A January 2012 signing from Darlington, Sam Russell has developed a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers to represent the club and now has over 100 league appearances to his name in a Forest Green jersey.
The popular keeper moved to The New Lawn on a two-and-a-half year deal after leaving the now defunct Darlington during the financial troubles that blighted their final months of existence.
His impressive handling, shot-stopping and kicking has earmarked him as among the Vanarama Conference’s top goalkeepers.
He began his career as a teenager at hometown club Middlesbrough where he worked alongside Australia international duo Mark Schwarzer and Brad Jones in the goalkeeping department.
He then gained vital experience in a number of loan spells. He spent time on loan with Gateshead and had his first taste of life at Darlington in a brief loan spell. An additional loan period in the Football League at Scunthorpe United handed Russell big game experience.
He eventually left Middlesbrough, making a permanent switch to Darlington, and he seized the opportunity of first team football with both hands.
After three seasons at Darlington Russell made the switch to Rochdale where he featured for the Spotland club for two seasons.
A move into non-league circles followed with a move to Wrexham. Russell spent one year at the Racecourse Ground but returned to Darlington, who were also now a non-league side, for a final spell at the club.
He helped them to a FA Trophy final win at Wembley over Mansfield Town but as financial problems struck he made the move to The New Lawn and hasn’t looked back since.
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