MANAGER Carl Abbott reckons Evesham United have found a “perfect” centre-back partnership in Ryan Paddock and Bradley Maslen-Jones.

The Robins have claimed clean sheets in four of their past five Southern League Division One South matches to climb to fourth in the table.

Paddock and Maslen-Jones have combined in all five of those games with the only slip-up coming in a 4-3 defeat at Cinderford Town two weeks ago.

And Abbott was full of praise for the defensive pairing after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Willand Rovers at the Jubilee Stadium.

“It’s a perfect partnership as you have got one that goes and attacks the ball and one that drops off,” Abbott said.

“They both can play and don’t mind putting a foot in. It’s working very well.”

Maslen-Jones followed Abbott from Quorn.

But it is Paddock, signed from Bishop’s Cleeve in the summer, that has become “massive” to Abbott’s side.

“Pads is a great lad and looks after Brad who is a young and upcoming player,” Abbott said.

“When he’s not there it’s a big miss.

“There were a catalogue of errors at Cinderford which was a bit out of character.

“But I think we have fallen into some good habits and we are defending quite well as a team.”

Abbott also said Paddock, who is a lance corporal in the Royal Corps of Signals, played with a bruised foot against Willand.

Paddock is now set to benefit from a weekend off from competitive action with Evesham’s next league game taking place a week on Saturday at Bideford.

“Pads played with a lot of pain on Saturday so this break gives us a chance to freshen up and then go and attack Bideford,” Abbott said.

“He has got a bruised foot so it was a case of just coping with that pain.

“He is a soldier by trade so you would expect him to be a brave lad.”