Russell - Every game is massive now
David Cuffley Darel Russell reflected on another fruitless away day for relegation-threatened Norwich City and admitted: 'Every single game is huge from now on.' The Canaries were 20th in the Championship table this morning, knowing they could drop into the bottom three tonight if results elsewhere go against them.
Darel Russell reflected on another fruitless away day for relegation-threatened Norwich City and admitted: “Every single game is huge from now on.”
The Canaries were 20th in the Championship table this morning, knowing they could drop into the bottom three tonight if results elsewhere go against them.
A win for Watford at home to Swansea and a point for Barnsley at Sheffield Wednesday would take both sides above City.
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Midfielder Russell, in the thick of a second successive fight for survival since returning to Carrow Road in the summer of 2007, knows only too well the gravity of the situation after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Preston, with successive home games against Burnley and Coventry City on the agenda.
He said: “I think it puts an onus on every single game. I don't think it makes a difference whether they are home or away. I think every single game is huge.
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“People are going to say more so the home games because we're in front of our home crowd and on home turf, but I think it's just as important away, if not more important, because that's been a problem for us all season. We haven't picked up too many points away from home.”
The 28-year-old Russell is anxious not to spend too much time studying the table or worrying about other clubs' results, however, instead concentrating on the fact that City may need to win as many as six of their last 13 matches to stay up.
He said: “We have our own targets. I don't know whether we should express that and add extra pressure but I think anyone can do the mathematics and know exactly how many games we need to win to get ourselves to that safety zone. That's exactly what we're looking for.
“If we get them, we'll be safe, we'll be fine and that's my only focus at this moment in time. I don't think we should concern ourselves about everybody else. We've got to concentrate on what we need to do and if we do what we need to do and get the results we need to get, we should be fine.
“If we can keep clean sheets and score goals at the other end, it's a pretty simple equation. We're going to win games.”
Russell admitted that he had not anticipated two seasons of struggle when he rejoined the Canaries from Stoke just over 18 months ago - and said it hurt to see the club with which he grew up in such a position.
He said: “I moved to Norwich hoping to succeed and do well and help move this club in the right direction and it hasn't gone that way so far. It's really sickening for me and it's one of those things I want to keep trying to persist in changing.
“It's a hard pill to swallow when you look at the club that you left - feeling you were moving to a better club and better things - doing well and playing in the Premier League. But that's not something I've been bitter with and I've given my full commitment and I really want to try to make sure that things work here.”
With Jon Parkin scoring Preston's winner from a free-kick, Russell accepted City had to tighten up at set pieces, but praised the performance in defence of the returning Jason Shackell, on loan from Wolves for the rest of the season.
He said: “We locked them out in open play but conceding from a set play is disappointing.
“But Shacks did well. We had a good defence last year and he was part and parcel of that so we're hoping now we've got three of the back four we had last year, they've got a good understanding together and they'll be able to lock the goals out like they did last season. That will hopefully put us on the right path.”