Russell happy to be looking up in world
Chris Lakey Darel Russell is a forward thinker - and is hoping Norwich City have finally left the relegation zone behind them.
Darel Russell is a forward thinker - and is hoping Norwich City have finally left the relegation zone behind them.
Russell's injury-time stunner gave City the points the hard way against Preston, but shot them up to 13th in the table.
That leaves the Canaries in the rare position of being closer to the play-off spots than the relegation zone - and Russell admits he's all for looking ahead.
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"Obviously you have an eye up the table and it is always probably better to look forward than look who is chasing you and I think when you keep looking what is happening behind you end up tripping up," he said. "It's just like when you are walking - if you keep looking at what's happening behind you you can end up falling or walking into something.
"It is always best to look forward and obviously that's where we want to be so it is better for us to look and aim in the direction we want to go."
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So is it really possible, that City can bridge a seven-point gap and become this season's most unlikely promotion candidates?
"Anything is possible," said Russell. "There is no reason we can't continue this run. Every game we play is one closer to our next defeat, but that's life and we have to see when that comes how we are going to progress after that and we start a new run and continue forward again."
Saturday's game was heading for a goalless draw until Russell provided another massive boost to the team's morale after the midweek win at Southampton - wins achieved on the back of very average performances.
"It is the sign of a good team - when you are not playing the greatest and you are still getting results," said Russell. "It just shows there is a little belief and habit we have formed now that we are real hard to beat and there is every chance that at any point in time we can win games.
"I am quite sure now teams are going to be looking over their shoulders and taking note of Norwich City, because I think in the early part of the season people were absolutely loving coming to play us because they probably felt it was going to be three points and an easy win, but we are now hard to beat and it is just great to be in this position and hopefully we can continue this unbeaten run and try and emulate teams like Crystal Palace.
"There is a feeling that even when we don't play well we are not going to get beaten. Even if we are not playing well we'll batten down the hatches and we are not going to concede. That is the kind of strength in depth that we have got."
Russell's goal was his third in the league this season - and by some way his best - but owed more to a striker's instinct than that of a midfielder as he controlled Dion Dublin's headed flick-on with his chest, turned and volleyed home from 20 yards.
"I have no idea what possessed me to chest it down and hit it," he said. "Jamie (Cureton) just said to me it's striker instinct, it is just something that comes naturally that you just feel there is a right time to hit the ball and luckily for me it came off the boot nicely and nestled in the back of the net.
"It's definitely up in my top three so I'll have to look though the old archives and see which ones I prefer. It was a nice goal."
Russell admitted the award-winning Carrow Road playing surface didn't lend itself to a quality game of football.
"It's really difficult in the middle of the pitch as well because our pitch is pretty bobbly in there and there is a lack of grass," he said.
"On the outside it's not too bad, but in the middle it is difficult to get the ball down and play. We are finding it a little bit difficult, but we plugged away and I think we just lacked a little bit of quality in our final ball.
"If we'd had a bit better quality we probably would have scored earlier, but it is real great to get the three points.
"It must be disheartening for Preston to concede a goal so late in the game."