Johnny Russell says he’s eager to carry on where he left off in a Derby County shirt after returning to match action.
The 23-year-old Scotsman, signed from Dundee United for an undisclosed fee in the summer, played 56 minutes for Derby’s Under 21 side in their 1-1 draw against Burnley at the Training Centre on Tuesday afternoon after recovering from a fractured fibula.
He suffered the injury in the closing stages of Derby’s 3-1 win over Leeds United at the start of October in what was Steve McClaren’s first match in charge of the Rams.
Russell had scored five goals in 11 league appearances prior to his spell in the treatment room and he is determined to regain his sharpness and impress McClaren, just like he did with his lively display against Leeds.
He told Rams Player: “It was really good to get my boots on again and play a game.
“It’s only been six weeks that I’ve been out of action but it’s been hard.
“It was the same injury all over again (he fractured the same fibula at Dundee United last season) so I’m glad it’s behind me and I’m back playing again.
“The injury didn’t give me any problems in the game so that’s good and I felt fine.
“The lungs felt a bit tight as you can quickly lose your sharpness and match fitness, so I’ll look to build that up again as quickly as I can.
“It’s frustrating not being as sharp as I was, but that’s down to injury and nothing else.
“I just want to carry on where I left off, I had got a goal against Leeds when I got injured and hopefully I can impress the new boss.”
Russell has admitted he has found life watching on from the stands a real challenge.
With Derby tasting one defeat in five matches under McClaren, the striker says he expects to have a battle on his hands to return to the starting XI.
He said: “It has felt a long six weeks to be honest especially when I’ve had to watch the games.
“During the week was fine, although I wanted to train with the lads like normal, but having to watch on from the stands is pretty frustrating.
“You want the boys to do well and at the same time you’re jealous of them.
“They’ve done really well while I’ve been out and I’ll have a job on my hands getting back in the team, I know that.”
He added: “Hopefully in the next few games I can get myself back in the squad.”
Watch the full interview with Johnny Russell on Rams Player.