Remember the ones who didn’t play says skipper

Canaries skipper Jason Shackell believes the players who didn't feature at Deepdale should give room for optimism for the season ahead.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Canaries skipper Jason Shackell believes the players who didn't feature at Deepdale should give room for optimism for the season ahead.

Shackell gave a blunt assessment of City's goal-less draw in the north-west, but believes it is a platform on which to build.

“We didn't create enough and we didn't help the forwards with some of our service,” said the central defender.

“We know we didn't play up to our full standards, every single one of us. We could have been better, but at the same time we have come to Preston, which is a hard place to come, and we have come away with a valuable point.

“It was a very scrappy game, but we had Jamie Cureton on the bench, Chris Martin wasn't even involved, and had David Strihavka on the bench as well - but we started with Chris Brown and Dion (Dublin).

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“We have so much going forward now, which is nice to have. We have a big, physical presence and we can bring on the pace of Hucks when he is fit and Cureton, who is a goal scorer - we have a lot to work on and we can be positive.”

Shackell's main concern is leading the back line, and after some nervous moments City's defence held firm against regular onslaughts from Preston.

“There were times last season where we would have lost that game quite comfortably,” he added. “We really dug in at times and although they had a lot of set pieces we actually felt quite solid to be honest, and we have come away with a clean sheet.

“We have got to take the positives, we dug in, we battled, we know we didn't play well and there is a lot more to come. It's the opening day, which always throws out a few funny results, and we have come to a place like Preston and come away with a 0-0.”

The difference between this year and last, it would appear, is in the personnel.

“I just think at times maybe last year we would have caved in,” added Shackell. “They would have got that little breakthrough and we would have gone under. We have the added physical presence of Rusty (Darel Russel) and Julien (Brellier), who did extremely well, and I think at times we were making that extra yard and that extra tackle, which maybe at times last year we would not have quite made.

“We have come out for the first game, it's high tempo, they want to do well, we want to, and the adrenalin kicks in. It wasn't the prettiest game we have ever played, but we are not always going to play pretty football - we have come here and got a good result.”

Shackell has got his first senior game as City's new skipper out of the way, but was critical of his own performance.

“I did a few good things and a few bad things as well,” he said. “A few of my clearances were a bit sloppy, which is something for me to work on. I put in a few good blocks at the end, which is always nice, but we all have stuff we need to work on over the week.”