Russell has no fears

DAVID CUFFLEY City midfielder Darel Russell will not be losing any sleep over the star names in Cardiff City's line-up tomorrow. Former Premiership strikers Robbie Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are expected to form a formidable, if ageing attacking spearhead for the Bluebirds against the injury-hit Canaries at Carrow Road (3pm).

DAVID CUFFLEY

City midfielder Darel Russell will not be losing any sleep over the star names in Cardiff City's line-up tomorrow.

Former Premiership strikers Robbie Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are expected to form a formidable, if ageing attacking spearhead for the Bluebirds against the injury-hit Canaries at Carrow Road (3pm).

Russell is well aware of the threat posed by 35-year-old Hasselbaink and Fowler, 32, but reckons it is up to City to assert their own authority on the game in front of their own fans.


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He said: “I think this division is amazing because there are players you never thought you would ever see playing in the Championship who were playing in the Premiership just a few years ago.

“It's testament to how good the division is. It's great to see big names down here and it can only be a good advertisement for the division.

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“But I've never been a person to worry about other players I play against because you can only do what you do. For other players, it may be an inspiration but you hope it's not going to put people in awe of these players and be detrimental to everyone.

“These players are down here because they are probably not good enough to play in the Premiership at this moment in time and we've got to show that we're good enough to try and be pushing ourselves to the Premiership and be better than them.

“Cardiff are always a difficult side to play. We're on our home patch, so we're going to be taking the game to them.

“We're here at home with our fans, hopefully they'll give them a bit of stick and we'll get the result we want.”

Despite his combative approach to the game, Russell has managed to keep off the injured list as manager Peter Grant assesses his walking wounded after the Carling Cup tie at Rochdale, which City won on penalties after extra time.

Said Russell: “I don't know about fitness, I'm more tired after that extra time. We did it the hard way on Tuesday but we're in that hat now for the next round.

“Any injury is always difficult. The boys are trying to push through and get treated and healed up as quickly as possible. But it's difficult, especially when we've got so many new players as well, to try to gel together when we do not get the opportunity to play games and be around each other on a regular basis.

“It's a difficult situation but we're doing the best we can.”

Not knowing the starting line-up until the last moment plays havoc with City's preparations.

“It's a disadvantage because you'd like to be able to prepare as best you can do for the game and mentally get yourself right,” said Russell.

“That's how it works and it's difficult for a manager not knowing exactly what he's doing, difficult for players not knowing what you're doing. But that's the way we have to go.

“I don't like to say it's ugly but it's more of a battling game in the Championship. It's a difficult, hard-working game. There is not so much football being played in the early weeks of the season. I hope as the weeks come on we'll start to gel a little bit more and play a bit more football and stamp our authority on the games.”

The 26-year-old Russell is enjoying being back on familiar territory after four years with Stoke.

He said: “The fans have been fantastic. I've been really surprised by the response I've got. They've been very positive and it's great to be back training. The facilities here every day are brilliant - whether it's the gym, the treatment room or out on the pitches. It's nice to be working in good conditions - Premier League conditions. It's where the club should be.

“The stadium is fantastic and I think someone said to us last week we had the fourth or fifth biggest crowd in the country, which is amazing. These are the things that show where we should be and we've just got to follow it up by putting ourselves there.”

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