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Friday, February 29, 2008

Ex-QPR's Stefan Moore Joins Walsall

[If Moore makes his debut against Luton, could be a contrast with another ex-QPR man: Paul Furlong]

Walsall Official Site - MOORE IS THE MAN
THE SADDLERS have completed the signing of striker, Stefan Moore until the end of the season following an impressive trial spell here at the Banks's Stadium.
The 24 year-old started his career at Aston Villa where, along with his brother Luke, he was an extremely highly-rated prospect.
Skippering the Villans to FA Youth Cup success in 2002, he went on to make a total of 30 senior appearances for his home-town club.
After loan spells at Chesterfield, Millwall and Leicester City, he joined Queens Park Rangers on a permanent basis in the summer of 2005.
Starting last term on loan at Port Vale, he returned to Loftus Road and was a permanent part of The R's matchday squad.
He was allowed to leave the club in January
and arrives at the Banks's Stadium determined to fulfil his early promise. "Stefan is a very intelligent front-man," said Saddlers; boss, Richard Money, who worked with him during his youth team days at Villa Park. "I have known him for a long time and know exactly what he is capable of.
"He was full of promise as a youngster at Aston Villa and I feel that we may have got him at the right time in his career.
"His movement is excellent and he will get into the right positions to score goals. He has been brought up the right way and I am delighted to have secured his services. He is a welcome addition to our squad and this deal will be beneficial to all concerned."
Moore stands by to make his Saddlers' first-team debut at Luton Town on Saturday (kick-off 3.00pm). Walsall

QPR vs Stoke...Stoke Signing....No Curtis to Hull...Ex-QPR Night Tonight...Stefan Moore

QPR play League Leaders, Stoke on Sunday at Loftus Road. Stoke, away record: 6 away wins; 7 draws, 4 defeats (Home record 11 wins, 4 draws, 3 defeats) - Table -- Stoke's Results this season - Stoke's squad Stoke on some of their players ranking highly in the Actim Index Stoke manager, Tony Pulis has just won the Manager of the Month Award!

Stoke City fans probably have to pinch themselves to check their not dreaming.
As the Championship campaign heads in to the month of March, Tony Pulis' men currently sit at the summit of the second tier.
Tuesday's defeat at Preston North End wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered ahead of their visit to W12, but the league table doesn't lie and as we head in to the final chapter of the season, the Potters are there to be shot at.
Pulis, however, is refusing to get carried away - for the time being at least. "This is a tough league and there is still a quarter of the season to go," he said.
"I've been in the game too long to get too excited yet.
"If we treat the last 11 games any differently than we have the first 33, we will end up with our pants pulled down and have our backsides slapped.
"The players are working exceptionally hard and we have got to keep that up."
Stoke's surprise season owes much to the goal-scoring prowess of revered hit-man Ricardo Fuller.
The former Southampton and Portsmouth goal-getter has already bagged 14 goals in the Championship this campaign and is hotly-tipped to head the Championship goal-scoring charts at the end of the season.
But arguably, even greater praise should be attributed to free-scoring centre-halves Ryan Shawcross and Leon Cort, who have notched a remarkable 14 goals between them this season.
The pair, who each began the season on loan at The Britannia Stadium, have wreaked havoc in opposition boxes up and down the land so far this season - and it's a point not lost on their gaffer.
"We've got goals throughout the team now," he said.
"We're getting goals from wide and from the centre-halves; and now we've got Glenn Whelan on board, I'm also expecting him to score a few goals between now and the end of the season as well."
Pulis attributes Stoke's form to a 'bloody hard-working mentality,' adding: "It's simply good players taking on board what you want from them and working bloody hard to achieve it.
"Their attitude has been fantastic, while their growing confidence is there for everyone to see."
Only time will tell as to whether the Potters last the course, but given the unpredictable nature of this division, there are certain to be a few more twists and turns before the campaign reaches its conclusion on Sunday 4th May. QPR

Mirror - [Stoke] City find cash and get Nash
Stoke will sign keeper Carlo Nash on loan from Wigan today after a wrangle over payments was sorted out.
Nash (above) goes straight into the squad for Monday's [sic] visit to QPR following Marton Fulop's recall by Sunderland and may even start ahead of Steve Simonsen.
The deal originally stalled over how much City would pay Nash. Mirror

QPR's recently-released, defender, John Curtis is apparently NOT joining Hull, after a trial - Report.

Ex-QPR Night tonight, as Gillingham (Royce, Cullip, Oli, Miller, Griffiths) take on Yeovil (Bircham, Rose, Forbes and Cochrane). Oli returns to the Gillingham squad, but Rose and Bircham may miss through injury. Tonight's preview

Stefan Moore will be playing for Walsall Reserves next week, as they consider signing him - Walsall

Birmingham Mail/Paul Berry - Walsall lead the chase for Stefan Moore
WALSALL boss Richard Money today revealed Saddlers are in pole position in the race for striker Stefan Moore - but that nothing has yet been finalised.
The former Villa frontman, currently a free agent, is on trial at Walsall and featured in Tuesday's reserve game with Leicester.
Although insisting there is nothing substantial to report on Moore's position, Money admits he would be a good acquisition.
"Stefan will be training with us again today," said the manager. "We are in discussions with him but as yet nothing has been sorted.
"I've had a long chat with Stefan and I know all about him from when he was scoring a lot of goals for Villa reserves.
"From my point of view I can see that after three days' training and one reserve game, he knows the way we like to play.
"He knows how to play in a modern 4-4-2 with a lot of movement and he is a very intelligent forward.
"I like him and if we do get him it might be at just the right time of his career."
Moore is interesting several other clubs, including Australian side Melbourne Victory, but is understood to favour a return to his Birmingham roots, putting Walsall at the head of the queue. Birmingham Mail

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ireland Not Playing at Loftus Road...Sinclair Joins Charlton...Balanta Praised....Shittu Coaching Youngsters...Moore's New Club

BBC - Republic arrange Colombia clash
"The Republic of Ireland will face Colombia in a friendly on 29 May at Craven Cottage. The match will be Giovanni Trapattoni's second game in charge of the Republic and will follow the 24 May friendly against Serbia at Croke Park..." BBC

Charlton Official Site - Sinclair signs up
Exciting attacker Scott Sinclair is hoping to dazzle the Valley faithful after clinching a loan deal from Chelsea for the rest of the season on Thursday.
The Addicks have beaten off some fierce competition to land the teenage winger, who has moved across the capital on a three-month deal that encompasses the end-of-season Championship play-offs - if required.
"I'm really excited to be here,” said Scott, who goes straight into the squad for Saturday's Championship trip to Sheffield United.
"I've come here to get more experience, and I want to keep playing and get some goals for the club.
"There were a few clubs in for me, but I thought Charlton would be the right one for me and I'm sure I've made the right choice.”
Sinclair, who turns 19 on March 25th, has made six appearances for Chelsea this season after appearing in the curtain-raising Community Shield against Manchester United at Wembley in August.
He played a big part in the Blues' march to the Carling Cup final, netting in a 4-0 win at Hull City in an earlier round.
Sinclair's last appearance for the Stamford Bridge side came in the FA Cup against Huddersfield Town on February 16th, and he has also played in the Premier League this term.
The Valley will mark a third home for the speedy flanker in 2007/08, after a loan spell with Queens Park Rangers at the end of last year.
"When I was at Queens Park Rangers the team was struggling against relegation, so this will be a totally different experience for me because Charlton are fighting for promotion,” added Scott, who is a product of the Bristol Rovers youth system.

