 goals last season.

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“I think if you look at the minutes we've played over pre-season we've more or less played all the games,” said Doherty. “It gives you a chance to work on little things and we've had a lot of video sessions as well to see where we're going wrong during the pre-season games.

“Hopefully, we're on the way on and once you get a solid base then we can really start attacking this league.”

Doherty described the last campaign as a “disaster” on a personal level but hopes to rediscover the kind of form that netted him the club's player-of-the-year trophy at the end of the 2005/06 season.

“For me last year I couldn't get going. Especially when the gaffer came in, I couldn't get myself fit at all. I was going from one injury to another then I would come in and do my best and then suffer another problem. It was a disaster for me really last year from Christmas onwards.

“I'm just looking forward now to having a clean bill of health. Hopefully the back four can play a lot more games together and then we can improve.”

Doherty admitted it had been a difficult week for the Canaries squad in the run-up to their first match of the Championship season but the point away from home showed the character of the squad.

“It's been tough for a few of the lads to drop down ill,” he said. “Chris Martin is another striker who was excellent for us last season and he came down with the sickness. The gaffer's hands were tied a little bit but the lads are feeling a lot better now and hopefully they could be in line for Tuesday (against Barnet).

“It's always a tough place to come especially on the first day of the season, it's a really uncertain game.

“You don't know how fit you really are no matter how much work you do over pre-season it's always a worry in the back of your mind how you're going to cope in your first competitive game.

“So to come here and get a clean sheet is a real bonus. We didn't get too many of them last season - it's a good start defensively but we've still got a few things to work on.”

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