York City winger Simon Russell declares revenge is the spur in Saturday’s FA Trophy final against Stevenage at Wembley (From York Press)
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York City winger Simon Russell declares revenge is the spur in Saturday’s FA Trophy final against Stevenage at Wembley
YORK City winger Simon Russell is desperate for revenge against Stevenage Borough at Wembley on Saturday.
Russell was a member of the Kidderminster Harriers’ side that lost 3-2 to Stevenage in the 2007 FA Trophy final – the first competitive match to be played at the newly-developed stadium.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who has featured in four of City’s Trophy ties this season, has an added incentive, therefore, should he make manager Martin Foyle’s 16-man squad.
He said: “Beating Stevenage on Saturday would definitely make up for losing in 2007.
“It’s disappointing for anyone to say you have lost at Wembley and if we can win, whether I’m involved or not, I’ve still played a part in getting there and the feeling would be great.”
Russell has also warned his team-mates against complacency, having experienced the agony of surrendering a two-goal advantage against Stevenage two years ago.
He added: “We were 2-0 up at half-time and had been the best side by far.
“Even though we had a fair bit of experience in the dressing room, I think we thought we had the game won but we conceded some sloppy goals in the second half and Steve Morison got the winner in the 89th minute.”
Former Northampton forward Morison, who has plundered 31 goals this season, has been earmarked by Russell as the most likely man to shatter his Wembley ambitions for a second time.
He said: “For me, Morison’s the biggest threat.
“Hopefully, if we can stop him and keep him quiet, we will be well on our way if we can find the net as well.
“Most of their play goes through Morison but Mitchell Cole being suspended is a bonus as well because he would have been another threat.”
Despite being defeated on his last visit to Wembley, Russell has also told his team-mates to expect an awe-inspiring day.
He said: “Playing there is still the best experience of my career. It’s a brilliant, huge stadium and the best any of us at this level will ever play in.
“There were 50,000 there for the first final. It was unbelievable and a bit overwhelming after the build-up to the game.”
Russell played a peripheral part during City’s Blue Square Premier run-in, ending a sequence of 13 games without a start in a makeshift team during the dead-rubber fixture that concluded the campaign at Lewes.
He admits to a disappointing first season at KitKat Crescent having joined the club for a small fee in September but believes a lack of opportunities in his preferred position on the right wing might have contributed to his lack of form.
Adam Smith, his rival for a place on that flank, is cup-tied on Saturday but Russell is not over-confident of a call-up with a switch back to the wing-less 4-3-3 formation also a possibility.
The Hull-born wide man said: “I know I’ve not had a great season so it’s difficult to expect to be picked especially as I wasn’t even involved on the bench during the last few games which is a shame when such a big game is coming up.
“Nobody has been more disappointed with my form than myself but it’s not been for the want of trying.
“It’s been hard because you get judged and I feel I’ve played out of position for the majority of my time at York. I’ve never played left wing so much in my life and only played there the odd time at Kidderminster when somebody was injured.
“All I can do, though, is work hard over the summer to get fit and the new season will hopefully represent a new start.”