Shackell welcomes extra competition

Norwich defender Jason Shackell admitted he would relish a new centre back arrival ahead of tonight's January transfer window deadline. Shackell has been an ever-present feature in City's ten match unbeaten league run which Glenn Roeder's side extended at Southampton on Tuesday.

Norwich defender Jason Shackell admitted he would relish a new centre back arrival ahead of tonight's January transfer window deadline.

Shackell has been an ever-present feature in City's ten match unbeaten league run which Glenn Roeder's side extended at Southampton on Tuesday.

Roeder revealed a centre half still remains his number one priority - despite fading hopes of a successful conclusion to the protracted pursuit for Birmingham's Martin Taylor. Shackell believes Roeder's desperate attempts to bolster his defensive ranks could be key to helping maintain City's recent revival.

“The gaffer is looking to bring in players and its all good healthy competition,” he said. “We do need a centre half, we haven't got enough at the club and it would be a welcome addition. It makes you up your game little bit. I love playing with Docs - he's an excellent player to be alongside and he covers for any mistakes you make but really the whole back four is pulling their weight at the moment.”


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Shackell insisted Norwich's battling display at St Mary's was fresh evidence of their new found resolve instilled by Roeder.

“Confidence is up and we're now starting to turn our form around in the league, getting some decent results and playing some decent stuff,” he said. “Everyone's getting on really well and the gaffer has the boys really geed up. Ten unbeaten is a big difference from the start of the season. The gaffer has brought in a few players and everyone is working for each other which is excellent. When you're not playing well team spirit comes through on the pitch and we are now able to grind out a result.

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“It wasn't a nice game and it wasn't pretty but there's plenty of times when you might say you've played well and not got the victory. I thought Southampton played really well, knocked it about and we had to dig in from front to the back. Marshy made a couple of good saves when he needed to so it was an all round team effort.”

Midfielder Darel Russell is targeting a Carrow Road league victory over Preston this weekend to pull even further clear of the Championship strugglers.

“If we can get three points against Preston on Saturday we'll be clearing away from that relegation zone and perhaps looking a bit further forward,” he said. “We're heading in the right direction and have to keep this unbeaten run going. Look what Crystal Palace have done. If we had turned a few of our draws into wins we could have been right up there by now.

“Considering the way we played in the first half, it's a great result for us. We were a little bit out of sorts. We took a little while to get ourselves into our stride and organised and, to be fair to Southampton, they did pretty well. They had a few efforts and we rode our luck a little bit, but it's the sign of a good team when you're not playing your best and you still come out and get a result. That's the way forward.”

Russell singled out young Man City starlet Ched Evans after his match winning strike on the south coast but stressed a strong team ethic is at the heart of Norwich's upturn.

“It was a fantastic finish,” said Russell. “He showed great composure in the box and popped it in and that's what we need. He's firing on all cylinders. He got a little bit tired and the gaffer changed it and it's great to see we've got someone like Jamie Cureton, who can score goals, come on to the pitch and look busy.

“We are not a team of individuals. We work together and we've got enough quality on the bench to come and fill in. Patta's come on, helped to shore up the midfield and from then on we were a little bit more solid.”

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