ASK  fans of Hull City, Stoke or Portsmouth, and they will tell you a story about Ibrahima Sonko and Danny Collins - and it won't make for pleasant listening.

Take Sonko for instance. The towering defender signed for Stoke for £2million but played just 14 games. He fared little better at subsequent loan deals at Hull (nine games) and Portsmouth (23) where supporters seem to think he was more of a liability.

After two disappointing years at the Britannia, the 30-year-old was released and had to train at his old club Reading - who love him by the way - while desperately looking for a club.

Then there is Danny Collins. HIs story starts somewhat brighter, winning supporters' player of the year in both 2008 and 2009, also at Stoke.

But his problems began when Tony Pulis' men started to shake up the Premier League with Collins never failing to nail down a regular place, either in the centre or at left-back.

As is so often the case in football, one team's loss is another's gain and so it has proved.

The free signing of Sonko appeared to be somewhat of a risk by Paul Jewell, coming so soon after the spankings by Southampton and Peterborough.

Town were in desperate need of a defender, any defender, to take poor Jack Ainlsey out of the spotlight and Sonko didn't come at any price. 

The fact that he hadn't played competitively for seven months was a gamble worth taking - even if I went into his debut against Leeds fearing another Mark Fish episode.

Soon after, Collins arrived on a three-month loan deal from Stoke, to replace out-of-favour Damien Delaney, and a partnership was born.

The pair showed signs against Blackpool - despite Collins signing less than 24 hours before - and have since gone on from strength-to-strength helping the Blues to three consecutive clean sheets.

How have they done it? Well for starters, they compliment each other so well. Collins has a little more finesse and pace, while Sonko is your typical no-nonsense 'sling it into row Z' type of  defender.

Brave, powerful, alert, the pair will sling everything and anything in the way if it means preventing a shot at David Stockdale's goal.

Sonko has defied, and impressed, everyone to play four consecutive matches  - Jewell joking that the Sengalese international has to be wheeled out for games having played more than he has trained. And he has a cracking website to boot (click on image below).

While Collins has taken a slight backseat next to his defensive partner, although I thought he just edged the man of the match award against West Ham with some fantastic last-ditch tackles.

Either way, a gamble and a Premier League second string centre back have combined to become Town's best central defensive duo in many a year.

Now that's one story I am happy to keep telling.