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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Previewing QPR vs Wolves

QPR at home to Wolves today. Wolves, currently 6th are in a mini-slump (by their standards). Their away record is 2 wins- 5 draws- 3 defeats. (QPR's home record is 2 2 wins - 3 draws - 5 defeats. Table. Wolves Results and Squad. Today is Sinclair's last game for QPR before returning to Chelsea. Adam Bolder and Rowan Vine are suspended. In memory of Jim Langley, QPR will be wearing black armbands today. - Respect for Langley. It's apparently almost a quarter of century (1984) since QPR have beaten Wolves at Loftus Road. Wolves' Jay Bothroyd is a former QPR schoolboy.

Akos Buzsaky and Martin Rowlands will return to the QPR squad for the home clash with Wolves - but Adam Bolder and Rowan Vine miss out.
Buzsaky missed the midweek win at Burnley with a dead leg and fellow midfielder Rowlands sat out due to a one-match ban but both are back to face Mick McCarthy's men.
But skipper Bolder and on-loan Birmingham striker Vine miss out through suspensions having collected five yellow cards.
Sampsa Timoska should also be available following an illness, but fellow centre-half Michael Mancienne is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Dexter Blackstock is in line to start up front while Simon Walton made a late appearance as a substitute at Turf Moor, his first appearance for the club after breaking his leg in the summer, and should be involved again.
Winger Scott Sinclair plays the last game of his one-month loan spell from Chelsea as the Hoops look to record their first home win over Wolves since January 1984.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will be without a trio of first-team players for the trip London.
Midfielder Michael Kightly again misses out with an ankle injury, while the game comes too soon for Jody Craddock (groin).
A knee problem rules out defender Gary Breen but the former Republic of Ireland international is expected to return in time for the busy Christmas schedule.
McCarthy told the club's official website: "Breeny is back in training but isn't quite there yet. I think he should be okay for the Christmas games.
"He spent last week with Tony Daley (fitness coach) but this week he's been back with the squad and doing everything. He's really trained well so we hope he'll be involved soon." Sporting Life

With the saga surrounding boss Mick McCarthy's future finally cleared up, Wolverhampton Wanderers appear to be in a near-perfect position to mount a sprint for promotion in the second half of the campaign.
McCarthy's decision to spurn the advances of the Korean FA in favour of a promotion tilt with Wolves was just the boost the Club needed in the wake of constant speculation linking him to pastures new.
Wanderers Chief Executive Jez Moxey recently insisted that the Club are very satisfied with the job McCarthy is doing at Molineux and delighted that he has decided to stay.
He said: "He is totally committed to the Club, the players, staff, supporters and the task at hand.
"When you have such a high-quality Manager there is always going to be a chance that someone else will be interested in signing them.
"But we are pleased to confirm to our supporters that it's business as usual at Molineux."
McCarthy has previous international experience after spending six years in charge of the Republic of Ireland and steered them to the second round of the World Cup in 2002, before taking over at Sunderland.
The 48 year-old parted company with the Black Cats in March 2006 with the Club bottom of the Premiership and took over at Molineux four months later.
And after guiding Wolves to a fifth place finish in his first full campaign in charge last season, the experienced boss is plotting his next managerial masterstroke, with Wanderers currently occupying sixth place in the Championship.
Defeat at Molineux against Burnley last weekend wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered prior to their trip to W12 though, as goals from Robbie Blake, Karl Lafferty and Clarke Carlisle condemned McCarthy's men to only their third home loss of the campaign. QPR

Birmingham Mail-Jay Bothroyd looks forward to QPR return Paul Berry
FORMER QPR schoolboy Jay Bothroyd is hoping a return to home soil will trigger a return to winning ways for Wolves as they bid to recover from suffering back-to-back defeats.
Bothroyd, hoping to continue his striking partnership with Stephen Elliott having returned last weekend following a thigh injury, spent three years as a schoolboy at Loftus Road having lived near the ground.
"I was there when I was about nine years old, along with Stacky (Wolves loan keeper Graham Stack) as well," he said. "I don't really have any memories from QPR - most of mine are from Arsenal - but I was there for two or three years and there were some really decent players.
"There was Peter Crouch, Richard Langley and a few others, but I don't remember too much about it.
"I like going back to London, I like the games and the crowds and the stadiums being closer to the pitch.
"QPR last year was a good game, we won 1-0 but it should have been more. They're at the bottom but they're scrapping and fighting for their lives at the moment so it won't be easy.
"They won at Burnley the other day but we should be looking to win the game."
Those two defeats against Barnsley and Burnley checked a momentum-fuelled run from Wolves which had seen them beaten just once in 13 games.
Bothroyd, himself searching for a first goal in five appearances, believes Wolves will not be thinking about anything other than a win.
"It is difficult when you're in a run of losing a couple of games," he said. "But as a footballer you don't dwell on it, you can't.
"If you do then you'll lose a third game and a fourth game as well. I think we were unlucky against Burnley. We had more shots on target in the second half but we just made critical mistakes.
"It was a bad day at the office but we've watched the DVD and we're working on things in training to make sure it doesn't happen again." Birmingham Mail

