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Impossible mission: Paulsgrove lad and ex-Portsmouth, Stoke and Leicester man challenged with transforming Football League's worst team

Paulsgrove lad and ex-Pompey striker Kevin Russell has been challenged with transforming Cheltenham. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images
Paulsgrove lad and ex-Pompey striker Kevin Russell has been challenged with transforming Cheltenham. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Assistant boss Kevin Russell has stepped up to serve as Cheltenham’s caretaker manager following Wade Elliott’s dismissal on Wednesday afternoon.

The move was taken with the Robins bottom of League One, having taken just one point from their opening eight league matches – the worst record of any team in the Football League.

That sole point was against Pompey in last month’s goalless draw at Fratton Park on a frustrating afternoon for the Blues.

Cheltenham have also failed to score in League One so far, with their only goal in 10 matches overall coming against Bristol Rovers in the EFL Trophy – and that was an own goal.

That has prompted the strugglers to act, turning to ex-Leicester, Stoke and Wrexham man Russell, who also made eight appearances for Pompey as a striker.

Albeit it appears to be an impossible job for the 56-year-old, whose appointment on a temporary basis includes Saturday’s visit of high-flying Stevenage.

Hailing from Paulsgrove, Russell would end up representing his home-town club after leaving Brighton in 1984.

Having fallen out with Seagulls boss Chris Cattlin after one year as an apprentice, he moved to Fratton Park to complete his scholarship and later graduated into the first-team.

Alan Ball handed him a debut in September 1985, starting a 4-1 win in the Full Members Cup against Charlton.

The forward would then make his league debut in May 1986 after coming off the bench in a 4-0 triumph over Bradford on the final day of the campaign.

Russell, who featured for England under-18s during his time at Fratton Park, would total eight outings, four of which arrived in Division Two, before leaving in the summer of 1987.

Informed by Ball that the youngster needed regular first-team football, he was sold to Wrexham for £10,000, ending a three-year stay.

Russell would go on to enjoy a fine Football League career, turning out for Wrexham (two spells), Leicester City, Peterborough, Cardiff, Hereford, Stoke, Burnley, Bournemouth and Notts County.

After becoming a coach, he spent nine years at Stoke, before joining Elliott at Cheltenham in the summer.

Now he has been challenged with reinvigorating the League One strugglers.