New City centre-half Ian Murray joined Dion Dublin in singing Gary Doherty's praises ahead of this evening's huge home game against Scunthorpe United.
For Dublin, Doherty was Norwich's best player this season; that having seen an unending round of defensive partners come and go, he deserved every credit for keeping his own game going in the midst of such a merry-go-round.
And all whilst waiting for that long-vacant No5 shirt to be filled.
Murray was in little mood to disagree after the Scottish international became Doherty's third centre-half partner of the season afte Dublin and suspended club skipper Jason Shackell.
“He's one of those lads that you want beside you – you want in the trenches with you,” said Murray, as the Canaries find themselves firmly stuck in the mud at the wrong end of the Championship table.
“You know he'll do his best to help you out and get you out of a little bit of trouble and vice versa. He'll cover for you and that sort of thing,” added Murray. “Even if he's having a poor game, you can always rely on him to be giving it his all. Giving 100 per cent.”
In fairness to Doherty, with no Dublin and no Shackell to call on he refused to abandon his post with the groin strain that he picked up in the Carling Cup trip to Manchester City – City boss Peter Grant suggested yesterday that it was still niggling away in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
With Dublin back in contention again, Grant at least has the option of giving the Republic of Ireland international a break and ensuring that the Canaries go nto battle with yet another centre-half pairing – their fourth in a dozen games shoudl Dublin-Murray take to the field tonight.
Most would, however, prefer to see the 38-year-old Dublin slung straight back up through the middle of the team as City renew their urgent quest for goals.
Ove six hours of football have now passed since Norwich last scored a goal and if they are ever to start to get their season back on track that is where it has got to happen – somewhere in front of Scunthorpe United's goal.
With the best will in world, Norwich are never going to churn out clean sheet after clean sheet. They've have just got to go out to score more goals than they concede. And with two, instinctive strikes to his name already this season, Dublin's awareness of where the goal is remains undimmed with the passing years.
Certainly that's where Murray sees Norwich's weakness of late – that chronic inability to not only score goals, but to even create chances. And for that everyone must shoulder the blame, insisted the 26-year-old former Hibs skipper.
“I think it's a collective thing – we're not doing too bad defensively; we're not leaking too many goals – it's just a problem of creating chances and scoring goals which comes when the strikers aren't getting the service,” said Murray.
“And perhaps when the defence is a bit too deep as in the second-half on Saturday. So it comes right from the back, right through to the front. I think we've all got to pull together and try and create something.”
That's where his worries lie – not in the fact that Norwich go into tonight's game in 21st spot. More the fact that someone like Jamie Cureton has had barely a sniff of a chance of late.
“I don't think it's the league position – it's the fact that we aren't creating anything. At the moment, I'm not too alarmed because a couple of wins gets us right up there – especially in this league. The fact that we aren't creating much is the bigger problem.”
While it might, for now, be stretching a point to say that the former Rangers utility player has been a revelation at centre-half, he hasn't done too much wrong. And what he lacks in physical height and presence, he makes up for in a smart reading of the game. By and large, his timing has been very good.
He has a certain, unhurried air about him.
And as he always maintained, left-back was never his position of choice – a point he inadvertantly proved with events at both the Spotland home of League Two minnows Rochdale and again in the embarrassment that was Wolves.
Hence his delight at being given the opportunity in his more natural habitat – even if it comes courtesy of those two red cards for first Dublin and then Shackell.
“I've enjoyed it so far – obviously the results haven't been the best for us, but from a personal point of view I've enjoyed it,” said Murray.
“Obviously it's due to someone else's disappointment and sending offs, but it's helped myself – and that's the way football is. Someone else's disappointment is someone else's gain and that's how its worked for me, so hopefully I can keep myself in there.”
Decision day on that front will come with Shackell's return from suspension in time for the away game at Queen's Park Rangers next Monday night – a game that has already developed an ominous look to it, not only for the fact that it is live on Sky but also that the West London side could be in full, new manager 'bounce' after the dismissal of John Gregory this week.
Murray insists that this City squad is more than good enough to haul themselves up the table – and sooner rather than later.
“The only game I feel we've been really out-played in was the Wolves game,” he said. “Apart from that there's not been much in it. The Cardiff game at home was one we probably should have won.
“Crystal Palace could have went either way; Hull away could have went either way. And the game on Saturday – albeit we didn't play well, I still felt it could have been either way again. So we just need to get the luck running on our side a wee bit.”