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Monday, February 27, 2006

Further Match Reports & Comments re Sheffield United 2 QPR 3

-Guardian -Blades barred but Rangers run riotMike Anstead at Bramall LaneMonday February 27, 2006The Guardian
Neil Warnock has asked Sheffield United's fans to unite as the club pursues Premiership football. The manager's promotion plan now includes a pub ban on his players, invoked after Alan Quinn's alleged brawl with a Sheffield Wednesday fan over a game of pool in The Pheasant a day after United's derby win last weekend.The former Wednesday midfielder avoided being fined two weeks' wages despite being arrested and bailed until April pending further inquiries but Warnock and United's fans are now on pub-watch.The players won't be going in any pubs until the end of the season. We can't let anything detract from what we want to do," the United manager said. "If anybody sees any of my lads in any pubs between now and the end of the season, I'd love them to let me know so I can get a couple of weeks' wages off the players."Asked if there was now an alcohol ban, Warnock joked: "No, they can get pissed at home if they want."United's hold on the second automatic promotion place is being watered down and this defeat means Watford are now just seven points behind. Supporters are craving for a return to the Premiership after an extended spell of underachievement and frustrations were again aired at Bramall Lane."You've got to be a little bit patient but the fans are so frustrated being where they are for so many years. It's easy to criticise but the fans don't think what damage it does to certain players," said Warnock, who is favouring a calmer approach. "It wasn't a time for throwing teacups after the game. Everyone was disappointed and it should hurt. It's not a teacup time at the moment but I'm sure by the end of the season there might be the odd one."Warnock and his opposite number, QPR's caretaker manager Gary Waddock, agreed that the game's turning point was Paul Jones's save from Paul Ifill's penalty at the start of the second half when the hosts were leading 2-1. Had Ifill scored, United would have undoubtedly gone on to win but the agility of the 38-year-old Jones inspired Rangers to an unlikely victory. The visitors were soon level when Chris Morgan edged Marc Nygaard's header into his own goal.It was hardly a day of celebration for the United captain, who was making his 100th league start for the club. Morgan was later outwitted by Paul Furlong, who drove home the winner from 10 yards."No one gave us a chance coming up here. It should have been about 5-3 to us," said the Rangers midfielder Marc Bircham, and he was right. Bircham's own-goal straight from Chris Armstrong's corner ensured United led at half-time after Ade Akinbiyi's glancing header had cancelled out Nygaard's fortunate opener.
Bircham heads a group of leading Rangers players eager to see Waddock and his caretaker assistant Alan McDonald installed on a permanent basis once the chairman, Gianni Paladini, comes to an agreement with Ian Holloway, who is currently on "gardening leave" after applying for the vacancy at Leicester City.
Having stuck posters of his temporary management team on his wall as a young boy, Bircham, a lifelong QPR fan, is looking no further for Holloway's replacement. "You can't get two more QPR people than Gary Waddock and Alan McDonald. I've been watching them for years," Bircham said, his eyes lighting up at the mere thought of working with men he once attempted to imitate in the playground."Wadds was probably my first hero at QPR with his auburn barnet. He was Rangers through and through, and Macca was there for 12 years as a professional. Whatever they say is gospel. If Wadds got the job I think everyone in the dressing room would be happy."Waddock, 43, will be offered - and gladly accept - his first permanent manager's job at the end of the season should results like this continue.
Warnock has 20 years of managerial experience and would no doubt offer a few wise words for one so new to the game, just maybe not over a pint and a game of pool in his South Yorkshire local.
Man of the match Paddy KennyThe Republic of Ireland goalkeeper saved his side from a heavier defeat with a series of quality saves as the weakened United defence was cut apart by QPR's rampant forwards. Best moment Soaring full stretch to his left, he palmed away Lee Cook's curling free-kick, destined for the top corner, towards the end of the first-half when United were ahead. http://football.guardian.co.uk/Match_Report/0,,1718786,00.html

