Murray made up with central role

DAVID CUFFLEY It's an ill wind that blows no one any good - and Norwich City's most recent recruit admits he has benefited from his team-mates' enforced absence. After three uncomfortable games at left-back, Scotland international Ian Murray looked more at home in the centre of defence against Manchester City in the Carling Cup and in Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.

DAVID CUFFLEY

It's an ill wind that blows no one any good - and Norwich City's most recent recruit admits he has benefited from his team-mates' enforced absence.

After three uncomfortable games at left-back, Scotland international Ian Murray looked more at home in the centre of defence against Manchester City in the Carling Cup and in Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.

And with the Canaries desperate to end a run of four straight defeats when they face Scunthorpe United in the Championship at Carrow Road tonight (7.45pm), 26-year-old Murray is hoping to extend his spell of defensive duty.


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“The results haven't been the best for us but from a personal point of view, I've enjoyed it so far,” said the former Rangers man, relieved to be spared full-back responsibilities.

“It's much better. Due to somebody else's disappointments and sendings-off, it's helped me. That's the way football goes, I suppose. One player's disappointment is someone else's gain. That's the way it's worked for me so hopefully I can keep myself in there. That's where I prefer playing, so I hope I can stay there.”

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Murray was given his chance alongside Gary Doherty because of suspension for skipper Jason Shackell and Dion Dublin. With Dublin available again tonight, his place could be under threat, although Doherty is now struggling against a persistent groin injury.

Fit or not, Murray is a big fan of his new defensive ally.

He said: “Doc may be deceiving to some people because he's a big lad. He's one of these players you want beside you, you want him in the changing rooms with you.

“You know he'll do his best to help you out and maybe get you out of a little bit of trouble. He'll cover for you, even if he's having a poor game, and you can always rely on him to be giving his all and 100 per cent.”

And Murray, yet to appear on the winning side for City - unless one counts the penalty shoot-out victory at Rochdale in the Carling Cup - believes City's defence has done a steady job despite the poor run of results.

He said: “We're not doing too bad defensively. We're not conceding too many goals. It's just a problem creating chances and scoring. The strikers aren't getting the service and perhaps the defence was a wee bit too deep in the second half on Saturday.

“There are points we could have taken and there are maybe points we shouldn't have taken. But at the moment I'm not too alarmed because a couple of wins gets you right up there in this league.

“The only game where I feel we've been really outplayed was the Wolves game. Apart from that there's not been much in it. The Cardiff game at home we should have probably won, Crystal Palace could have gone either way, Hull away could have gone either way. And on Saturday, although we didn't play well, I still felt it could have gone either way again.”

Murray, who once scored 10 goals from midfield in one season for Hibernian, is also keen to open his City account.

He said: “Once you get in the knack of scoring it becomes a bit of a habit, especially from midfield. Perhaps we've not got enough from midfield, never mind strikers this season.

“Centre-halves maybe try to get two or three a season. If you can get maybe 15 or 20 through the whole midfield in a season, I think you're doing well. The good teams all get goals from midfield.

“But I've only been here a month or so, so it's a bit hard for me to judge or even criticise people when they're trying their best.

“Any time would be nice, but hopefully towards the end of the game when there's no chance for them to come back at us.”

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