"I want to get some more games on board and then I can hopefully return to Chelsea in the summer after helping Charlton go up.”....
Previous boss Ian Holloway was keen to link up with Sinclair again at Leicester City, but Sinclair plumped instead for a move from West to South-East London.
"Hopefully, I can bring what I've got to the team and add to what I've got,” he continued.
"I can play on both wings, and although I'm naturally a left-sider, I can play on the right as well and behind the strikers.
"I've come here to score goals and win games, and I'm sure playing at this level before will stand me in good stead.”
Although not in the Chelsea squad for Sunday's Carling Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, Sinclair was at Wembley to watch his side suffer defeat in extra-time, and the sparkling facility may well play a part in his spell as an Addick should the club contest the play-offs in May.
"I played there in the Community Shield and it's a great stadium to play at,” said Sinclair, who has represented England at U17, U18 and U19 level.
"I've had a few starts for Chelsea, but it's been frustrating trying to break though there, with all the good players they have.
"That's why I've chosen to come to Charlton. It's a club that seems like it is ready for the Premier League and I think with the squad that we have got we can definitely reach it.” Charlton

R's Youth Team Manager Steve Brown has described Angelo Balanta's impact on the First Team stage as 'simply sensational.'
The 17 year-old, who has five appearances to his name already this season, opened his goal-scoring account for the R's against Sheffield United last weekend. And now Brown is tipping the teenager to rise to the very top.
"He's got so much natural ability, it's frightening," Brown told www.qpr.co.uk.
"He's the most natural player I've worked with and this is a great Club for him to ply his trade."
Brown added: "He played for me in the 18's in a front-three and he just has this unique ability to be able to drift into the box at the right time - he got his rewards for a similar type of run against Sheffield United last weekend.
"He gets himself in great positions and for that reason alone, he'll score goals in this division.
"He can hurt people, because once he's got the ball at his feet he's absolutely devastating.
"Without wanting to put any pressure on him, I'm convinced there is still much more to come from Angelo."
Brown is adamant the Colombian youngster won't be the last academy scholar off the Hoops production line either, adding: "There's another four or five like him, in that they have the potential to break into the First Team.
"He's raised the bar now though and the challenge for the rest of our youngsters is to join him in the coming years." QPR

Mail - Watford's Shittu teaches East End kids to walk on the right side
Dan Shittu cuts an intimidating figure and it is little wonder that opponents approach the Watford defender with a degree of trepidation.
In one of London's most troubled areas, a legion of youngsters see Shittu differently. To them he is a gentle giant with a heart of gold, who is helping them improve their lives.
"When you pick up the papers all you seem to read is bad things about footballers," says the 27-year-old.
Shittu forgets own-goal horror to rescue Watford
Watford lose their shine
"I know from my own upbringing how important it is to have good role models, and that's what I want to be."
Shittu has come a long way from the Burdett Estate in Bow where his mother Camilla brought up her family of seven children.
From being a park player he became a fans' favourite at Queens Park Rangers before Aidy Boothroyd brought him to Watford in 2006, and he is now a Nigeria international.
Yet every Tuesday, when he doesn't have a match, Shittu returns to his roots and the Eastside Youth Academy he has established in Stepney Green.
The place has become a breeding ground for talent, with more than 20 lads going on to join professional clubs.
Now the academy is also promoting "Your Game", an initiative involving the BBC and the Football Foundation which was being relaunched today to embrace streetdance and music. Shittu is fully committed to the scheme.
"It's not about me just showing my face," he said. "I train the kids, sometimes I have to shout at them, sometimes I'm a shoulder to lean on.
"And it's not just about the kids coming to play football then hitting the streets. We tell them it is as important what you do outside football as what you do inside football.
"We tell them it is better to be known as a good person rather than a guy who is a good footballer but a bad person." Mail

Express and Star - Walsall boss in striker hint
Walsall manager Richard Money has hinted that they may try thrash out a deal for striker Stefan Moore.
The former Villa man has been with the Saddlers for a week and Money revealed that he has been impressed with what he’s seen so far and that he hopes to see off competition from other interested parties to snap him up.
“We are in discussion with him and hopefully we can maybe do something,” Money said.
“I for one like him and I think we might just get him at the right time in his career.
“I know he’s had an offer to got to Australia, which he doesn’t really want to do.
“I think there are one or two clubs who would be interested in taking him, but the advantage that we have is that he’s Birmingham based and he’d like to come back to the area.”
The 24-year-old has struggled since leaving Villa, but Money believes that this is partly due to being played out of position.
“He’s gone into League football at one or two clubs and I’ve had a long chat with Stefan about this – they haven’t played him in the right way.
“He’s played wide right, or in the right of three up front – he’s hardly played down the middle.” Express and Star

Ex-QPR's Liam O'Brien Explains Why He Joined Portsmouth - And How He Became a Goalie

This is Local London/Simon Mail - Teenage star earns move to Premiership

A 16-year-old Ruislip teenager who has landed a dream move to Premiership outfit Portsmouth admitted he only became a goalkeeper by accident.

Liam O'Brien, who went to Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Ruislip, turned down the opportunity of joining Premiership champions Manchester United and Arsenal for a three-year deal on the South Coast.

The goalkeeper has completed a move from QPR to Pompey for an undisclosed fee. But the 6ft 2in shotstopper started life as a striker and only a stroke of luck handed him the chance to shine in goal.

The St Joan of Arc Catholic School pupil said: "I started off as a pretty average striker for Ruislip Rangers and then I wasn't getting into the team. But the goalkeeper moved and the team were playing a tournament and didn't have a goalkeeper so I had a try. I became a goalkeeper by accident but once I went in I liked it and did quite well."

The teenager revealed the friendly atmosphere at Portsmouth encouraged him to choose them over their more illustrious rivals along with the prospect of training with England goalkeeper David James.

"I went to Old Trafford and the Emirates but there was just something not quite right about them," he said.

"When I went to Portsmouth it just felt great and (manager) Harry Redknapp seemed to know who I was. I'm very excited to be going to a great club and I'm looking forward to working with one of the best goalkeepers."

Portsmouth director of youth operations, Paul Hart, said: "We watched him an awful lot for QPR and were impressed. In the present climate there are few decent young English goalkeepers, but for a young boy Liam is mature and confident." This is Local London

Clarke Carlisle's on How Alcohol Rehab Clinic Changed Him...Flashback One Year "Hamman and Noades for QPR?"

BBC Newsbeat Nadia Dahabiyeh - Behind the scenes at sports star rehab clinic
Tony Adams' Sporting Chance Clinic in the Hampshire countryside
Nestled in the tranquil Hampshire countryside is the Sporting Chance Clinic where professional sports stars who have fallen off the wagon go to get help.
Set up by former England footballer Tony Adams, it treats those with alcohol, drug, gambling or sex addictions.
Many big Premier League names have gone there but want to remain anonymous.
Chris Moredew is the director of training there. He told Newsbeat: "We're not interested in the client's salary or how many caps they've won. It's a facility where people can come and address their problems."
The kitchen in the clinic, proving sports stars like baked beans
Pampering not on offer
Clients are allowed to use the spa's multi-million pound leisure facilities to help them stay fit during their stay, but there are no facials or body scrubs on offer.
Instead, they follow a strict regime of individual and group therapy sessions, workbooks and yoga. Mobiles are banned and watching television is only allowed in the evening.
One former client is Clarke Carlisle. Just after being capped for the England Under 21s and joining QPR, the defender got an injury and turned to alcohol.
He said: "After training I'd go to my local and have a few pints, then when I was bloated I'd shift onto some cocktails or shooters and then when my friends had finished work we'd crack on into town."
Life-changing treatment
The player's turning point came when he arrived for a match looking worse for wear and was sent home. It was then he went to the Sporting Chance Clinic.
One of the massage tables in the clinic to ease away aches and pains
Carlisle told Newsbeat: "It was mentally and physically draining, going through all these emotions in your past."
He continued: "There are always reasons for behaviour and getting to the roots of those problems was liberating".
Carlisle said going to the clinic had completely changed his life for the better. He explained: "I know I wouldn't have had the lovely marriage that I have now or the career I have now as I was days away from getting the sack from QPR". BBC

In the Papers One Year Ago Today Hamman and Noades for QPR?:

February 28, 2007 - The Guardian - "Thursday's Rumours" - Paolo Bandini
"....And in takeover action you probably have no interest in, former Crystal Palace owner Ron Noades wants to buy QPR, but so does former Cardiff owner Sam Hammam, while a mysterious 'unnamed American consortium' want to buy Millwall. Should we tell them or will you?" Guardian

Charles Sale - Daily Mail - Is Sam the Man To Rescue QPR?
Football tycoon Sam Hammam’s presence at Loftus Road last Saturday has increased speculation that he is preparing a bid to take over crisis-hit Queens Park Rangers.
Hammam, who is understood to have made more than £20million when he sold Wimbledon to a Norwegian partnership in 1997, has recently relinquished control of Cardiff City, allowing him to pursue other football interests.
And Hammam, who is known to be missing day-to-day involvement in professional football, would find it far easier to commute from his St John’s Wood home to Shepherd’s Bush than the Welsh capital.

Former Crystal Palace owner Ron Noades is also understood to be involved in the QPR takeover talks. He and Hammam have been close friends since Wimbledon and Palace shared Selhurst Park.

While Hammam’s wealth is a matter of some speculation, Noades is seriously cash rich after selling Palace to Mark Goldberg for even more than Sam got for Wimbledon. Noades retained ownership of Selhurst Park, which was sold recently to Tottenham director Paul Kemsley.

