Alex Neil's new-look defence driving Norwich's success

Since taking over the Carrow Road hot-seat, Alex Neil has implemented changes that have guided Norwich City back into the play-offs.

Under his management the Canaries have soared up the table winning seven of his nine games in charge, losing one and drawing the other.

More recently he has guided Norwich on a five-game winning run that has seen them move back into the play-off places, scoring plenty of goals and dominating games.

One of the most important decisions Neil has made since his arrival is reinstating Sebastian Bassong to the heart of Norwich’s defence. Under Neil Adams, Bassong was usurped to Watford on loan while Michael Turner and Jos Hooiveld formed the centre-half paring.

Hooiveld – who was on-loan from Southampton and is now at Millwall – was particularly poor under the previous regime and his last act in a Norwich shirt was to give away a penalty against Brighton. He was taken off by Adams after the incident despite not being sent off, a stinging indictment of his performance.

Since Bassong returned against Birmingham in a 0-0 draw, Norwich have kept four clean sheets in their last six games, with the Cameroon international putting in some impressive performances.

Another change from Neil that has undoubtedly changed Norwich’s defensive fortunes is moving captain Russell Martin inside from his favoured right-back position, with Steven Whittaker coming into the side.

The Scotland international has played centre-back for his country on many occasions with great results and this could be where the former Hamilton Academical manager first saw him play there, prompting the idea for change.

The table below shows the contributions both players have made in the last six games, both winning more aerial battles than they have lost and providing a number of effective clearances.
Sebastien Bassong v Russell Martin: Head to Head: : 20150227

On Sunday, Norwich come up against the Championship’s top goal scorer in the form of Ipswich Town's Daryl Murphy and they will have to continue their fine defensive duties in order to go above their local rivals.

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