Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors - Russells are targeting a win over former club Wigan

HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ Olly Russell says his proud dad has “calmed down” in his unflinching support of his career but will be cheering him on against their former club Wigan Warriors.

Family connection: Huddersfield's Oliver Russell started his career at Wigan, a club his father Richard also played for. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The half-back, 22, will continue piloting Giants tonight in the absence of experienced playmakers Aidan Sezer, Jack Cogger and Lee Gaskell and look to help end a five-match losing run.

His dad Richard Russell is the former Wigan Castleford and England hooker who also played for their hometown club Oldham.

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He played in the great Wigan side involving Ellery Hanley, Andy Gregory and Shaun Edwards and Russell junior also started out in the Cherry and Whites academy before switching to Huddersfield three years ago.

“My dad’s been massive for me; he’s the biggest influence on my career,” said Russell.

“He knows the sport well and is always giving me tips and feedback. When I was younger, he was proper into it and pushed me.

“But ever since I got into Wigan he calmed down a bit and let me do my thing as he knows I’m growing up.

“But he always loves me going up against Wigan and Castleford as he loves going to the clubs and grounds where he used to play. He’ll be looking forward to it on Friday.”

And so is Russell as he pits his wits against a lot of his former Academy team-mates who have since progressed into Wigan’s first-team.

“Ollie Partington is still one of my best mates,” he said.

“I stay in touch with him every day. But there’s Liam Byrne, Joe Shorrocks, Harry Smith and lads like that as well.

“We have got some of the best youngsters in the game ourselves at Huddersfield, though.

“We just need to keep building on it. We’ve got the best coach around to bring us all forward so I can see a bright future if everyone stays together and keeps going.”

Ian Watson’s Huddersfield narrowly lost 16-12 at Wigan on Sunday and will look to reverse that this evening.

England international Jermaine McGillvary returns to the side while youngsters Will Pryce, Robson Stevens, Fenton Rogers and Aidan McGowan are all included in the squad.

However, one of Huddersfield’s crop of homegrown players – Sam Wood – will not be at the club in 2022 after Watson confirmed he had turned down a new deal for a better offer at Hull KR.

Watson also revealed he does hope to bring former Giants prop Nathan Mason back to the club from Leigh Centurions next term.