QPR chairman Gianni Palladini is sure to sell if the offer is right and Hammam and Noades are the type of operators who could restore some stability at Loftus Road. Taking over the debts and the mortgage on the ground would cost around £20m. Mail

Walton, Curtis and Clement at Hull...Portishead Footballes at QPR...QPR's Programme Award

Update: Nice Snippet!
Western Mercury - Portishead footballers watch their sporting heroes
YOUNG footballers from Portishead travelled to London to play and watch their favourite sport.
Nine youth club members from the town, all Bristol City football fans, took part in the 'Kickz Project', allowing them to play other youngsters in another part of the country.
The trip was organised with the community department linked to Queens Park Rangers Football Club and allowed the youngsters to play a team of QPR fans before moving on to use the free tickets they had all been given for the QPR V Bristol City match at Loftus Road.
Youth worker, Peter Noble, said: "The boys played their game in great spirit with all the players shaking hands at the end. Portishead Youth Club won 8-5, unlike Bristol City who unfortunately lost 3-0, but everyone had a brilliant day."
He added: "It was a great experience for these young people from Portishead and the way they behaved and enjoyed the time made it very worthwhile.
"On their return the young people spent an evening at the youth centre telephoning and writing to other clubs, trying to arrange further similar trips.
"Another great opportunity to increase their confidence and actually get young people more actively involved in what happens at the youth centre. Western Mercury

Hull Daily Mail Hull - Brown issues challenge
Defensive pairing Simon Walton and Neil Clement have been challenged to show they are ready for a first-team call-up this weekend.
Tigers boss Phil Brown will field the loan signings in tonight's reserve team clash at Grimsby as they look to stake a claim to replace Michael Turner at Bristol City.
Turner will miss this Saturday's match because of a one-match suspension, leaving either Walton or Clement to deputise at Ashton Gate.
Brown, who will be without Turner for the first time since the opening day, believes he has two able deputies to call upon and whoever impresses at Blundell Park will be handed their first-team chance.
"It's a simple choice between Simon Walton and Neil Clement and both will get their chance tonight" Brown told the Mail.
"People might have questioned why I brought these players in but you are thinking about situations like this.
"I knew there would be times when some of our defenders would miss games through injury and suspension.
"Neither player has got anything to prove to me, I know they are both talented footballers.
"But I suppose we will see who wants that first-team place most." . Hull Daily Mail

Vital Football Hull - Walton OG, Clement Out - What Next?
Phil Brown was to use last night's reserve game against Grimsby Town to decide whether Neil Clement or Simon Walton would replace the suspended Michael Turner at Bristol City, but has his decision become any easier?
A mixed youth and reserve side that saw Clement and Walton both play in centre-back roles ended in a 3-1 defeat to a Grimsby side that featured ex Tiger Justin Whittle.
The game did not start well for Walton, who gave Grimsby the lead after the ball ricocheted off him and into the back of the net, although the on-loan QPR man couldn't do much about it.
It was then Clement's turn to make Brown's decision more difficult with the West Bromwich Albion man out muscled as the Grimsby striker strode through the City defence to fire past Mark Tyler and double Grimsby's lead. The first two goals showed weaknesses in both players games, but it was an incident later in the night that may have decided who starts on Saturday.
Neil Clement was forced to hobble off on seventy minutes with an unknown injury, and whilst it may have only been a precaution, the West Brom man only has two days to prove he is fit for Saturday's clash. With the defender having started a mere two competitive matches this season, Simon Walton looks like the favourite to start in defence this Saturday. The injury forced City to play the remainder of the game with ten men, and despite a goal from Bennett, assisted by Walton, the Tigers lost 3-1 to a mixed youth and reserve Grimsby side.
John Curtis, who also played, could be in contention for the centre-back position should he have impressed Phil Brown last night///.
Vital Football - Hull

From Last Week: Hull Daily Could Curtis win City deal? - 19 February 2008
John Curtis is training with Hull CityJOHN Curtis is training with Hull City after being released from his contract at Championship big-spenders QPR.
The former Manchester United defender is a free agent and could sign a deal until the end of the season if he impresses.
Curtis had the remaining 18 months of his deal paid up by the R's back in December and trained with Preston North End for a brief period.
But the 29-year-old, a full-back who can also play at centre-half, is now looking to win a short-term deal with the Tigers.
Having made 19 appearances for the Red Devils, Curtis was loaned to barnsley for their spell in teh Premiership.
He impressed enough to earn a £1.5m move to Blackburn and was an ever present as they gained promotion to the top flight.
Spells at Sheffield United, Portsmouth, Preston and Nottingham Forest preceded his move to the capital last summer. Hull Daily Mail

'Hoops,' the Clubs official Matchday Programme, has been named 'Best Read in the Championship' in the annual awards conducted by Programme Monthly.
These are the only awards judged independently by scrutinising a programme from every one of the 92 League Clubs, purchased at random.
Programme Monthly is the leading magazine for programme collectors and has a worldwide readership of more than 4,000 programme collectors every month.
'Hoops' editor Ian Taylor said: "We are delighted with this award.
"Myself and Tony Incenzo have worked tirelessly to improve the product we provide to QPR fans on a matchday and this just goes to show that the amount of time we, our contributory writers and the designers at Cre8 have put in has paid off.
"After finishing runners-up in the Football League's Programme of the Year award last season, we were keen to progress to the next level and positive feedback like this should stand us in good stead for the future, as well as the present day."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ex-QPR Danny Murphy Returns to Ireland...AFC Wimbledon Would Like QPR's Romone Rose to Remain...Bignot on Milllwall and QPR

Irish Daily Mirror - Murphy joins Cork homecoming
Cork City have announced the signing of left back Danny Murphy, who returns to the club after a year in Scotland.
The London-born former Republic of Ireland youth international left Turners Cross for Motherwell at the end of the 2006 season.
However, he failed to establish himself at Fir Park and spent time on loan at Dunfermline Athletic earlier this season.
The 25-year-old had interested Bohemians manager Pat Fenlon but opted to ink a three-year contract back at Turners Cross.
City chief Alan Mathews said: “Danny is a good player who has been at the club before. He will further add to the depth of our squad and his signing will increase the competition for places.
“He is a proven defender who has been successful at Cork City before, and I hope he will enjoy more success with the Rebel Army this time around.”
Murphy added: “I’m absolutely delighted to be back at City, and I really appreciate Alan Mathews’s work in sorting out a deal for me to return to the club.”
The former QPR man becomes the second high-profile member of Cork’s 2005 eircom League-winning squad to return to the club this winter, following in the footsteps of George O’Callaghan - Irish Daily Mirror

Wimbledon Guardian - Brown wants Dons loan stars for keeps
By Stuart Amos
AFC Wimbledon boss Terry Brown believes the absence of Daniel Webb helped his side deliver its most eye catching performance of the season.
Webb injured his ankle ahead of Tuesday's 2-1 win over Margate forcing Brown to start with loan pair Romone Rose and Luis Cumbers up front.
The youngsters ran the visitors ragged according to Brown, featuring in a succession of intricate moves up front.
The Kingsmeadow boss, who was delighted with a swift return to winning ways, is still hunting a midfield playmaker to unlock their talents.
But he is desperate to pair them up front again providing QPR and Gillingham are happy for them to stay.
"A win wouldn't have been enough for us against Margate. We needed a performance. It was the best performance of the year for me," he said.

"We got it down and passed it, and it was the first time I have felt comfortable with our style of play.
"The front two forced us to get it down and play. We didn't have Daniel Webb, so we couldn't hit long balls.
"They are very, very talented young boys and it is a case of keeping hold of them now.
"If you look at the way QPR are set up financially, they can go out and get the best of whatever they want. I think we'll be okay with Rosey.

"I'm hoping Gillingham win games without picking up injuries so we can keep hold of Luis. I've wanted him since I saw him at Maidstone earlier in the season. I think he is a quality boy."
The Dons display seemed suited to a higher level as skipper Jason Goodliffe's goal clinched a dramatic last gasp win.
But Brown believes he will need ball players of Cumbers and Rose's ilk should his side make the step up to Blue Square South next season, while at the same time wanting more from his wide men.
"Our style would suit a
higher level but I definitely think I'd need to get more footballers in," he added.
"Tony Finn and Steve Ferguson are virtually identical in that you often see them produce a great bit of play and then mess up the final pass. "That is why we are here." Wimbledon Guardian

BBC/David McIntyre -Bignot issues Millwall rallying cry
Marcus Bignot knows how crucial avoiding relegation can prove to be.
He captained QPR to Championship survival last season, paving the way for a takeover by a group led by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone.
It is an achievement Bignot is deeply proud of, arguing that the Formula One magnates would not have bought a League One club.
Now the defender is playing a key role in Millwall's battle to avoid the calamity of relegation to League Two.
And he believes beating the drop could also give the Lions, who are currently 18th in League One, a platform for the future.
"There's a lot of similarities with last year at QPR. We knew what was at stake and now at Millwall it's no different," Bignot told BBC Sport. "Let's hope Millwall can follow in the footsteps of QPR and stay up, get more investment and move forward.
It's the games over Easter that sort out the men from the boys

Marcus Bignot

"It's paramount that we don't get relegated. We really have to stay in this division to enable us to move forward and I feel we can achieve that.

