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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Holloway's Return

The Sun/Gary Payne - It's time to make Olly jolly
DAVE NORRIS admits Plymouth are desperate to put a smile on boss Ian Holloway’s face — by getting revenge on QPR for sacking him.

Madcap Plymouth manager Holloway returns to Loftus Road today for the first time since getting the boot a year ago.

He was put on gardening leave by Rangers supremos then finally axed following rumours Leicester wanted to poach him.

But midfield ace Norris reckons Olly will get the last laugh — by leading the Pilgrims to the play-offs.

Norris, 26, said: “Obviously the players are aware of the situation Olly had at QPR but he’s not made a thing out of it.

“He wants to keep us focused on the game rather than what happened in the past.

“He was out of the game for a little while and that must really have hurt him.

“But knowing what it means to him I’m sure the boys

want to put in a massive performance and come away with a win.

“He’s been superb since taking over here, although he’s a madman!

“When we started pre-season, we didn’t have a manager, we didn’t have anything set up. It was chaos.

“But he came in and stabilised it all and also brought a bit of fun back to the club.

“So the players would do anything for him.

“To be honest I think he’d be happier that a win would put us in a with a chance of the play-offs.

“If you get a little run together then there’s a good chance of creeping into the play-offs because the way the Championship is, any team can beat anyone.”

Norris insists Argyle’s main priority is promotion to the Premiership — despite their amazing FA Cup exploits.

The Pilgrims face Watford in the quarter-finals following a thrilling win over Championship pacesetters Derby.

But Norris added: “The Cup has been a great distraction and has certainly helped with confidence.

“But the gaffer has banned any talk of the quarter-finals because the league has to be the top priority for everyone here.
“We would like to think we could play in the Premiership one day.” The Sun

The TIMES/Aidan Magee - February 24, 2007
Holloway returns to his old haunt

Ian Holloway could have good reason to believe that Queens Park Rangers have gone backwards since he left the club 12 months ago. The Plymouth Argyle manager returns to Loftus Road today for the first time since he was placed on “gardening leave” by Gianni Paladini, the chairman.

QPR have taken only 45 points from 47 games since Holloway ended his five-year spell in charge a year ago, figures that would have led to relegation from the Coca-Cola Championship in each of the past ten seasons. Holloway took over at QPR in 2001, shortly before the club went into administration and were relegated. However, he led them to promotion from League One three years later and has now taken Plymouth to the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1984.

Holloway insists that he has no problem with Paladini, but is still angry at remarks made by Gary Waddock, his successor. “I had a problem with Waddock, but not so much with Gianni,” he said. “I just wish I had been given a bit more time at Rangers. When I left we were on 39 points with 15 games to go. There were teams relegated on that many points.

“Do I expect to be given an ovation? No. The fans will do whatever they’ve got to do. But they were mostly magnificent for the five years I was there.”

QPR fans had planned a demonstration against Paladini and his board to coincide with the return of Holloway and Kevin Gallen, the forward, who cannot play under the terms of his loan agreement. But the independent Loyal Supporters Association has called off the protest because it does not want to destabilise the club. The Times

Ian holloway has insisted that picking up three points is all that matters when Plymouth Argyle play his former club Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road tomorrow (3pm).It will be the first time Holloway has been back to the west London club since taking over as the Pilgrims' boss last June.
The 43-year-old was QPR manager until last February when he was controversially suspended - or put on 'gardening leave'.

Rangers' chairman Gianni Paladini claimed he had acted because Holloway had expressed an interest in the then vacancy at Leicester City.

Now, 12 months on, Holloway has taken Argyle to 11th position in the Championship and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

QPR, meanwhile, are now managed by John Gregory after the sacking of Holloway's predecessor Gary Waddock earlier in the season.

Rangers are 21st in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone.

Much of the pre-match build-up has been about Holloway's return to Loftus Road, but he was adamant the result was all that concerned him.

Holloway said: "I don't know how I will feel. The three points are all that matters.

"I'm very proud to be taking my new team there and I shall be trying to win the game with the same passion that I used to try to win for them.

"I'm desperate for three points and I shall be doing all I can to get them.

"If I do see some of the wonderful people that were there, that will be a bonus. But I want to get off the bus, do my job, and get back on the bus with three points in the bag.

"That's how I feel. It's as simple as that."

Holloway has not only managed QPR, leading them to promotion in the 2003/04 season, but he played 171 games for them over a five-year period until 1996.

Argyle coaches Tim Breacker and Des Bulpin are also returning to QPR for the first time after they followed Holloway to Home Park.

Considering his long association with Rangers, it would be a surprise if Holloway did not receive a warm welcome from their fans.

But he said: "I'm not expecting anything and I'm not hoping for anything. They will give me whatever they think I deserve, and that's life.

"I will ignore it and get on with whatever I'm doing anyway because it's a total distraction one way or the other.

"It's what I think that matters - not what anyone else thinks."

Then in his own inimitable style, Holloway compared his situation to being a fish.

He said: "I haven't been feeling that well this week and on Wednesday night I was having a cup of cocoa.

"I was thinking that being a football manager is like being a fish.

"One minute you are in a tank, and your tank is everything. Then you find yourself flushed down the toilet and you don't know where you are.

"It's really weird, because to a fish that tank must be everything.

"All of a sudden, when you are thrown out, you are still swimming but you can't get back in your tank. It's horrible.

"I have had to experience that. I have had it at Bristol Rovers, where I cared so much and I thought the world would stop if I was out of my tank, but you still keep swimming, don't you?

"Now I'm in another tank and you have to adjust. It's really, really strange I have to say."

Holloway insisted he would not have a problem with meeting Paladini either before or after the game against QPR. "I haven't got a nasty bone in my body," he said.

QPR need maximum points tomorrow to ease their relegation fears but Holloway added: "It doesn't matter to me where they are.

"What matters is us needing three points, them needing three points and, hopefully, my team will be better than theirs.

"I'm very optimistic it will go our way if we keep doing what we have been doing..." This is Plymouth

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