Russell backs City boss

Stoke midfielder Darel Russell is convinced old team mate Peter Grant will turn around the Canaries' fortunes - but the former Carrow Road trainee won't let sentiment get in his way.

Stoke midfielder Darel Russell is convinced old team mate Peter Grant will turn around the Canaries' fortunes - but the former Carrow Road trainee won't let sentiment get in his way.

Russell was on target in Stoke's 5-0 romp earlier this season and also struck in City's impressive midweek draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light - a result that revived Stoke's flagging play-off push.

“It's a catch 22 situation for me,” he said. “I want to see Norwich do well but we have our own agenda. You never want to score against a club where you've really enjoyed your time. Stoke need a win. The team is pushing for promotion and we're a little off the pace. It'll be difficult, but it's about getting results now.

“For me, it's nice to go back and play in front of the old ground. There's still a few lads I'm friendly with at the club and every time I go back to the city people have been so kind to me.”


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The 26-year-old is closing in on 200 appearances for the Potters since his £125,000 move from Norwich but he has yet to taste victory back on has old stomping ground.

“I've done okay,” he said. “I picked up one of the Championship player-of-the-month awards this season and it's a been good year for me. Obviously I didn't want to go at the time, but there were many different issues.”

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The Londoner was Grant's midfield ally for two seasons after he broke into the first team back in May 1998. City secured a top ten finish in the re-branded Championship the following season. Russell insists his ex-team mate is the perfect choice to replace Nigel Worthington.

“They've got a great man at the head of it,” he said. “Granty will have them knocking on the door. He's his own man and he needs a chance to implement his own ways, his own thinking. Norwich have got the resources, they've got the players and I'm sure next year he'll be pushing on and trying to get the team back to where it should be because that is the expectation level.”

Russell knows first hand that Stoke face a huge Carrow Road test of their promotion credentials.

“It doesn't matter where they are in the table,” he said. “Norwich are in a false position with the players they have. Going to Carrow Road at any time you're not going to get an easy ride. With the disruptions with different managers and different players it's never easy. I'm sure Granty will get his own way, get it going and the results will start to turn like they have done of late.”

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