Jon Russell backs Huddersfield Town to follow Nottingham Forest example after sluggish start

Huddersfield Town have not had an ideal summer, to put things mildly, but there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic, believes Jon Russell.

A calming presence in the Terriers midfield, the 21-year-old from Greater London maintains the issues at the John Smith’s Stadium are not a big fix.

The departure of head coach Carlos Corberan and Nottingham Forest’s transfer swoop for Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo left Town looking like a much-changed outfit heading into the new campaign.

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Their season has started with narrow defeats to Burnley and Birmingham City to leave them as one of only two Championship clubs to lose both of their first two fixtures.

However, a couple of victories could quickly change the picture and Russell has pointed to the example of Forest after they endured a tough start last term before being promoted.

“It is not the results we wanted and it is not how we wanted to start,” reflected Russell.

“Nobody is feeling negative. We know what we are capable of doing and we just need to get back to what we were doing at the end of last season. We will be fine.

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“If we can just get one win, then we can kick on from there. We all have high hopes of that.

Jon Russell of Huddersfield Town. (Photo by John Early/Getty Images)Jon Russell of Huddersfield Town. (Photo by John Early/Getty Images)
Jon Russell of Huddersfield Town. (Photo by John Early/Getty Images)

“If we get a win, we can take off again.

“If you look at Nottingham Forest, they were bottom and reached the Premier League. You can’t get too focused on the start but we do need to start getting good results.”

Following Corberan’s departure last month, Danny Schofield was appointed as head coach after working in the first-team set-up since the summer of 2020.

The decision to promote from within provided some continuity for Huddersfield and Russell is enjoying his time under the 42-year-old.

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Russell said: “I have loved it. He is a great coach and manager.

“He helped me last year, so being under him I don’t have any problems or issues. I feel that we are going to get back to where we were last year. We are doing similar things. Everyone is positive and I have high hopes.

“Having a manager like him, there is so much to learn from.

“It is not completely new, everything we do is based on last season. It is just about getting up to speed. We are all positive and we know we can get there.”

After a hectic pre-season, Russell admits he is not at the standard he expects from himself, having broken into the club’s first team relatively early on in his Huddersfield career. The Chelsea academy product made the move to West Yorkshire last summer, initially joining the B Team set-up.

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After impressing in FA Cup wins over Burnley and Barnsley, the midfielder forced his way into Corberan’s plans and played almost every minute of Huddersfield’s final 18 games, missing only the first 57 minutes of the play-off final.

“I am not at the standard I was at last year. I still need to improve myself,” he continued.

“If I do my bit right, I know I am going to get there. I am doing everything I need to do, it is going to be a good season.

“It could be a bit of fitness as we had a short pre-season. Game by game, we are going to get to the levels we were at last season. I want to get as many games under my belt as possible and get to a place where we are happy as a team and hopefully get promoted. I just want to put in a strong performance every week and do the best I can.

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He added: “The goal pretty much since I came here was to be part of the first team. The B Team had a great connection to the first team and I saw it as an opportunity to get into the first team as quickly as I could.

“I had confidence in myself that I would be able to do it.”

There are no points to be won for Huddersfield tonight when they face Preston North End in the first round of the Carabao Cup but Russell believes that a strong performance coupled with a positive result could be just the tonic for the Terriers.

“We need to master the basics, things like getting to the second balls. If we perfect them, then we can look at the tactical stuff and we will be fine,” he said.

“We are just off it a bit with some of the fundamentals but if we get better with those then we will improve.”

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During Friday’s loss in Birmingham, Schofield revealed that some home truths were delivered in the away dressing room at half time.

Getting those issues resolved and reaffirming the standards expected is best done now rather than later, maintains Russell.

“The earlier on, the better,” he added. “It is better to have that on our minds for the whole season rather than halfway through.

“It is important to get those words in. It will only help us.”

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Huddersfield are keen to add more players to their squad before the transfer deadline on September 1. Schofield insists new arrivals will need to get up to speed with his side’s style of play quickly.

“New players will bring that new talent. For us, we know what is going on tactically but for new players it might not click straightaway,” concurred Russell.

“Game by game they will get used to it and that will only help the team.”

Getting that first win, regardless of the competition, would be an ideal boost for Huddersfield tonight.

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