Russell makes Pompey pledge

Darel Russell in action against Oldham
Darel Russell in action against Oldham

Darel Russell has delivered his cast-iron pledge to Pompey fans, promising: I will always give 100 per cent.

The midfielder has been an ever-present in Michael Appleton’s side since his free-transfer arrival at Fratton Park last month.

Asked to operate in a more defensive-minded role, the 31-year-old has featured in the Blues’ past six matches.

For Appleton, it was something of a coup to snap up a player who has won promotions from League One with both Norwich and Charlton during his career.

Despite that, Pompey’s players have drawn criticism from some sections of supporters following a number of below-par performances.

The latest was a lacklustre 3-0 defeat at Notts County last weekend which plunged them into the relegation zone.

That has prompted accusations over their commitment to the club during continued uncertain times.

Not that Russell believes his attitude and work-rate can be questioned.

Appleton’s men face Scunthorpe tomorrow, with Russell again expected to be in the starting line-up.

And he has vowed he will maintain always giving 100 per cent to the cause.

He said: ‘I’m just getting to match fitness now and then you progress and move forward, but the situation is what it is.

‘I am not going to say “I wish I had more match fitness, I wish I was sharper” because it is not about that.

‘That’s the work I do on the training field to make myself ready and as long as I am giving 100 per cent when I go out on a Saturday, there is not that much more I can do now.

‘It will be 100 per cent of what I can give and whether it is Russell at 100-per-cent fitness or Russell at 80-per-cent fitness, you will get 100 per cent of what I have to give.

‘It’s as simple as that. That is how it should be.

‘We have got players with some great ability. I haven’t got the ability as some in our side but the one thing I do know is I have to work hard to do what I do and that’s the first and foremost part of the game.

‘You might be having a bad game, the passing may not be there or the vision may not be there. But if you are working hard and causing the opposition a problem, you can compensate.

‘Occasionally there are things that you accept may not be there, but you have to work and work hard and do your job as best as you can.

‘I am enjoying the work I am doing on the training field and, obviously, you want to enjoy winning on Saturday because that is what you build up to in the week.

‘And hopefully in the coming weeks we can start enjoying some better results.’

Russell has experienced plenty of recent success in League One.

Last season he helped Charlton to the title after joining them on loan from Preston for the second half of the campaign.

He was also an integral part of Paul Lambert’s Norwich side which won promotion to the Championship in 2009-10.

Russell left Preston by mutual consent in the summer to become a free agent.