Mick McCarthy has backed his players to bounce back from two defeats when they travel to QPR tomorrow (KO 3pm - click here for ticket news).
The boss admits his side has been below par for the past few games but believes the players have the character to get back on track.
"Two defeats is not what we wanted and we are going to try and change that on Saturday," he says.
"With things as close as they are in the league, we need to get back to winning ways - or certainly stop losing. And we have the characters in the dressing room to bounce back.
"It's what you end up with at the end of the season that counts. Every team will have a dip in form and a bit of bad luck. For the last four or five games we've not been bang at it - even for the wins against Colchester and Preston.
"Barnsley were right at it because we are a scalp in this division and the players have to understand that.
"From the start of the season we have been one of the 'fancied' sides in the division and that effects the opposition more than it does our players. It motivates them."
QPR lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with a 2-0 win at Burnley in mid-week.
Mick adds: "That win will have given them a huge boost." Wolves

Express and Star - QPR v Wolves - preview
Seyi Olofinjana today brushed off fears over his focus by insisting: “I’d rather be helping Wolves than playing in the African Nations”.
The Nigerian midfield ace will jet off to Ghana in January for the African Nations Cup and may miss up to five weeks of action depending on how far the Super Eagles progress in the tournament.
Olofinjana’s impending absence is a big problem for Mick McCarthy but the Wolves boss has been equally concerned by the midfield ace’s alarming dip in form over the last fortnight.
He raised the issue with the midfielder this week and was happy to hear Olofinjana reaffirm his commitment to Wolves.
“The manager called me up and asked me a few questions the other day,” Olofinjana said. “He just felt there were a few things wrong and he did ask the question about whether the African Nations was playing on my mind.
“But my answer was definitely not. I’m not thinking about it right now and, to be honest, if I had a choice over things I would rather be here helping Wolves to progress.
“We’re building something here and the only reason I’m even playing in the African Nations is because I’m doing well here. There is no question of me pulling out of tackles because of a game in Africa in a month’s time.
“Wolves are the primary focus. They are very, very important for me and the dip in my form has nothing to do with playing for Nigeria.”
Olofinjana’s form has dipped since his strong start to the season and he reckons tiredness could be to blame.
But he still remains hopeful of recapturing his best – and believes he saw signs of a return in the last half hour against Burnley.
“Right now I’m a little bit short,” Olofinjana admitted. “I haven’t been anywhere near the level I want to be recently but there were a few signs in the last half an hour against Burnley that I’m getting back to it.
“Why haven’t I been playing well? I have no idea. I’ve played loads of games and only got two weeks off over the summer. The last game I played was on June 17 and things like that are starting to take their toll.
“The funny thing is it probably helped me at the start of the season because I started well, and I was a few weeks ahead of the other lads with my preparation. But it is having an effect on body now.

“But at the end of the day this is my job and my profession and it is up to me to do what I have to do to get back to it. I could probably do with a rest but this is no time for a rest with games coming thick and fast.”

After suffering morale-sapping back-to-back defeats Wolves desperately need a result against struggling Rangers to reinvigorate a campaign that is in danger of running out of steam.
But they will have to overcome some more bad omens to get the three points. Key men Jody Craddock and Michael Kightly are both missing, and good performances have been in short supply in recent weeks.

“It’s very, very important not just for us to win but for us to play well as well,” said Olofinjana. “We need to get our confidence back up again because we’ve had two disappointing results in the last two weeks. And we need to get the supporters back on our side as well.” Express and Star

Express and Star - Mick backing Wolves to roar
Mick McCarthy believes his injury-hit Wolves squad have proved they have the “character” to emerge from their toughest spell of the season.

Back -to-back defeats have brought Wolves’ season to a crossroads, but McCarthy believes his players will stand up to be counted in the pressurised atmosphere of tomorrow’s game.

Wolves managed to bounce back from back-to-back defeats against Sheffield United and Hull earlier in the season, responding with a run of just one defeat in 13. And McCarthy has every confidence that they can do the same again.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we have the characters in the dressing room to handle this situation,” he said.

“That is not an issue at all, we have great characters and we wouldn’t have got the points on the board that we have done if we didn’t.

“It certainly wasn’t a problem last year and we have much the same characters in there last season.”

McCarthy confirmed that Wolves will start with Jay Bothroyd up front at Loftus Road – with Stephen Elliott his likely partner – as the Molineux men go looking for a response from their worst run of form of the campaign.

“I’m not worried yet. It is about how many points you end up with at the end of the season – every team will have a little dip in form. We have had four or five games where we haven’t been right at it.

“We ground out a couple of wins in that spell, but we are a scalp and when you come against teams that are right at it then you do come unstuck.

“Two defeats on the bounce is not what we wanted and we need to change it because the league is so tight at the top.”

McCarthy has warned his players not to take QPR lightly – despite their lowly league position.
The R’s are managed by a newcomer to English football Luigi Di Canio, who McCarthy believes has them well-drilled. “They have very good players and the win in midweek will give them confidence,” he said. “That will have given them a boost, especially the way Burnley have been going.” Express and Star

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