John Russell has been revealed as Liam Buckley’s Assistant Manager at Sligo Rovers.
Russell played for Buckley at St Patrick’s Athletic for the 2012 season as well as the Saints’ league title winning team in 2013.
The 33 year-old also has connections at the Showgrounds having played for the Bit O’Red between 2010 and 2011, winning two FAI Cups in the process before departing and re-joining Rovers in 2014.
In his second spell with Sligo, Russell picked up a Setanta Sports Cup winners medal before leaving once again at the end of the 2017 season.
Upon leaving in 2017 Russell became manager of Westport United while also taking up as a role as Regional Development Officer for the FAI.
After signing his contract which will allow him to function as both a registered player and Assistant Manager, Russell revealed his delight at getting the opportunity to not only re-join the club but also to work with Liam Buckley again.
“I’m delighted to be back and working with Liam Buckley in particular is a great fit for me I think,” Russell told sligorovers.com.
“I’ve been a player under Liam and I always thought he was fantastic and one of, if not the best, I’ve been managed by. His record speaks for itself. He shares the same philosophies I have and instills the style of play I like to see teams have.
“This is just a fantastic opportunity for me and to be back at Sligo Rovers is a nice feeling. I’m looking forward to starting pre-season next month. I’ve played with some of the lads already, I know all of the young players from a coaching capacity in my work with the FAI so it will be good to see everyone soon.”
While insisting that his primary focus is his role as Assistant Manager, Russell did admit he’ll be happy to pull on his boots if needs be come March.
“My role is first and foremost as an assistant and to coach, that’s what I’ve come here for.
“I feel I can contribute if called upon, if there is situation that needs it. I’ve kept myself in good condition. But my focus will be the sideline primarily.”
Sligo boss Buckley took the opportunity to praise his number two’s character having already worked with him in past years.
“I know John very well from St Pat’s and I know what type of character he is,” Buckley told sligorovers.com.
“He is very well-spoken of as a coach and eager to get an opportunity. It was a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. I know he is respected in the region and he’s going to bring so much as a number two. He’ll have fresh ideas and he’ll be a great sounding for me to work with. There’s also the local knowledge as well which will be useful given it’s early stages here for me.”