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Rovers' Russell to become Clitheroe's Charlie

Charlie Russell faces a unique challenge on Thursday night as he aims to defeat his own colleagues in a bid to impress his new team mates!

18 July 2019

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Charlie Russell faces a unique challenge on Thursday night as he aims to defeat his own colleagues in a bid to impress his new team mates!

By day, he's an education and sports tutor at Blackburn Rovers Sports College - operated by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust - where he coaches the football element of the BTEC in Sport programme offered to teenage students at Ewood Park.

During evenings and weekends however, he dons a different crest, having just re-signed for second spell with Clitheroe FC, who host Rovers U23s in their latest outing of an already fruitful pre-season.

The midfielder - who at just 23 years old already boasts considerable experience in the National League North and the Northern Premier League thanks to spells with the likes of Stockport County and Lancaster City - has also represented the English Schools FA U18 side and was on Rovers' books as a youngster.

His professionalism on all levels means that there will be no question as to who he'll be striving to succeed for, once he has swapped one club's kit for another around 5pm on matchday, and he jokes that he just hopes to keep the pace against a side that is likely to be entirely made up of full-time professionals.

"I think I'll be lucky to last 90 minutes against some of those boys," he quipped, in anticipation of an intriguing evening of pre-season action.

"If I can nick a goal I'll be happy, because then I can get all my colleagues back for all the stick they've been giving me all week!

"I've had some good success in pre-season in the past, including a hat-trick against a Stockport XI, which was nice, but somehow I don't think I'll be doing that again on Thursday night."

Russell returned to action with Clitheroe during a 4-0 success at Nelson last Saturday and hopes that their new-look squad will be among the forces to watch out for in the first season of the recently re-branded Bet Victor Northern Premier League North West Division.

He added: "I had a spell at Clitheroe when I was a younger lad, around the age of 19 and 20, and I had a lot of joy there really. I played 50-odd games and scored six goals, which is not too bad from midfield.

"I'm back there now under Phil Brown, who I worked with at Lancaster, and I think it should be a successful year. I'm hoping for a good one for me personally and for the team as well."

Fans of a certain generation may appreciate Charlie's football heritage, with his grandfather Malcolm Russell being a renowned full-back for Halifax Town, Southport, Barrow and Stockport during their Football League days in the 1960s and 1970s, while his father Mark was part of the Sheffield United youth team.

Any youngsters looking for a post high school opportunity to combine education with sport should look no further than Blackburn Rovers Sports College, where Charlie will be among their tutors and coaches on the BTEC in Sport programme.

Please click here for more information regarding enrolment onto the Trust's post-16 educational opportunities.

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