"I've been in this type of position before. I know the rewards you can get for staying up and what the future can hold if you can achieve that.

"I'll be looking to do that at Millwall and, for me, Millwall Football Club belongs in the Championship.
"I've played most of my football in that division and I want to play there again during my time with Millwall.
"It's a great league to play in and it would be great for Millwall to be back in that division."
Millwall boss Kenny Jackett, who was assistant manager at Loftus Road during part of Bignot's second spell at the club, signed the player on loan from QPR before sealing his permanent signing in January.
Bignot's work ethic has made him a popular figure at Millwall
Bignot, 33, is known for his work ethic and impeccable attitude. That, and his experience of relegation battles, should be an asset for Millwall in the all-important run-in.
And Bignot is clear about what is required to stay up.
"At this stage of the season, in the position we're in, it's really more about attitude and mentality than ability," he insisted.
"You can have all the ability in the world but if you have not got the desire, you are wasting your time.
"All the players in that dressing room have got ability but, for whatever reason, we are in a position where we could go down.
"It's about that desire and that will to win - to be better than the opposition and run the extra yard.
"Desire and the will to win can be taken lightly but, for me, that is what it is all about. If we keep that mentality for the rest of the season then we will stay up."
Tuesday's draw at Luton moved us further from the relegation zone - two points isn't a big gap but its something
Millwall boosted their survival chances with a 3-0 win over bottom club Port Vale and a battling 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Luton.
But Bignot believes his club's most important matches are yet to come.
"At the moment we are in a trench and it is all about digging in. We have had an important week against teams around us near the bottom," he added.
"It's important we get some points to set us up nicely for the Easter period and I always believe it is the games over Easter that sort out the men from the boys and give a bit more clarity as to how things are going to go.
"That means it is very important that we now get the points in return for our performances, which has not always happened before." BBC

De Canio's QPR Plans

Daily Mail - De Canio's reality check for Rangers
Italian boss rules out fairytale rise to Premier League until next season as he warns that new-look side will need time to gel

Luigi De Canio has already started planning next season's push for the Premier League after writing off Queens Park Rangers' chances of snatching a play-off place this time round.
The Italian manager could see as easily as any of the 9,000 souls who braved the Yorkshire gales last night that only one side played like a team. And it wasn't his.
De Canio looked almost relieved that he could finally dispense with any further talk of promotion miracles and said: "What must happen now is that I work to make sure that my players gel as a unit for what is to come and for what will be expected of us.
"It should also be remembered that when I took over as the manager in January we were bottom of the table.
"And so for anyone to be thinking that we could get into the play-offs shows that we have made progress.
"But we will not see the proper progress right now. First we have to work to bring the players together, to make them understand each other better then we will go from there." The expectations on De Canio and his new Rangers are, of course, huge. While Barnsley devoted a mammoth 60 pages of last night's match programme to the FA Cup giant-killing act at Liverpool that won them a quarter-final against Chelsea, they did not forget they were also housing the nouveau riche of the Championship.
One article said QPR fans were "living the fairytale" and the club had "more money than they can imagine" and were "able to outbid most clubs in the country for players."
The reference, of course, was to the purchase of Rangers by Formula One moguls Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, their entrance boosted by the 20 per cent interest in the club bought by Lakshmi Mittal, the world's fifth richest man.
Ten players joined Rangers in January and there will clearly be plenty more arriving in the summer - Briatore having predicted that Rangers would be in the Champions League within four years.
That would, indeed, be a fairytale even with so much wealth to hand. But on the evidence of their visit to Yorkshire against a side that they beat 2-0 only last month, it is going to take a lot longer than four years for them to mix it with the Euro elite.
Rangers hardly look like a team of strangers but neither do they suggest they possess the kind of cohesion that will be required to start a proper climb towards the summit of the Championship.
As de Canio said: "What is most important is that we make ourselves a proper unit, one that can be built upon.
"The process, of course, takes time although you have to feel confident for the future after what we have achieved so far in such a short time. And when you see young players like Angelo Balanta doing so well, you can see that the future can be good at this club."
Barnsley's on-loan goalkeeper Luke Steele, the hero of their FA Cup victory at Anfield, made a superb save to deny 17-year-old Balanta from collecting his second successive senior goal after his debut strike against Sheffield United.
Yet Rangers could have conceded three goals early on but for some dreadful misses by Istvan Ferenczi and an excellent save by Lee Camp to deny Brian Howard, whose last-gasp winner stunned Liverpool.
Barnsley are confident they can repeat their Cup heroics against Chelsea a week on Saturday. Striker Kayode Odejayi said: "We cannot wait for the game and we believe that we will not freeze.
"We know that now more will be expected of us because of what happened at Anfield but mentally we will be ready." Daily Mail

Perspectives of Ainsworth, Vine and Delaney

Gareth Ainsworth/Kilburn Times - Step on the Gaz
SOMETIMES you need to pick up 'ugly' points in the Championship - and I think we've taken two of those in the last few days.
The Sheffield United game wasn't exactly a classic, but I don't think there was much to liven things up at Barnsley on Tuesday either.
The conditions at Oakwell were horrendous and I'd say the wind won the majority of the challenges, but we have to see it as a decent point to bring home.
Campy did well and credit to him and the back four for keeping a clean sheet - it could be an important one at the end of the season.
Saturday was maybe more disappointing because it was another game where we've been ahead and not managed to win. The result was probably fair, though, even if their goal was a bit scuffed.
I was well pleased to see Angelo scoring his first goal for the club. He's one of the best natural players I've seen for his age and I think the opportunities are going to be limitless for him in future.
He's a quiet lad but he has a great football brain and I'm sure we'll see him in the Premier League one day - I just hope it's as a QPR player.
Sheffield United are a hard physical side - but, while you have to graft to get out of the Championship, if you don't change it in the Premier League, you'll be coming straight back down.
I'd say the Championship is more physical, but the Premier League is more of a thinking league. You have to be switched on all the time and if you're not, it's going to be a struggle.
Teams like Stoke, our next opponents, and Watford, who are also near the top, aren't renowned as pretty footballing sides.
At the start of the season, I think you'd probably have said Stoke had a chance in the promotion race - but you wouldn't have had them as one of the favourites.
Fair play to them, though, they deserve to be up there. I think they've got the blend right and, having played just down the road at Port Vale, I can tell you they've certainly got the support and passion to be in the Premier League.
Stoke are a big side who score a lot of goals from set-plays - probably more than any other team, as we found out at the Britannia Stadium.
We have to be prepared for that and hopefully we can throw a spanner in the works on Sunday. Kilburn Times

Rowan Vine - Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Rowan relishes Pulis reunion
ROWAN Vine is not surprised to see Tony Pulis riding high in the Championship - but is aiming to dent his old boss's promotion hopes this weekend.
The QPR striker emerged through the ranks at Portsmouth while Pulis was in charge there and believes his former manager has assembled a formidable mix of players at Stoke this season.
The unfancied Potters go into Sunday's clash at Loftus Road as league front-runners and Vine told the Times: "Tony gets critics because of his style, but the fact is Stoke are top of the league for a reason.
"He's experienced and the key is that he gets the right players in - they've got a lot of physical lads, but they've also got people like Liam Lawrence, who's got 12 goals and something like 15 assists this season.
"If you're laying on goals and scoring them too, you've got to have some ability. Tony's a good manager and an honest man and I've got a lot of respect for him.
"I was a bit young when Portsmouth let him go, so I didn't make my debut until Steve Claridge took over, but I always got on well with Tony. He spoke to me a lot and helped me improve."
After leaving Portsmouth in 2000, Pulis pitched up at the Britannia Stadium two years later and ensured Stoke's Championship status before moving to Plymouth in 2005 But he returned to Stoke just a year later and, after a mid-table finish last season, the Potters have charged to the top of the Championship with a run of wins since the new year.
And Vine, who scored Rangers' goal in their 3-1 defeat at the Britannia in November, believes the home side can overwhelm Stoke by reproducing the flowing football that recently saw off the likes of Bristol City and Barnsley at Loftus Road.
He added: "It'll be a tough game - Stoke are possibly the most physical team in the league, but we have to stay strong, stand up to that and not get bullied.
"We've played some fantastic football at home, that's the way we want to play and the way the manager wants us to play. It'll be a contrast in styles, but we do need to close games out.
"I think we can outplay anyone at Loftus Road, that's what we're looking to do and we'll be going at it full throttle.
"We'll be looking forward to the game because we got beaten badly up there and the boys want to set that record straight."
Sunday's game (kick-off 1.15pm) is live on Sky Sports and, in contrast to previous years, the Rs have actually triumphed in their last two appearances in front of the cameras.
They won at home to Norwich and away at Charlton, both by a single goal, under caretaker manager Mick Harford. Kilburn Times

