Defensive resolve can help restore Norwich City’s confidence

Former Norwich City manager Dave Stringer. Photo: Steve Adams

Former Norwich City manager Dave Stringer. Photo: Steve Adams

Finding a settled central defensive pairing will be key to Norwich City salvaging their promotion hopes, former Canaries manager Dave Stringer has said.

City have deployed six different centre-back partnerships so far in their roller-coaster Championship campaign.

Carlos Cuellar and Michael Turner were the latest duo given the nod but were unable to prevent Brentford winning 2-1 at Carrow Road.

Although the central defensive pairing cannot be solely blamed for the loss, the sight of both players lunging in to tackle Andre Gray and give away a 71st-minute penalty summed up City's disjointed performance.

'They've had a lot of changes in the last few months through different reasons, it's not really been settled enough for anyone to get a good understanding,' Stringer said.

'It's important so that you can get to know each other's weaknesses and what one may lack, the other may be able to make up for.'

Stringer – who was at Carrow Road on Saturday – played 499 games for the Canaries, often in tandem with Duncan Forbes at the heart of City's defence.

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He also managed the club between December 1987 and May 1992 and was often able to rely on solid central defensive partnerships.

With Seb Bassong back with the club following a loan spell at Watford, many City fans are calling for the former club captain to be reintroduced. But whether it is through Bassong, or a new signing, Stringer feels stability will be key to City's confidence returning.

He added: 'If you have two defenders that are very solid then the crowd then feel quite confident themselves and the same for the players, they will grow in confidence as well.'

For more on City's defensive performance so far this season, see today's Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.