Norwich old boy Darel Russell relishing City reunion
Norwich City’s former title-winning midfielder Darel Russell would love the chance to say a proper farewell when he returns to Carrow Road for the first time this weekend with Preston.
The 30-year-old signed off by lifting the League One trophy on the final day of last season before his summer switch to Deepdale.
Russell hopes he can bank on a warm reception from the home fans ahead of special date in the footballing calendar for the ex-City trainee.
He said: “The fans at Norwich have always been great for me and I hope that continues. They helped me along in the early part of my career, when you need that support, and in the middle part of my career.
“It was nice to finish your time on a high by winning a league. I will always be a part of that team which won the league last year. It’s a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was a pleasure to play for them and in front of them
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“I don’t know if I’ll be playing this weekend but I would like to be involved in the squad down there, but it would be nice to come back.
“I’ve been back and forth to Norwich because I still have a lot of links and ties down there so it’s not like a foreign place to me.
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“It’s strange in one way and in another it’s a bit of a comfort zone. It’s obviously a familiar place for me, a pitch I have played on many a time.
“I guess in terms of going into the other dressing room it’s something I have done before, but it will still be a little different.”
Russell must play the waiting game after being left out of Preston’s last three matches as Phil Brown tries to guide the bottom side to safety.
“The new manager has come in and he has his own ideas which is okay and his job is to try and get the team firing on all cylinders,” said Russell. “It’s disappointing not to be playing, but I feel real good this season, especially recently, I feel I have got myself settled up north a bit more now.
“I’m real fit and my form hasn’t been too bad. I just have to keep my head down, keep working hard and get myself back in the frame.
“It’s been an extremely difficult season for the club but it’s challenges like these that make you stronger and hopefully I can use the experience to make myself better as a player and a person. We need the points desperately because where we are now we don’t have the luxury of losing games. Our aim is get a result. Norwich will want to do the same because they have their own agenda at the other end of the table.”
Russell backs former boss Paul Lambert and his old team mates to have a big say in the Premier League promotion race after building on recent League One success.
He said: “It’s not a surprise to me at all because it was a good unit. From what I know the manager puts a good working week together and I think that is really key when you do that and the boys know where they are at, and what he wants from them. It is quite easy to take that out on the pitch and they have done that fantastically this year and it shows by the position they are in.
“I would say they are definite play-off candidates and if they could take the form they had at the back end of last season into the end of this they would have a real good chance of automatic. It’s obviously a tougher league than League One with a lot of teams who can beat each other, but they are in a good position.”