Damien Delaney - Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Damien keen to fall in with Trap
DAMIEN Delaney is hoping a consistent run of form for QPR can help him catch the eye of new Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.
The 26-year-old from Cork has been capped by his country at under-21 level, but believes his recent move to Loftus Road could bring him to the attention of the Republic's new coach.
"I think about playing for my country all the time - I'm very patriotic and I go home to Cork as often as I can, especially if we have a day off," said Delaney.
"I'd love to be able to go home and say I'm an Irish international and I've played for my country.
"It's been a long time since I put on an Ireland jersey. I've got the one from when I made my under-21 debut framed at home because I take that much pride in it.
"So I've got to help QPR get more wins and hopefully the manager will pick me because the club are doing well. It's more difficult to get selected when you're fighting relegation battles.
"Hopefully being at this club can take me on to the next level. If we can move into the right half of the table and get within touching distance of the play-offs, it might happen."
If the former Hull left-back can win a place in the full Ireland squad, it could well bring him an extra appearance at his new home stadium later in the season.
Trapattoni, who succeeded Steve Staunton as national coach earlier this month, begins his reign with a friendly against Serbia on May 24 and has indicated that he would like a second match later that week.
But Croke Park is unavailable and the FAI are believed to be considering staging a match in the UK, with Loftus Road - in the heart of London's Irish community - a possible venue.
Delaney has settled quickly at Rangers since his £600,000 move from Hull, not least because he was one of seven new faces to arrive within a matter of weeks.
The defender added: "There's a lot of us in the same boat - in fact, quite a few were living in a hotel until recently.
"So from a personal point of view, it has been easier, because everyone else is trying to find out where things are at the training ground and get used to the way the club works." Kilburn Times

Former QPR, Nick Ward Extends Australian Stay

MELBOURNE VICTORY Ward on board for 12 more Months
Melbourne Victory today confirmed that it has extended the contract of exciting youngster Nick Ward for 12 months, securing the attacking midfielder for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season.
Ward, 22, was recruited to Victory from English side Queens Park Rangers in December last year and made an immediate impact in his five matches, scoring his first goal against Wellington Phoenix in Round 20.
Ward, who was part of the Qantas Socceroos squad that defeated Bahrain in January 2006, is in contention to represent Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and will feature in Victory’s AFC Champions League 2008 campaign.
While recent groin surgery has sidelined Ward from the Qantas Under 23s upcoming match against Mexico, he is expected to be available for Victory’s historic first AFC Champions League match against the Chunnam Dragons on Wednesday, 12 March.
“Nick’s been a fantastic addition to our squad and we’re delighted to sign him for a further 12 months,” Victory Football Operations Manager Gary Cole said.
“He’s an exciting box to box midfielder that plays with great energy and enthusiasm and loves to score goals.
“He’s progressing really well since his groin surgery and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action in the AFC Champions League and the Hyundai A-League.”
Ward added his head is more stable after signing for another year, allowing him to focus on his football heading into the AFC Champions League 2008 and the Olympic Games.
“I like Melbourne, it’s a beautiful city and I feel at home here,” Ward said.
“It should be good for me to get games under my belt and to carry on from the AFC Champions League into the Hyundai A-League, which will be good for my groin as well.
“All the physios and Adam Basil, our Strength and Conditioning Coach, have been amazed with my progress.
“I’m ahead of schedule and I should be joining in training a little bit tomorrow, so hopefully that goes well and then I’ll be on my way to play at Telstra Dome on March 12.”
Victory will host Korea Republic’s Chunnam in its opening AFC Champions League 2008 match at Telstra Dome on Wednesday, 12 March (kick off 7:30pm).
Tickets are available from any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 136 100 or through ticketmaster.com.au. Melbourne Victory

Sportal/Australia - Victory stitch up key signings
Melbourne Victory have announced two major signings, with Tom Pondeljak to return to his hometown and Nick Ward committing for a further 12 months.
Pondeljak, who came off the bench for the Central Coast Mariners as they lost Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final, has signed with the 2006-07 champions for the next two seasons....
Ward, meanwhile, has put pen to paper to commit himself to the Victory until the end of the 2008-09 season, with his next 12 months to include the Champions League campaign and possibly also the Beijing Olympics.
"I like Melbourne, it's a beautiful city and I feel at home here," said 22-year-old Ward, who joined the Victory from Queens Park Rangers in December and played five matches before recently undergoing groin surgery.
"It should be good for me to get games under my belt and to carry on from the AFC Champions League into the Hyundai A-League, which will be good for my groin as well."
"I'm ahead of schedule and I should be joining in training a little bit tomorrow (Thursday), so hopefully that goes well and then I'll be on my way to play at Telstra Dome on March 12 (against Chunnam Dragons)," added the former Perth sta
r. News

QPR's Point at Barnsley - Additional Match Reports

Independent - Barnsley 0 QPR 0: Shot-shy Barnsley fail to fire as Campbell-Ryce left unrewarded

Jamal Campbell-Ryce's glowing performance should have determined this game in Barnsley's favour last night. He gave the QPR full-back Damien Devaney a torrid time, but the only problem was that the Tykes lacked a striker with a fiery finish.

"We've got a point but possibly with the chances we had we were disappointed that we didn't take all three," said Simon Davey, Barnsley's manager. "I think people have got to appreciate that conditions were poor. The wind was swerving round and lots of passes went astray."

Istvan Ferenczi held the ball up well for Brian Howard who sneaked behind a somewhat ponderous Rangers back line and stung Lee Camp's palms with his drive. Camp was at the centre of a comedy of errors seconds later when he dropped a spinning ball at Ferenczi's feet. The Hungarian ran the ball wide and gave Michael Mancienne time to recover and block.

In a swirling wind the Londoners opted to play more of a high-ball game and, with their height advantage, it made sense but it did not make for control.

After good work by Martin Devaney, Howard swept the ball over to Campbell-Ryce on the right flank. His excellent centre found Ferenczi's head but this time the striker could not bring the ball down and Camp watched it clear the crossbar. For the hosts Dennis Souza and Lewin Nyatanga were a solid pairing at the back, cancelling out Patrick Agyemang's threat.

Rangers emerged for the second half like they meant business. Balanta hit the upright, but Nyatanga cleared with his usual calm. Hogan Ephraim came on for Balanta, hared down the right and set up a shot for Buzsaky, but it lacked direction. Camp got a reminder that Barnsley were not out of the picture despite Rangers' dominance of this half when he had to touch a Diego Leon free-kick over the angle. The same Leon worked a great opening, but the shot inched over the crossbar.

Kayode Odejayi replaced Ferenczi and created an immediate impact, running Mancienne ragged, but the resultant cross was cleared. How Fitz Hall did not concede a penalty for his 86th-minute tackle is known only to the referee Eddie Ilderton. Jon Macken was felled from behind and looked expectantly at the penalty spot but it was not to be.

Barnsley: Steele, Foster, Nyatanga, Souza, Van Homoet, Campbell-Ryce, Hassell, Howard, Devaney (Leon, 68), Macken, Ferenczi (Odejayi, 60). Substitutes not used: Togwell, Ricketts, Potter.

Queen's Park Rangers: Camp; Mancienne, Hall, Connolly, Delaney; Buzsaky (Stewart, 90), Rowlands, Leigertwood, Balanta (Ephraim, 62); Blackstock (Vine, 78), Agyemang. Substitutes not used: Pickens, Lee.

Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear). Independent

Telegraph - Jeremy Cross - Barnsley fluff Chelsea FA Cup audition
Barnsley (0) 0 Queens Park Rangers (0) 0
Barnsley manager Simon Davey might be relishing the visit of Chelsea in the FA Cup, but he is doing his best to hide it. Having watched his side held to a frustrating goalless draw by Queens Park Rangers at Oakwell, it seems the more pressing concern of climbing the Championship table is occupying his immediate thoughts.

Football fans' forumadvertisementThis result left Barnsley just six points above the relegation zone and with difficult games against neighbours Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool to come.

Davey is keen for his players to somehow focus on these challenges ahead and not the glamour that comes with a quarter-final tie against Avram Grant's multi-millionaires.

Davey said: "The players who deserve the shirt against Chelsea will get in the team, but I don't really want to talk about the FA Cup any more.

