SAM RUSSELL was gutted to say his goodbyes at the McAlpine this week.
No sooner had the 21-year-old got his feet under the table, ready to sign a one-month loan deal from Middlesbrough, he was packing his bags and heading north.
He suffered a troublesome thigh injury in the Reserves' 4-2 defeat by Preston at Bamber Bridge and was forced off after 61 minutes.
It was 3-1 to Preston when Russell - who played 12 League games on loan for Scunthorpe earlier in the season - decided he couldn't carry on and, instead of preparing to understudy his old mate Phil Senior at Torquay today, he was getting treatment at the Riverside.
"I got to the stage where I was just waiting for my thigh or hamstring to go, so there was no option but to come off," said Russell, who sounds exactly like ex-Town striker Martin Smith.
"It's a sickener because I was really looking forward to signing and getting some more first-team experience under my belt.
"I loved my three months at Scunthorpe and, even though it was a big shock to move from all the facilities at Middlesbrough to having very little at Glanford Park, it was tremendous to be playing regularly in the League.
"The lads there were good and I think they would have liked to have taken me permanently, but they just didn't have the funds when it came to the nitty gritty."
Russell made his League debut on loan at Darlington, having been called up as an emergency loan, but he is now looking for a permanent move from Middlesbrough, where he has played since he was 10.
"There is strong competition in all areas at Boro and, if I'm truthful to myself, I know I'm not going to get offered a new contract with them when mine expires in the summer," he said.
"I am looking to get myself fixed up somewhere and I was excited when I found out Huddersfield were interested, because it's a big club.
"It has helped that I know Phil Senior so well. We went to Lilleshall together, shared rooms and have been good mates ever since. He's a bit mad, but him and Ian Gray have helped me settle in and the other lads have been excellent as well.
"It's just a shame that I've picked up this injury, because I don't think I'm going to be fit for a week or two.
"The manager has asked me to let him know when I'm fully fit again, so we'll have to wait and see what happens then. It's a real shame, because I was looking forward to signing on and travelling down for the games against Torquay and Bristol Rovers."
Russell has been coached by Stephen Pears - a hero since he was a youngster - and by Paul Baron, but his route to the senior ranks under Steve McClaren is blocked by the likes of Mark Schwartzer and Carlo Nash.
"I've been lucky to have top quality coaching and, at my age, I think I'm ready for regular first-team football," he added.