Rusty ready to nail goal after his repair

Darel Russell will be looking to find the net tonight for the fourth home game in a row - after being given the all-clear to continue his remarkable comeback with Norwich City.

Darel Russell will be looking to find the net tonight for the fourth home game in a row - after being given the all-clear to continue his remarkable comeback with Norwich City.

The combative midfielder played 89 minutes in the Canaries' 2-1 win at Plymouth on Saturday, just 10 days after a double hernia operation in Germany.

Russell, 27, yesterday made the startling admission that he had been playing in pain for two years, but little, it seems, will stop him.

And he has been declared fit to continue first team duties against Queens Park Rangers in this evening's Championship match.

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“I have a couple of ugly scars at the minute but I'm not doing too badly,” he said.

“For about the last two years now I've been playing with pain and last season I had an injection in the area when I had my time out with the sendings-off.

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“That resolved the problem for a little bit, but this year it just became too much and we made a decision that I would go for an operation.

“It is when you play a lot of games consistently that it becomes painful and difficult, sprinting wise. I'm just hoping that this surgery is going to resolve the problem and give me that freedom to sprint and move around a little bit more easily and pain-free.”

Russell's appearance at Plymouth demonstrated his powers of recovery.

He said: “It came as a surprise on the Friday when the gaffer mentioned it to me that he'd like me to start. It was nerve-racking so soon - it is more of a mental thing as well. But I'm glad I got through it. That's the main thing. Once you get through it you can take confidence from that to keep pushing on and progressing from the injury.

“I think I found the first 45 minutes difficult to get myself moving and break down the stiffness, but as the game progressed I started to feel my way into the game a little bit more and it held up pretty well.

“I missed two weeks of training but hopefully with this week coming up and the games coming thick and fast I will be able to pick up speed and be up to speed pretty quickly.”

Russell has scored in both City's home matches so far, operating as a stand-in striker, equalising in 1-1 draws against Blackpool and Birmingham. He also scored in the final home game of last season, against tonight's opponents.

He said: “I'd like to keep scoring. If I can put a couple more in that would be nice. I think if we play the right way, we're capable of scoring goals from almost anywhere on the pitch.”

Manager Glenn Roeder did not rule out giving Russell an attacking role again at some stage.

He said: “What he's done as a striker, I have to say he's done equally as well. There will be football judges who say he's actually done better as a striker. It was a really pleasant surprise how well he played up through the middle.

“He certainly more than proved his worth. It's another important string to his bow and because he's got physical presence and such high energy levels, he wouldn't be nice to play against.

“I could easily see Antoine Sibierski and Darel Russell playing up front together.”

The idea appeals to Russell, who said: “It would be good. I wouldn't be classed as the big man then. It would be nice to play up there with him because he can do some of the things that I was doing and I can probably work off him.”

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