STRIKER Johnny Russell has been told to relax – and his form and goals will flow.
Russell joined Derby County in a £700,000 deal from Dundee United this summer and he has started both Championship matches against Blackburn Rovers and Brighton & Hove Albion.
He converted a penalty on his debut in the draw with Blackburn but struggled a little and was substituted after 66 minutes of the win at Brighton.
Rams manager Nigel Clough said Russell was a bit frustrated with himself at Brighton.
“He has no need to be frustrated at all,” said Clough.
“It is very early days in his career here. He is here for the next few years, he doesn’t have to impress everybody in the first few weeks.
“So we just want him to relax a little bit. He just has to play his normal game. There is no pressure on him.”
Russell scored four goals in the first four friendly games of pre-season. He hit a double in the victory over Bohemians in Dublin and one against both Port Vale and Bristol Rovers.
“That was probably the worst thing he could have done because everybody immediately thought we had got a complete player,” said Clough.
“We kept saying ‘give him some time and let him settle in’.
“He has come down from Scotland, he has only been here six or eight weeks, just give him time.
“The reason Chris Martin and Craig Forsyth are looking so good is because they had three months on loan here at the end of last season. There is no settling in period with them.
“Let’s judge Johnny Russell towards Christmas.”
Russell was handed 45 minutes against Burton Albion in the Bass Charity Vase game at the Pirelli Stadium on Tuedsay. He started and scored in the Rams 3-2 defeat.
The 23-year-old Scot missed virtually all of the final two months of last season due to a broken leg and he is playing catch-up with his fitness.
“It was important for Johnny to get some more minutes on the pitch at Burton, and he scored a good goal,” said Clough.