"We want to focus on picking up points instead. This was another one gained and lets hope we can get three more on Saturday. Looking at the game, the chances we had and the decisions that went against us, we would have liked to win the game."

Barnsley created the better openings but showed a profligacy in front of goal that will not be tolerated against Chelsea. Hungary international Istvan Ferenczi was guilty of two glaring misses in the first half, shooting wide after visiting goalkeeper Lee Camp had gifted him the ball before heading Jamal Campbell-Ryce's accurate cross off target. Brian Howard - scorer of the match-winning goal against Liverpool in the last round of the FA Cup - was also foiled by Camp.

Rangers' best period came just after the interval, when Dexter Blackstock shot over after Luke Steele had parried Martin

Rowlands' effort before Lewin Nyatanga blocked Akos Buzsaky's strike on his own line.

The hosts then had two appeals for a penalty rejected when Fitz Hall challenged Jon Macken before appearing to handle a loose ball inside his own penalty area. The game, however, seemed destined to remain a stalemate and Rangers have now gone three matches without a win. Rangers' manager, Luigi de Canio, appeared satisfied with a point and knows his team remain a work in progress.

The Italian said: "We accept the point. It was a tough game and not the best one from a technical point of view. Both defences were on top and I think the result was a fair one in the end. In terms of the penalty, I honestly thought I saw my player take the ball so I don't think it was a penalty." Telegraph

DAILY MAIL/Martin Hardy - Ferenczi failures cost Barnsley victory
Bill Shankly once warned sides to watch their League status when the romance of the Cup is beguiling all and sundry.
Barnsley managed to put most, if not all thoughts of Chelsea in 10 days out of their minds to eke out a point that could prove far more valuable long term than any date with the former Premier League champions.
The threat of relegation has crept up on Simon Davey's side while they have thrived in the FA Cup, but they found enough resilience against Queens Park Rangers to suggest their season will not collapse if they cannot do to Avram Grant's side what they did to Liverpool.
One thing is for certain. The profligacy they showed against a team level on points with them just above the Championship relegation scramble will ruin any good work in either competition.
Hungarian forward Istvan Ferenczi chose a bad night to lose his finishing touch.
Two outstanding chances were presented to him and spurned inside the opening half hour, when Barnsley were in control. Lee Camp could not have been more relieved at Ferenczi's first miss inside two minutes.
The Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper lost possession inside his own area but Ferenczi, presented with an open net, took an unnecessary extra touch and his shot was charged down.
Half an hour later Brian Howard, Barnsley's hero of Anfield, produced a fine pass to the right wing where Jamal Campbell- Ryce took the ball, powered to the byline and crossed deep to the far post. However, Ferenczi, with the goal at his mercy from a matter of feet, somehow headed against the outside of the post.
It was as close as either side came to scoring, despite two late penalty appeals against Rangers'
Fitz Hall — one for a sliding tackle on Jon Macken and then when the ball appeared to strike his arm. Davey said: 'We had enough chances to win the game. We just didn't take them.
'I have looked at the video and Jon has been taken down and it was a handball.
'It is a point gained but I am disappointed we did not get all three. We have to forget about the Chelsea game, the important thing is the League. I don't want to talk about the Cup anymore.'
QPR manager Luigi De Canio said: 'We come away thinking 0-0 was the right result. I honestly believe I saw my player take the ball, so I don't think it was a penalty.'

Also: Earlier Reports and Comments re QPR's Draw at Barnsley

Flavior Briatore Speaks About QPR (and Other Things) "Why He Loves Loftus Road"

The Times/Kaveh Sokhekol - February 27, 2008
Fast cars, models and . . . QPR. 'In life, you need to be happy'
The Italian with the playboy image on why he loves Loftus Road

Flavio Briatore wants to get married and settle down one day, but for the time being the 57-year-old is happy running a Formula One team, owning a football club and dating a supermodel. Growing up in northern Italy in the 1950s and 1960s, Briatore never dreamt about owning nightclubs and restaurants and rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. “I never wanted to be anything,” he said in his Knightsbridge office, overlooking Harrods. “I just wanted to be happy.”

A chance meeting in the late 1970s with Luciano Benetton, the founder of the Italian clothing company, changed his life and catapulted him into a world of fast cars and big business. This year he is planning to open a branch of his Billionaire nightclub chain in Mayfair and a Billionaire boutique is also about to open on Sloane Street in Central London. But when he gets out of bed at 6am every day, he has more than clothes and nightclubs on his mind. There is the Formula One team he has to run and the football club he has bought with Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal, two of the richest men in the UK.

“I wake up very early,” Briatore said. “I wake up when everyone else is going to bed and I start work straight away - why waste two hours reading newspapers? Then I work all day and I never go out during the week. In London, maybe I go out once a month, but only to places I own. I never go to someone else's restaurant or bar.”

February is a busy month for Briatore. The Formula One season is about to start and he is determined to get things right at his Renault team. Last season was a write-off and he winced when talking about finishing a distant third behind Ferrari and BMW Sauber in the constructors' championship (after McLaren's disqualification) thanks to an uncompetitive car that did not get to grips with the Bridgestone tyres that all teams had to use.

According to Briatore, the managing director, this year will be different because Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard who won two world drivers' titles with the team in 2005 and 2006, is back after a miserable year at McLaren and the new R28 car is a vast improvement on last year's model.

“Renault is back and we are confident that we will be protagonists this year and fighting for places on the podium,” Briatore said. “For me, Fernando is the best. He gets bad publicity in England because last year he was fighting with Lewis Hamilton, but it is always like this in England.

“There will be no problems between Fernando and Lewis this season because they are very intelligent. The problem between them was not personal animosity, it was competition and the fact Fernando felt McLaren were not treating him the same as Hamilton. For Fernando it was a team problem not a Hamilton problem.”

The feud between Hamilton and Alonso may have been bad for McLaren, but it has not done Formula One any harm. Propelled by Ecclestone's relentless drive for new opportunities, races are springing up in countries such as Singapore, China, Bahrain and Turkey, and there is talk of an Indian Grand Prix.

“What Bernie has done is sensational,” Briatore said. “When he was talking about going to China ten years ago everyone was laughing, but Bernie has a vision and what he has done to develop Formula One in countries with economic potential is amazing. Next we have to look for opportunities in India, Korea and Russia.”

Briatore made his name in Formula One at Benetton, where he became the manager in 1990 and led the team to two drivers' world titles, with Michael Schumacher at the wheel. Some people get into Formula One because they love cars; Briatore loves the spectacle, but not the cars. “I'm not excited about cars. It takes me 15 minutes to get in and out of a Ferrari or a Porsche,” he said - and in London he is driven around by his chauffeur in an unremarkable Nissan.

Like most Londoners, though, one of his pet hates is Ken Livingstone's dreaded congestion charge, along with the traffic, traffic wardens and pollution. “The charge is very expensive,” Briatore said. “It's a little bit too much. Some people need their cars every day. I don't drive myself because of this. I have a driver. Everyone wants to reduce pollution, but you also have to improve public transport and make sure that the train is on time.”

The way Briatore sees it, London could do with someone who listens to people and then makes decisions, in the same way that he says he does at Renault and Queens Park Rangers, the Coca-Cola Championship club he bought last year with Ecclestone and Mittal. Briatore dismissed the rumour that he thought someone was trying to sell him a restaurant when he took a phone call from an associate who wanted to see if he was interested in buying QPR, but he accepts that the deal has raised eyebrows.

Why buy a struggling Championship club when the gang of three could have bought any club they wanted and be rubbing shoulders with Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, and the other big hitters in the Barclays Premier League? “The centre of football is England,” Briatore said. “If you want to do Formula One you need to be in England. If you want to make champagne you go to France. If you want to make ham you go to Modena. Location is important and at the moment the best football is in England.
“Anyway, I met Mr Abramovich when we played Chelsea in the FA Cup and I have a lot of respect for him. I have known him for a long time and we were joking about why anyone would want to run a Formula One team and a football club.”

But why QPR? Why not Fulham or Reading or any other top-flight club rumoured to be for sale? “We prefer something that is more of a challenge,” he said. “In the last 20 years I speak to Bernie at least five or six times a day. We are in the same business, we travel together, he is my best friend. Whatever I do, Bernie is always part of it. We have a very good understanding and Lakshmi Mittal is also a very great person. He's a very smart businessman. It is great to have these kind of partners, but more importantly it's very important to have these kind of friends. Last year I used to go to ski every weekend, now I stay in London because we all go to watch QPR together with our friends.”

There is a picture of some of those friends at Loftus Road - Elisabetta Gregoracci, the Italian model from the Wonderbra advertisements, to whom Briatore is reportedly engaged, Naomi Campbell and other assorted models and “It” girls - on the wall of Briatore's office next to the Formula One trophies and two old black and white photographs of the 1908 QPR team.

