BURTON Albion's record signing admits the start of his Brewers career has been a bit of a frustrating one, but midfielder Russell Penn has vowed to get his head down and force his way back into the starting line-up.
Penn was signed by boss Paul Peschisolido from Kidderminster Harriers in July for a fee of £20,000 with a reputation for scoring goals from midfield having bagged 26 in 178 appearances for his former club.
The 23-year-old has chipped in with two in the Brewers’ opening seven League Two games, but has yet to establish himself as a regular in the starting line-up.
Penn started the opening three league and cup matches, scoring in the 5-2 win over Morecambe in Albion’s first home game.
However, he was substituted in the 2-0 Pirelli Stadium defeat at the hands of Torquay and has started on the bench in four of the Brewers’ last five games, though he did score a stunning injurytime goal after coming off the bench at Lincoln City.
Penn was on target again on Wednesday night, scoring the final goal as Albion reserves beat Derby County’s second string 3-0 at the Pirelli Stadium, but is eager to force his way into Peschisolido’s first XI.
Asked if he was feeling a little frustrated, Penn said: “Yeah you could say that but you just get on with it.
“We’ve been playing well so I can’t moan really.
“I had a good start to the season, we had a few dodgy results early on, but the last four games we’ve been brilliant really so I can’t moan at the gaffer.
“You’ve just got to keep working hard in the reserves and hopefully get your chance again.” Penn believes playing against the likes of Derby and Sheffield Wednesday reserves in the newly branded totesport.com League helps those players who are not regular first-teamers to stay sharp, but says he doesn’t want to taste second-string action too often.
“I haven’t played much in the last couple of weeks, so to get a good 90 minutes under my belt was good really — it keeps you sharp if ever you’re called up.
“You don’t want to be going around playing local teams because you don’t get the same sharpness and the same out the game really.
“To go to places like Hillsborough and Pride Park is great for us lot, but I don’t want to be playing in the reserves all season. But it keeps you sharp and to get a goal tonight was good.
“The gaffer brought me here to get goals and I’ve got my fair share so far. It just keeps me sharp and hopefully, whenever called up, I can bag another one.
The midfielder added: “I think I’ve done well, I’ve got myself a couple of goals.
“I’d like to get more minutes on the pitch but, as I’ve said, the lads are doing well, so I’ll just keep pushing them, and if that’s what it takes to be up there, then so be it.
“The gaffer’s great, he’s been very open. He’s an easy to talk to kind of guy and the results are going well so far, so long may it continue.
“We had a dodgy start, but 11 points from seven games is a great start.
“We’re in the top half and we can look in front of us now. We’ve got nothing to fear in this division.
“We’ve played two of the top teams, I think, in Notts County and Bradford and we came away with points, and we could have even snatched the win.
We’ve got nothing to fear this season and we’ll give it a real good go.”
Penn rounded off the scoring for the reserves, against a Derby side which included the likes of Dean Leacock, Jay McEveley and Paul Dickov, in the 83rd minute, dispossessing Ben Pringle on the edge of the Rams penalty area and firing a low shot past former Brewers keeper Saul Denney and into the far corner.
The home side had taken the lead a minute before half-time when Jacques Maghoma fed the ball through to Dutch-based triallist Ferdi Elmas, whose precise finish gave Deeney no chance.
The lead was doubled on 63 minutes when another Dutch triallist, Nick van Eijsden — a halftime substitute — turned Kallum Keane on the edge of the box before firing past Deeney.