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Derby County star Johnny Russell wants to put frustrating start to Rams career behind him

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

Birmingham City v Derby County 
St Andrews Stadium
Johnny Russell

Birmingham City v Derby County St Andrews Stadium Johnny Russell

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JOHNNY Russell is hoping for a run in the Derby County side after a frustrating start - on a personal level - to his Rams career.

Russell joined the Rams from Dundee United last summer in a deal worth around £700,000.

The Scottish forward scored five goals in his first 11 league outings before breaking a bone in his leg during the home win against Leeds United in early October.

He managed to get back in action in less than two months, though six of his next seven appearances were from the bench.

Russell started successive games over the festive period, only to fracture his cheekbone in the 1-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic on New Year's Day.

Having recovered from his latest setback, he made his first start since the Wigan game in last weekend's 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, replacing the injured Jamie Ward.

"I thought it went well," said Russell.

"It's been a frustrating time for me over the past few months.

"I've been desperate to get back in - but the boys have been playing well and winning, so it's been difficult.

"Unfortunately, Wardy has got an injury and I've managed to get in.

"Sometimes, that's the way it happens in football - somebody gets injured and you have to take your chance. Hopefully, I've done that.

"I want to play as much as I can and however long I get, I'll give everything I've got.

"I just want to play every minute. I love what I do - I love football, it's my life."

Russell will be hoping he has done enough to retain his place in Steve McClaren's side for this weekend's crunch Championship clash with promotion rivals Burnley at Turf Moor.

"Of course, these are games you want to play in," he said.

"But I think every game is going to be massive between now and the end of the season.

"There's good competition from places.

"It was good to see Dawks (Simon Dawkins) back against Bournemouth. Unfortunately, Bryse (Craig Bryson) and Wardy have picked up little injuries.

"Hopefully, we can get them back fit and that will give us great strength in depth.

"That's good for everybody because it keeps you on your toes.

"If you’re not playing to the standard you should be, the gaffer is not afraid to make a change."

Russell has not scored since the Leeds game in which he broke his leg - something he is hoping to put right sooner rather than later.

"It's something that's been lacking when I've been coming on," said the 23-year-old.

"I've been getting into positions where I know I should be pulling the trigger but, for whatever reason, I've chosen another option and it's not quite worked out.

"Hopefully, if I play the next game, I can get myself a goal.

"But at the end of the day, if we're winning games, I couldn't care less about scoring."

Injuries aside, Russell is enjoying being part of a promotion push in his first season at Derby.

"When I signed, we spoke about where we saw the club going," he said.

"But to be honest, I didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

"So it's exciting for me, because I've never been involved in anything like this before.

"It's baby steps just now, though. We need to take every day and every games as it comes.

"But, hopefully, we can keep getting the results that will get us to where we want to be."

Burnley are unbeaten at home in the league this season and have not lost in 10 Championship matches.

Strike duo Danny Ings and Sam Vokes have scored an impressive 42 goals between them in all competitions this term.

"Burnley have maintained their promotion push and have obviously worked really hard to do that," said Russell.

"They've turned their home ground into a bit of a fortress, which always helps, and picking up results away from home as well.

"Ings and Vokes have been brilliant for them but, hopefully, we can keep them quiet and get a result.

"They've been unbeaten there for a while but it would be really nice for us to bring that run to an end."

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