Football: City hope to turn the tide with Russell

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Frank Clark, the Manchester City manager, is hoping that his new signing, Craig Russell, can help turn around his side's poor start to the season.

The 23-year old striker, signed in a pounds 1m deal from Sunderland that saw Nicky Summerbee go in the other direction, should go straight into Clark's team, who travel to Sheffield United today.

City are two places from the foot of the First Division and were beaten 1-0 at home last week by the bottom side, Huddersfield, but Russell is confident about the future under Clark.

"I have complete faith in Frank - he is a top-quality manager," Russell said. "I'm just desperate to play football and this club are not going to be down the bottom of the table for long."

Sheffield United, fourth in the First Division but only five points behind the leaders Swindon with three games in hand, will play Simon Tracey in goal in place of Alan Kelly, who is on international duty with the Republic of Ireland in Belgium.

Swindon travel to Stockport with a three-point cushion at the top of the table. They have been reinforced by Brian Borrows, signed from Coventry on a free transfer after a successful two-month loan spell. Stockport are without their Canadian, Martin Nash, who is on international duty.

Nottingham Forest play at home to Birmingham, who will play Tony Cottee for the first time since the former West Ham striker joined on loan from Leicester. The Birmingham defender Darren Wassall will miss the game with his former club due to suspension.

The Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, yesterday asked the England coach, Glenn Hoddle, to release Paul Merson for today's game at Norwich if he is not involved against Cameroon. Robson is already without three internationals for the visit to Carrow Road, with Andy Townsend captaining Ireland in Belgium and Anthony Ormerod and Andrew Campbell with the England Under-18 squad playing Russia at Crewe last night.

Ipswich will give a debut to the former Manchester United youth team striker David Johnson at Wolves after signing the 21-year-old from Bury in a pounds 1m deal which saw the centre-back Chris Swailes and pounds 800,000 go to Gigg Lane.

Johnson will not have an easy debut at Molineux, despite having scored there for Bury earlier in the season. Mark McGhee's team are unbeaten at home so far this season and will be boosted by the return of the midfielders Simon Osborn and Michael Gilkes after injuries.

Queen's Park Rangers' caretaker manager, John Hollins, takes charge for the first time since the departure of Stewart Houston. Karl Ready, Nigel Quashie and Jurgen Sommer all miss the home game against Stoke because of international duty, while Kevin Gallen has a slight hamstring worry.

John McGinlay makes his home debut for Bradford against Tranmere, while the Bradford manager, Chris Kamara, expects Peter Beagrie (calf strain), Wayne Jacobs (bruised foot) and Eddie Youds (groin strain) to be fit. The Tranmere player-manager, John Aldridge, could deputise for his Republic of Ireland striker, David Kelly.