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Benitez Makes More Changes – Hires New Striker Coach

12:28 pm, Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 31 Comments

News today that Rafa Benitez has hired 35 year-old striker coach Allan Russell to try to get the best out of Aleksandar Mitrovic and the other strikers, who are finding it hard to score goals this season.

Russell is a former St Mirren and Kilmarnock striker and he started coaching Mitrovic late last week and with his great equalizer against Sunderland those sessions may be paying off already.

If Mitro can keep scoring, then his goals could be huge for Newcastle.

Russell is also the former Carolina RailHawks player here in Cary, North Carolina – just outside Raleigh – where he played from 2010-2011.

allan russell

Allan Russell – striker coach at Newcastle

After Mitro’s late goal on Sunday Russell tweeted:

This is what Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has said about Russell joining the coaching staff:

“We have had him (Russell) doing some specific training with the strikers, some finishing sessions.” “We know he (Mitrovic) has the potential.”

“Now we have to give him the confidence to make the difference. He can score goals but he’s not at the moment.”

“I have watched him training and know he will score.” “We must give him confidence, movement and tips.” “Maybe he can improve his game.”

It looks like the first training session with Russell was on March 18th – last Friday.

This looks like yet another very good move by the Newcastle manager.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Aleksandar Mitrovic · Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Prayer · Premier League

31 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tsunki // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    They look a lot like Norwich defenders…

  • 2 G // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:31 PM

    Happy with anybody who can help him score, or indeed any of our players.

  • 3 AncientC // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    Gabriel Batistuta would have been a more encouraging sign…

  • 4 MadisonToon // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:41 PM

    Norwich is not essentially 4 points away from us. If we beat Norwich by two goals that puts us even with them on points and on goal difference (both -24 then) but they’d edge us with one more goal scored (currently 3 above us) so they’d be ahead by the slimmest of margins. If we win by a single goal we’ll be two down on goal differential and 2 down on total goals scored. None of this discussion really matters right now, but we are not as far away from them as Ed suggested a few posts ago.

    A win against Norwich and we are in an excellent position for survival. Not an excellent position given our squad or where we should be or anything else, but likely to survive. We just need those 3 points.

  • 5 Average_Contents // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:44 PM


    That’s the tweet I mentioned the other day.

  • 6 Hail Wor Ashley // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:45 PM

    Carolina Railhawks flop on board to mentor PL flop.

  • 7 Blackley and Brownlie // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    I’ve not followed the 21s. I’m not sure about Heardman having a brother. Longstaff does. Matty. A little lad. Looked decent the one time I saw him.

  • 8 Lee Charnley Bunga Party // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    See Obertan might be fit again ?!

    Put him on the right wing and put Townsend on the left and just get them raining in crosses for Wijnaldum and Mitrovic !

    Got to work surely??!?!!?! No?!?

  • 9 Blackley and Brownlie // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Heaney is incredibly strong for a little lad. He’s still very young so its hard to tell which way he’ll go. He needs to work hard and develop his weaker foot IMO. He’s certainly in the box seat among his age group.

  • 10 Hail Wor Ashley // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:51 PM


    We have a squad of bottlers, we will not win against Norwich. It’s crunch time and they’ve shown resolve the last few weeks, even with the installation of a 5* manager, our lot haven’t rallied. 10 or 20 mins per the odd match isn’t enough. Equal parts lack of talent, not caring and lack of bottle.

  • 11 Average_Contents // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Could of been longstaff with the brother then.

    I thought you went to 18’s and 21’s games now and again.

    Must of been someone else.

  • 12 Toon Tang // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    Alan who? Ex St. Mirren striker you say.


  • 13 Toon Tang // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    The goals will start gushing now I hope.

  • 14 Jail for Ashley // Mar 23, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    Stop your whining, you have continually stuck your head in the sand over what a tw@t our owner is and slating people who have complained about second rate lower league managers being employed. We have a top manager now and need people to get behind him and the team so shut your cake hole!!!

