Fit-again Russell ready for battles ahead

DAREL RUSSELL is confident he will soon be back up to full speed.

The Pompey midfielder returned to the side for the 2-0 defeat at Bury on Saturday – after a nine-match lay-off because of a hamstring strain.

While he lasted 67 minutes on his Blues comeback, the former Norwich man was one of Pompey’s better performers in another disappointing team display.

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Russell admitted he was missing some match sharpness at Gigg Lane, but insisted he is now fully recovered from the injury and is eager to join the battles that lay ahead.

‘It’s the longest injury I can ever remember having, even though it was only a few weeks out,’ he said.

‘I was missing a bit of sharpness after a few weeks out but sharpness doesn’t stop you making tackles and being competitive.

‘The other side of the game will come with training and matches.

‘It’s been a short while out, but it was good to be back.

‘It was good to blow a few cobwebs away.

‘I’ll get a good week of training in this week and that will definitely help me improve in time for this weekend.’

Russell was not afraid to air his grievances with his Fratton Park team-mates in the aftermath of their latest defeat.

But while Pompey struggled to get going, he felt both goals they conceded were avoidable.

‘We were out-competed and out-battled but the two goals we conceded were poor,’ said Russell.

‘The first was a set-piece and the man on the back post wasn’t where you would expect him to be.

‘That set us back.

‘But the penalty, for me, wasn’t a penalty. The referee was 15 yards away facing the game and didn’t call it.

‘The linesman was on the opposite side and called it instead.

‘People who saw it can make up their own minds on that decision.

‘But these situations happen. We have to work hard and get on with it.’

After Michael Appleton’s departure last week, Russell is also looking forward to getting down to some serious work on the training ground under caretaker duo Guy Whittingham and Andy Awford.

He added: ‘They have brought an honesty and a different point of view, but we’ve got to go back to basics and move forward.

‘Now we’ve got a full week to impart the new way that we are looking to do things.’