Russell calls for 90-minute display
Darel Russell is hoping two halves will finally make a whole for Norwich City when they go into the weekend's crucial East Anglian derby. The Canaries have impressed for 45 minutes in each of their last two Championship matches but have no points to show for it, and cannot afford another half-baked display when Ipswich Town visit Carrow Road on Sunday (1.
Darel Russell is hoping two halves will finally make a whole for Norwich City when they go into the weekend's crucial East Anglian derby.
The Canaries have impressed for 45 minutes in each of their last two Championship matches but have no points to show for it, and cannot afford another half-baked display when Ipswich Town visit Carrow Road on Sunday (1.15pm).
Glenn Roeder's men suffered a nightmare first half at home to Crystal Palace a week ago and, despite a great improvement after the break, were unable to prevent a 2-1 defeat.
The reverse was true at Hillsborough on Saturday as City produced some polished football to lead Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at the interval before crumbling to a 3-2 reverse with some slack defending in the second half.
Russell, who returned to action for the final half-hour against the Owls as a substitute for the injured Adam Drury - after completing a three-match ban for his sending-off against Preston last month - knows there can be no half-measures against Town as City hover a perilous one place above the bottom three.
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He said: "It was a fantastic first-half performance and it's difficult to put a finger on what went wrong in the second half, but conceding two goals so quickly absolutely killed us."We were flying and it's just upsetting and disappointing that we just didn't match that first-half performance. I think we've been showing in recent weeks that we can produce that kind of display, but now we need to produce it over two halves."
City managed to win just one game out of three during Russell's absence, with victory at Forest sandwiched between home defeats by Swansea and Palace.
He said: "It's been frustrating. The results haven't been falling right but we've put in the right performances, whether for full games like Forest or half a game.
"It's difficult to understand what we really need to do differently but we need to continue what we're doing in those good parts of the game."
Russell's first derby appearance against Ipswich came longer ago than any of his colleagues when he appeared as a 19-year-old at Carrow Road under Bruce Rioch's reign as manager.
The game in 1999 ended in a goalless draw and Russell played in the return fixture that season when City won 2-0 with two goals from Iwan Roberts. He did not taste defeat against Ipswich as a Norwich player until last season's 2-1 defeat at Portman Road.
City's current league position makes success in Sunday's encounter even more important than usual. "It's always going to be a big game. The derby one is a massive one for us in terms of points and position and for the fans as well."