James Russell ready to help hometown club after ‘easy decision’ to sign for St Albans City

James Russell, together with Ben Herd, are two of the new signings at Clarence Park. Picture: BOB WA

James Russell, together with Ben Herd, are two of the new signings at Clarence Park. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

James Russell has explained why it was an “easy decision” to swap Boreham Wood for St Albans City.

Work commitments as well as the fact City are his hometown club made the goalkeeper’s decision to drop down a division from the National League a simple choice.

He said: “It was quite an easy decision to make with my work commitments and knowing Ian and some of the boys as I do.

“I coach the young goalkeepers at Chelsea and that’s a full-time role during the day.

“When Boreham Wood went full-time with their training programme, it meant I couldn’t commit to training and I didn’t feel it was right to stay somewhere I wasn’t as committed as the other players.

“Coming to a club where we train evenings and I know I’m doing the same as every other player, makes it a lot easier.

“And I’m a local boy as well. I was born in Welwyn Garden City but I live between Harpenden and St Albans.

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“I used to come here as a kid with my old man and watch them when Lee Clark was up front and Gareth Howells was in goal.

“Hopefully I can help push the club on to where they want to be.”

The 28-year-old believes the club could do well this year but is wary off over-complacence.

“It’s a good group,” he added. “It’s got a lot of the core players that were here last year and did so well at the end of the season. That’s really important.

“But it’s so hard to say [how we’ll do]. I’ve seen National South for so many years that I know you can have a flying pre-season and think you’re going to challenge, then like Havant did last year you’re out of the league after having thought you were favourites to go up.

“I think we’ve got a good group and good characters which I think is as important as having good players on paper.

“I think we’ve got a good chance but we’ll see.”

Russell has made a solid start to his Saints’ career, keeping three clean sheets, with the latest being against his former club on Saturday, which was a strange experience for him.

He said: “That’s the first time I’ve played against one of my former sides so it was a bit weird to have them hammer me from behind the goal for 90 minutes.

“I had a really good time there but now it’s a new challenge and one I’m really excited for.”