So, is that happy-go-lucky Italian boy, who grew up without a care in the world, happy with his Formula One team, his football club and all those supermodels? “First of all, QPR doesn't belong to me, it belongs to the fans and the shareholders,” he said. “In life you need to be happy with yourself and the job you are doing. Just because you are in F1 is not going to make you happy. Whatever you are doing, if you give 100 per cent then you will be happy. If you are a butler, or a waiter, you have to work hard to have success and then one day you might make it to F1 or have a football team.
“It is important as well that you meet the right girl in your life and fall in love. Maybe for me it has been a little bit more difficult, but you never know.”

Life in the fast lane

Flavio Briatore is the managing director of the Renault Formula One team and the co-owner of Queens Park Rangers. The 57-year-old also owns the Cipriani restaurant in Central London, a pharmaceutical company and holiday resorts in Italy and Kenya, as well as the Billionaire nightclub in Sardinia and Billionaire Couture.

He has been romantically linked with supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum and, according to Italian newspapers, he is engaged to Elisabetta Gregoracci, the 27-year-old Wonderbra model.

April 12, 1950 Born in Verzuolo, Italy

1968 Leaves school with a diploma in land surveying and works as a ski instructor and restaurant manager before moving to Milan to work at the Italian stock exchange

1979 Appointed director of Benetton’s operations in the United States.

1990 Appointed manager of Benetton F1.

1995 Michael Schumacher wins his second world drivers’ title and Benetton win constructors’ title

1997 Briatore leaves Benetton

1999 Briatore becomes Fernando Alonso’s manager

2000 Briatore becomes managing director of Renault’s Formula One team.

2006-7 Alonso wins world drivers’ championship. Renault win constructors’ title.

2007 Briatore buys QPR with Bernie Ecclestone.

Two cars, one passion

Flavio Briatore is the managing director of the Renault Formula One team, but he is not a fan of fast cars. He is driven around London by his chauffeur in a Nissan and his favourite car is a blue Fiat Cinquecento he bought in 1968...." The Times

Also May 21 2006 Times "The Big Interview" with Briatore

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

QPR Draw at Barnsley - Reports and Comments

QPR drew 0-0 tonight at Barnsley. QPR now have 41 points with 12 games remaining. (Unfortunately a couple of other teams results went the "wrong" way) - Table.

Luigi De Canio declared himself "satisfied" with a point after seeing his Rangers side draw 0-0 with Barnsley at Oakwell on Tuesday night.
Simon Davey's men have only been beaten twice in the league at home all season, and De Canio said afterwards: "I was satisfied with my players.
"It was a difficult match, and we have to accept the outcome.
"Neither side managed to make their chances count, although I feel we probably had the better opportunities.
"Barnsley had some chances on the break. They seemed to play a counter-attacking style, and in some ways looked more like the away team than the home team.
"For large parts of the game we commanded the play."
The hosts had a penalty appeal turned down in the latter stages, but De Canio believed it would have been very harsh on the R's if Mr Ilderton had awarded a spot-kick following Fitz Hall's last-gasp challenge to deny Jon Macken.
"If you're going to award penalties for that sort of challenge, you'd see three a game," he said. "I saw my player definitely win the ball." QPR

REDS boss Simon Davey gave his thoughts following tonight's draw at Oakwell.
Simon said: "It was a difficult one. We had some difficult conditions out there but we had enough chances to win it.
"We had three clear chances in the first half and could have had two penalties in the second, one for handball and one when Jon Macken was taken down. When you look at it that way I guess we are disappointed not to get all three points.
"We did not get the goal but at the end of the day it is another point".

QPR Official Site - Barnsley 0 QPR 0
Rangers ground out a plucky point against home specialists Barnsley, on a night when skill and style had to make way for passion and determination at a wind-swept Oakwell.

Neither side did enough to warrant maximum points, as both Clubs remained deadlocked on 41 points in the Championship table.

Skipper Martin Rowlands did his best to haul Rangers to victory, but the all-important breakthrough goal failed to materialise.

Luigi De Canio made two changes for the trip to Oakwell.

Hogan Ephraim and Rowan Vine made way from the side that drew 1-1 with Sheffield United on Saturday, with Akos Buzsaky and Dexter Blackstock returning to the starting XI.

Danny Nardiello missed out for the Tykes under the terms of his loan switch from W12, which meant Jon Macken returned to the Barnsley front line.

In all, Simon Davey made four changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Norwich City at the weekend.

Former R's loanee Rohan Ricketts received a late call up to the Tykes bench, with Michael Coulson stuck in traffic.

Rangers started on the front foot, forcing two corners in the opening minute; the second of which was poked on target by Blackstock.

At the other end, Lee Camp had to be at his agile best to save Brian Howard's 12-yard drive, after the Tykes midfielder coasted through unchallenged.

Disaster almost struck three minutes later though, when the R's number one dropped a clanger on the edge of his 18-yard box. Istvan Ferenczi reacted quickest to pick up the resultant loose ball, only to hesitate and allow Fitz Hall enough time to produce a crucial goal-saving tackle.

Play soon switched to the other end, with Blackstock firing over from 25-yards, before Mikele Leigertwood volleyed over from a similar distance just seconds later.

Macken was proving a constant threat and when he was played in by Howard in the 17th minute, Matthew Connolly timed his challenge to perfection to divert the ball to safety.

After a period of total inactivity, Barnsley should have taken the lead on the half hour.

Howard's searching pass found Jamal Campbell-Ryce on the left flank and when his far post cross evaded the entire QPR back four, Ferenczi inexplicably headed against the post from six-yards out, when it appeared easier to score.

Angelo Balanta was presented with a rare half chance to put Rangers in front right at the end of first half, but he was denied by Luke Steele, as the Tykes goalkeeper raced off his line to save at the youngster's feet.

Rangers began the second half in the ascendancy, with skipper Rowlands leading by example. The R's midfielder picked up possession just inside the Barnsley half and raced fully 20 yards before unleashing a dipping shot, which Steele found too hot to handle. Blackstock was first to the rebound, but his left footed drive flew over.

Balanta was the next R's player to ask questions of the now over-worked Barnsley back four, but when he skipped past Steele, his shot - from an acute angle - was hacked off the line by Lewin Nyatanga.

Rowlands fired another opportune effort on target in the 48th minute, as the R's - after a drab first period - set their stall out early in the second half.

The R's skipper was leading the assault almost single handedly by now, as he skipped past three would-be challenges with ease, before firing an enticing ball across the six-yard box, which the onrushing Agyemang just failed to connect with

Davey replaced the ineffective Ferenczi with Kayode Odejayi on the hour, before De Canio introduced Ephraim at the expense of the tiring Balanta.

Macken stung the palms of Camp as the ball kicked up off Connolly's right knee, before the R's keeper dived full stretch to his right to expertly tip substitute Diego Leon's arcing free-kick round the post.

Leon went close again in the 75th minute; this time firing inches wide of the right upright, with Camp seemingly beaten.

Vine's introduction 12 minutes from time breathed fresh hope in to the visitors, but despite his best efforts, the R's were forced to settle for a share of the spoils for the second match in a row.

Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Souza, Howard, Ferenczi (Odejayi 60), Campbell-Ryce, Nyatanga, Van Homet, Devaney (Leon 68), Macken, Foster.

Subs: Ricketts, Togwell, Potter.



Red Cards:

QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Blackstock (Vine 78), Buzsaky (Stewart 94), Rowlands, Connolly, Agyemang, Hall, Leigertwood, Balanta (Ephraim 63).
Subs: Pickens, Lee.
Bookings: Hall 76, Delaney 81
Red Cards:
Referee: Mr E Ilderton
Attendance: 9, 019 QPR

BARNSLEY threw everything they had at QPR but just could not find a breakthrough as the wasted chance after chance to bury a Rangers side more than happy with a point from tonight's encounter at Oakwell.

Reds boss Simon Davey made four changes following the defeat by Norwich with Jon Macken, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Marciano Van Homoet and Lewin Nyatanga all coming into the side. Daniel Nardiello, Diego Leon, Rob Kozluk and Anderson de Silva missed out.

Rangers started the game strongly, backed by a gale force wind, and pegged Barnsley back with two early corners. The Reds responded well with Brian Howard finding a yard of space to let fly with just three minutes on the clock but Lee Camp was able to claw the ball to safety. Howard then swung in a dangerous corner from the left and Camp this time managed to get nowhere near the dropping ball but Fitz Hall was able to hack clear off the line under pressure.

Barnsley should have really been in front on five minutes as Camp made a horrible mess of dealing with Luke Steele's long clearance and presented Istvan Ferenczi with an open net. The big Hungarian could not believe his luck but took a needless touch which allowed Michael Mancienne the chance to clear.

