craig russell

Player of the Day: Craig Russell

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Local lad in today's spotlight

South Shields born forward Craig Russell made 174 appearances for his boyhood club in a spell which spanned six years on Wearside.

Russell progressed through the youth ranks after starring for South Tyneside boys and signed professional terms with the Black Cats despite interest from Manchester United.

He made his debut as a 17-year-old in a 3-1 victory over Watford at Roker Park and made three further first-team appearances.

Opportunities remained limited for Russell during the 1992-93 season as he made just the sole substitute appearance ina  4-1 win over Portsmouth at Roker Park.

Russell’s big breakthrough season came in 1993-94 as he made 40 appearances under Terry Butcher and Mick Buxton as the Black Cats finished 12th in Division Two.

He also notched up nine goals during that campaign; his first was a winner in a 2-1 victory over Millwall at Roker Park.

In the 1994-95 season Russell added 43 appearances to his Black Cats tally, scoring seven goals, including a brace in a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough in a Tees-Wear derby at Ayresome Park.

Russell starred during the following season as Peter Reid’s side secured promotion to the top-flight; he made 47 appearances in all competitions, scoring 14 goals, four of which came in a 6-0 drubbing of Millwall at Roker Park.

The Shields-born striker added 34 appearances during this first Premiership campaign, scoring in wins over both Chelsea and Everton; however increased competition for places forced him to leave at the beginning of the following season after relegation from the top-flight.

Russell joined Manchester City in a move which involved Nicky Summerbee moving the other way.

Whilst with City, Russell spent time on loan at Tranmere Rovers, Port Vale, Darlington, Oxford United and St. Johnstone before moving to the Saints permanently.

After two years in Scotland, he joined Carlisle United and then Darlington before hanging up his boots in 2005.