THE TIMES Waddock offers food for thoughtBy Phil
IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY that Ian Holloway would have actually spent Saturday afternoon digging over his flower beds or pottering around the shed as his “gardening leave” from Queens Park Rangers stretched into another week. But if he was anywhere near a radio providing commentary from Bramall Lane, he will now know that there is more chance of him having a gold medal-winning entry at the Chelsea Flower Show than returning to the manager’s post at Loftus Road.On the evidence of a second win in his absence, QPR have already moved on and there can be no going back regardless of whether he makes peace with Gianni Paladini, the chairman.Paladini could have by now been ruing his controversial decision a fortnight ago to remove Holloway from his job of the past six years after he apparently showed an interest in moving to Leicester City. But Gary Waddock, the caretaker manager, has ensured that the uncertainty away from the pitch has not distracted the players. Indeed, the apparent ease with which they have coped with the loss of Holloway could appear almost indecent.
Marc Bircham would seem to represent a consensus of opinion from within the dressing-room. “Everybody loved Ian Holloway,” the midfield player said. “It was the weirdest feeling when he stepped down. I wanted to feel disappointed, but then I was excited because Gary Waddock has come in.“Gary is a fantastic coach. He was my first hero when I started watching QPR. He has done a great job so far and we think he is more than capable of doing well if he gets the job on a full-time basis.“Ian is officially on gardening leave, but I think we all know he is not coming back because of the way he left a couple of weeks ago. He has, though, left a legacy after six brilliant years at the club.”
A few more battling victories such as this and Waddock could yet be leading QPR into the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs. Waddock, however, prefers not to look beyond the next game. “I will just do what I can until a decision is made,” he said. “I am working on a game-to-game basis. I am enjoying every moment of it, though. I joined this club when I was 13 and have played at every level for them. So it is magnificent to be the caretaker manager.”United, who started the game ten points clear in second place but are now anxiously casting a glance at Watford and Leeds United, were stunned when the pace of Marc Nygaard, the QPR striker, led to them conceding after six minutes.Nygaard looked ungainly as he bore down on Paddy Kenny in the United goal, but was composed enough to shake off the challenge of two home defenders before rounding the goalkeeper.Ade Akinbiyi scored his first goal at Bramall Lane since completing a £1.75 million transfer from Burnley with a back-header in the 21st minute. Eight minutes later they were ahead through Bircham’s own goal from a corner and United, with only one win from the past five matches, would possibly have secured maximum points had Paul Ifill’s weak penalty not been saved by Paul Jones.United wilted and conceded an equaliser seven minutes later when Chris Morgan turned the ball into the roof of his own net from a punt by Lee Cook into the six-yard box.QPR secured the win 16 minutes from time when Paul Furlong completed a torrid second half for Morgan by turning him with ease before guiding a left-footed shot beyond Kennyhttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,435-2060103,00.html