  • 15 Rotonda heights // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:02 PM


    That’s the spirit. Jeez were SAF or Mourinho ever great players!!

  • 16 G // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    Agree about the right foot bandb, but I think hes just about there. Could do with a loan to League 1 or 2 club, and see what happens. I think regular competative football will do the trick for him.

  • 17 Wayayman // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    For anyone doubting this striking coach’s ability, check him out before passing judgement. He might not have played elite level football but there are a ton of elite coaches who didn’t either. He’s developed striker-specific coaching, and can strike a ball wit both feet as well as anyone i’ve seen.

  • 18 Jib // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    Allan Russell’s last club after Carolina was Orange County Blues.
    Guess who their technical director is ?

  • 19 Toon Tang // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Cheers for the info wayayman. You might as well have addressed it to me as Im the only one who hasnt heard of him buy the looks of things. Will check the vid now.

  • 20 Novocastrian66 // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:12 PM

    Specialised training, well fancy that. What a novel idea.

  • 21 Toon Tang // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    Ive checked the vids. Sweet striker of the ball plus he only looks about 30. Why don’t we stick him up top for a few games??

  • 22 Toon Tang // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Bazza Venison looks shocking without his Pat Sharp hairpiece on. What the bloody hells he doing like

  • 23 firebug666 // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:18 PM

    Toon Tang

    Just watched the video and was thinking the same thing, shame we couldn’t get him signed up.

  • 24 Toon Tang // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    firebug, even if he’s slow and lost yards with age, stick someone nippy by him and tell them to give him the ball. he’ll do the rest eh.

    Whats the worst that can happen haha

  • 25 firebug666 // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Toon Tang

    If Mitrovic can learn from him along with some of our other strikers that would do for me. It’s all about our players keeping their concentration and movement off the ball.

    Hope he can have an effect.

  • 26 WWSBRD // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Worrying that it’s taken this long to get Mitrovic and the rest some help but better late then never I suppose

  • 27 Tsunki // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Hail I think it’s more down to lack of suitability although confidence makes up a lot of shortfall. I’m all for being a doom and gloomer and I feel it’s almost certainly we will go down, but there is still the unfathomable benefit of encouragement through support. I reserve my ire for the incompetent dabblers at the top who’ve hobbled this club by playing at in-the-know corporate boffins.

  • 28 Novocastrian66 // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    The key part of those drills is the first movement to throw the defender which allows the attacker to get the shot away.
    Good drills, but they take time to master. Well for nuggets they do. Mitro should be able to pick it up fairly quickly.

  • 29 Hail Wor Ashley // Mar 23, 2016 at 1:32 PM


    They weren’t poor STs specialising in helping misfiring average STs.


    I’m sure all those top corner cross bar and in shots were first takes. Even if they were, you’re impressed by that video, him taking a half-step and ‘shifting’ a static plastic defender? 😆


    Nah, it’s quickly become apparent that the players are the core problem. No Rafa lift for this lot. There’d be no Fergy lift, no Mourinho lift. The fools are those that thought Ashley presided over every little detail of the club with malevolent intent – like you did. Finances fine, he’s just not very good at the football side of owning a football club malarkey, that’s all, said as much himself. Only one with their head in the sand on any number of topics pertaining to NUFC is you.

  • 30 lesh // Mar 24, 2016 at 12:01 AM

    Having suggested on a couple of occasions that when going to head a ball, Mitro’s jump timing seemed wrong – jumping too early and skying his headers.

    The goal he scored on Saturday saw Mitro ‘hanging in the air’ before heading the equaliser. ‘Hanging in the air’ were Shearer’s words on MoTD.

    If Mitro’s timing has improved so suddenly, then Russel’s earned his wages already!

    In the short time he’s been with us, Rafa seems to be going through the Club’s footballing side at a rate of knots. Hopefully he’ll be working on some boardroom changes too.

  • 31 lesh // Mar 24, 2016 at 12:04 AM


    Those defenders are ours, two of Carr’s recent but quiet signings this summer – a couple for the future.

    In Carr we trust!!

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