Johnny Russell’s two-goal burst in Saturday’s 6-1 win at Bohemians has quickly whet Nigel Clough’s appetite to see the frontman in competitive action for Derby County.
The summer signing from Dundee United took just ten minutes to open his account for the Rams as they ran out comfortable winners in their first pre-season friendly of the summer at the weekend.
Russell scored 20 goals for his former club in the Scottish Premier League last season and Clough believes the 23-year-old has the potential to score different types of goals, and become a regular on the scoresheet in a Derby shirt at the same time.
He told Rams Player: “Johnny scores goals and his two on Saturday showed he is a very good finisher, but we knew that anyway.
“That’s what we feel he can bring to the team, scoring goals first and foremost, and the early signs are good.
“If we can get good quality balls into the box, we would fancy him to be in the right place to finish them off more often than not.
“He’s good at that. He’s an instinctive finisher in the box and he can sniff out a chance.
“The variety of goals he can score goals attracted us a while ago when we looked at him, as he’s capable of smacking one in from distance as well.
“The early signs are promising and we don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but he could prove to be a very good asset for us.”
Clough feels Russell can get even sharper in the coming weeks ahead of the season opener against Blackburn Rovers at Pride Park Stadium a fortnight on Sunday.
With four pre-season games left to play, against Port Vale, Bristol Rovers, Burton Albion and West Bromwich Albion, the Rams boss is looking forward to seeing the Scotsman continue to prepare for the 2013-14 season.
He said: “Johnny was out of action for a few months with a broken leg last season so we think he’s still not quite at full tilt just yet, but he’s doing very well.
“Despite that, he’s looking very sharp and he’s working extremely hard on his fitness and his football.
“He’s settled in quickly and with a few more games under his belt we think he’ll get even sharper.
“That’s a very exciting thought and to have him even sharper and everything is worked towards having him, and the rest of the players, firing on all cylinders for the 4th August against Blackburn Rovers.”
Watch more from Nigel Clough in an exclusive interview on Rams Player.