INDEPENDENTWarnock imposes promotion pub watch By Jon Culley
Published: 27 February 2006Sheffield United's players have had better weekends. As if a second home defeat in three games were not enough, encouraging Watford and Leeds to believe they might yet deprive them of automatic promotion, they have also had to stomach the news that if they are spotted drinking in public between now and the end of April they will be fined two weeks' wages.What is more, manager Neil Warnock is encouraging United fans to "shop" their heroes if they see them flouting the ban.It follows a disturbance in a public house the day after United won the Sheffield derby the previous weekend in the wake of which United's former Wednesday midfielder Alan Quinn was arrested.Warnock said that Quinn, who is currently out of the side through injury, will be cleared of any wrongdoing and therefore escape disciplinary action. But he is so determined that nothing will undermine United's Premiership ambitions Warnock will not allow his players into a pub even for a soft drink."I've spoken to a number of people about the incident and Alan is in the clear as far as I am concerned, even though going into a Wednesday pub was not the brightest thing to do the day after the derby," Warnock said. "But none of my players will be going into a pub between now and the end of the season because you can get into trouble even if you are only drinking orange juice."We cannot let anything detract from what we want to do," he added, "and I'll tell the fans in my programme notes for the game against Crewe next Friday that if they see one of my players in a pub I'd love them to let me know."Meanwhile, Warnock will tell his players that the Crewe game is their opportunity to right the wrongs committed on the field on Saturday, when United recovered from the loss of an early goal to lead 2-1 at half-time but then missed a penalty before allowing managerless Queen's Park Rangers to record their first away win of 2006.The result loosens his side's grip on second place to the extent that Watford are now within seven points of catching them. Leeds, due at Bramall Lane in April, are a further point adrift with a game in hand."After we missed the penalty a few heads went down and we are not used to that," Warnock said. "It is now about how we bounce back."Marc Nygaard had put Rangers ahead but Ade Akinbiyi equalised before a Marc Bircham own goal gave United the lead. Had Paul Ifill's spot-kick early in the second half not been saved by Paul Jones, United might have taken a stranglehold. Instead, Chris Morgan put through his own net to bring Rangers level and the 37-year-old Paul Furlong ran on to the excellent Lee Cook's pass to clinch victory."We deserved the result although the penalty was a turning point," QPR's stand-in manager, Gary Waddock, said..http://sport.independent.co.uk/football/coca_cola/article347984.ece

TELEGRAPH -Sheffield steel starting to lose its edge
By Peter Gardner (Filed: 27/02/2006)Gary Waddock, the caretaker manager of Queens Park Rangers, enhanced his prospects of securing the position on a permanent basis with a surprise, but richly deserved, victory that left Sheffield United anxiously eyeing the two clubs immediately below them.Watford and Leeds are seven and eight points, respectively, behind Neil Warnock's team, and Leeds in particular have a realistic opportunity to overhaul them because they have a game in hand and have still to visit Bramall Lane.Sheffield are enduring an inconsistent period, particularly at home where they have taken just one point from the last three matches. Indeed, apart from the victories over neighbouring Wednesday and equally struggling Derby, United have suffered an indifferent February.It has left their supporters more than a little disgruntled and many expressed their dissatisfaction as Rangers became the first team this season to secure a double over United.However, Warnock remained bullish. He said: "Whatever points we have at this moment with 10 games to go, we would have been absolutely delighted to be in that position before the season started. What is important now is how we cope and respond."Like me, the fans are frustrated. But sometimes they don't realise the damage it does to certain players who started to get rid of the ball earlier than they otherwise would have done."Paul Ifill was a particular target for abuse, doubtless because of his 50th-minute penalty miss - Paul Jones saved after Ian Evatt had fouled Chris Morgan - which proved the defining moment. It would have put United 3-1 ahead and Warnock said: "Heads dropped after that."
Penalties are a rarity for United whose previous one came in the opening game, although Warnock refused to blame Ifill for the miss."It can happen to anyone. We don't get many penalties and that's why we were out of practice," Warnock added.Nevertheless, United might have lost more emphatically as Rangers created to greater effect in the second half. Veteran Paul Furlong struck the crossbar and substitute Sammy Youssof scorned an even better opportunity when one-on-one with home goalkeeper Paddy Kenny who had earlier denied Furlong and Lee Cook.Marc Nygaard's fifth-minute opener was followed by an Ade Akinbiyi headed equaliser before Marc Bircham's own goal put United ahead. A further own goal by Morgan levelled for Rangers whose superiority was confirmed by Furlong.
Bircham, although backing Waddock for the full-time job, was critical of the way Ian Holloway had been removed from the position three weeks ago.Bircham said: "If 'Wads' got the job, I think everyone in that dressing room would be happy."They say Olly's on gardening leave but all of us know he isn't really coming back. The way it happened, that was the only disappointment. If he's going to leave, then it should be done properly. Whatever happens, he's left a legacy at the club."

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