QPR broke quickly seconds later and raced in on Steele's goal but Dexter Blackstock hammered the ball well over the bar when well placed on the edge of the area.

Ferenczi almost redeemed himself on 13 minutes as he cut in from the right hand side onto Bobby Hassell's pass but drove his shot over the bar from 25 yards out.

Barnsley finally carved QPR open on 18 minutes as Howard's through ball sent Macken in on Camp and the striker looked to have dragged his shot into the far corner but for Martin Rowlands' excellent late block. Seconds later Howard let fly from the edge of the area after Martin Devaney's corner had been half cleared but the midfielder lashed a difficult effort well over the top.

The Reds were in on goal yet again on 33 minutes as Howard's pass sent Campbell-Ryce galloping into acres of space down the right. The winger took his time and took Camp out of the game with a fine cross that looked to give Ferenczi an easy chance at the back post but the big Hungarian put his diving headed against the post and out of play.

A rare slip by Stephen Foster allowed Mikele Leigertwood the chance to run at Steele on 44 minutes but the young keeper was quickly out to clear the danger.

Steele was almost caught out by the wind on 48 minutes as he spilled Rowlands' bobbling shot and the ball bounced out to Blackstock but the striker blazed over under pressure from Foster. Blackstock got in again a minute later as he robbed Van Homoet and knocked the ball round Steele but Nyatanga somehow got back to block his shot on the line.

Barnsley kicked into gear on 53 minutes as Howard's cross fell nicely to Campbell-Ryce at the back post and the winger brought a smart save from Camp with his well-struck shot.

The Reds had a massive let off seconds later as Rowlands skipped past Hassell on the edge of the area before drilling a shot past Steele and across the face of goal. Dennis Souza was alert enough to block Buzsaky's follow up.

Substitute Hogan Ephraim caught out Barnsley on 64 minutes as he managed to find Buzacky in yards off space on the edge of the area but the winger fired high and wide with only Steele to beat.

QPR went close again four minutes later after Damien Delaney had skipped past Foster to cross for Blackstock to attack but this time the striker could only head over under pressure at the back post.

Macken then thought he had broken the deadlock a minute later as he fired a shot towards the bottom corner from Kayode Odejayi's flick but his shot struck Delaney and bounced through to Camp. Substitute Leon then brought an outstanding save from Camp on 70 minutes as he arrowed a free kick towards the top corner but the Rangers keeper managed to turn the ball over the bar.

Leon had the Rangers defence all over the place on 75 minutes as he turned one way and then the other before beating Camp but his shot dropped just over the crossbar.

Souza was next to try his luck as he met Leon's corner on 80 minutes but could not put his header on target under pressure from Hall. Van Homoet then flashed a shot high over on 83 minutes after break 50 yards with the ball through a retreating Hoops defence.

Referee Eddie Ilderton let Rangers defender Mancienne away with murder on 88 minutes as he decided the full back had taken the ball when he hacked through Macken from behind in the area. It looked all the world a penalty especially as the defender had gone through Macken to clear the ball but amazingly nothing was given. From Leon's corner Mancienne got away with it again as he appeared to handle Foster's shot on its path to goal.

BARNSLEY: Steele, Foster, Souza, Nyatanga, Van Homoet, Campbell-Ryce, Hassell, Howard, Devaney (Leon 68), Macken, Ferenczi (Odejayi 60).
Subs: Togwell, Ricketts, Potter.

QUEENS PARK RANGERS: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Blackstock (Vine 78), Buzsaky (Stewart 90), Rowlands, Connolly, Agyemang, Hall, Leigertwood, Balanta (Ephraim 62).
Subs: Pickens, Lee. Barnsley

Recent QPR Loanee, Bob Malcolm Joins Motherwell.


Malcolm seals Motherwell switch
Bob Malcolm
Malcolm failed to establish himself at Derby
Motherwell have signed former Rangers and Derby County defender Bob Malcolm until the end of the season.

Malcolm, 27, has been searching for a club since being released by the English Premier League side last month.

The Scot, who can also play in midfield, failed to settle at Derby and spent a loan spell at Queen's Park Rangers last November.

Malcolm left Ibrox in September 2006 after falling out of favour under the then Rangers manager Paul Le Guen.

He made 14 appearances for Derby after moving to Pride Park, including one in the Barclays Premier League in this season's 6-0 defeat at Liverpool.

But he was then loaned to QPR in November and played 11 times for the Coca-Cola Championship side.

Motherwell said the club was delighted to sign Malcolm after he showed a willingness to return to Scotland.

Malcolm has been added to Mark McGhee's squad for Wednesday's SPL match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie. BBC

De Canio Settling in...Ephraim Happy to Be Here

Setanta/Joseph Caron Dawe - De Canio settled in England
Queens Park Rangers manager Luigi De Canio says he has conquered the language barrier that has inhibited his communication with his team since he took over at Loftus Road almost four months ago.
The Italian has been speaking to his players in training through an interpreter as well as addressing the press in a similar manner, but the 50-year-old maintains he is now almost fluent in English and is fully able to correspond with his staff.
"I am using English in training virtually all the time now, especially if I am speaking one-on-one with a player," declared De Canio, who has steered QPR six points clear of the relegation zone.
"With the players, I think I have reached the stage where I can understand and I can make myself understood.
"We certainly know how to play and how to please our supporters with entertaining football."
Speaking ahead of the West London side’s Championship clash with Barnsley on Tuesday evening, De Canio explained the thinking behind his appointment of two club captains.
"(Martin) Rowlands is the captain on the pitch, and (Gareth) Ainsworth represents QPR off it," said De Canio.
"They represent the past and the present and, for me, they sum up what QPR is all about."
One player who is feeling the benefits of the former Siena manager’s new regime at Loftus Road is Hogan Ephraim.
The ex-West Ham trainee crossed London to join QPR in January and believes it will not be long before his decision to drop a division will be vindicated.
"It was not a difficult decision for me to leave West Ham and come to QPR,” said the 19-year-old.
"I was here on loan, then the new owners came in and I went back to West Ham and when I was back there I was looking at the papers every day and there was lots of talk about QPR.
"Even some of the big named players at West Ham were reading about what was going on here and saying to me that it was exciting times.
"If I didn't think QPR was a club on the way up I would not have left West Ham
Ephraim also believes De Canio, combined with joint-owners Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, can lead the club to success.
"We do see the new owners, they come and see us in the changing room after the games and it is good that they are mixing with the boys and they are involved,” he added.
"I think a lot of people thought that they would treat the club like their little plaything - but they are not like that at all.
"It is a good time to be here and this club is only going one place and that is The Premier League and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later." Setanta

Deaths Announced of Two Former QPR Players - RIP

Express and Star - Villa and Albion legend dies

Dugdale, who played as a centre-half, famously played for FA Cup-winning sides for Albion and Villa in the 1950s.

He died in hospital after a long illness at the age of 76.

The Liverpool-born former defender played in the 1954 final when the Baggies beat Preston North End 3-2 and was part of Villa’s line-up three years later with they triumphed against Manchester United 2-0.

Former Albion director Joe Brandrick said: “Jimmy was a fine player in one of the best Albion teams of all time when they won the FA Cup and finished runners-up in the old First Division.

“He followed in the great traditions of Bill Richardson, Jack Vernon and Joe Kennedy – quality footballers in their own right and previous incumbents of the position.”

Neil Rioch, chairman of the Villa Former Players’ Association, said today: “He was not only a great footballer – he would have won many England caps but for Billy Wright – but an even greater person.

“He always faced life with a smile, despite life not dealing him the best hand.”

Dugdale joined Albion in June 1952, making 75 appearances, 63 in the league.

He helped the Baggies lift the FA Cup in 1954 and finish runners-up to Wolves in the league in the same season, winning three England B caps.

Joining Villa in January 1956, Dugdale made 330 appearances – 215 in the league – at the heart of the claret and blue defence, winning the Cup in 1957, the Second Division title in 1960 and the League Cup 12 months later before moving to QPR in 1962.

He never properly recovered from a cartilage injury sustained in a Second City derby in 1962 and he retired in 1963.

He later became a publican in Witton.

Dugdale leaves a wife, Dorothy, two daughters, Debbie and Nicola and a son, Russell. Express and star

METRO -Disturbed son kept feeding dead parents

A mentally ill man continued to feed and care for his elderly parents after they had died, an inquest heard today.

John Dumsday, 85, was badly decomposed when he was found dead in his chair at the family home in Southbourne, Dorset.

The pensioner, who played football for Queens Park Rangers in his youth, had napkins where his son Paul had been continuing to feed him.

His 83-year-old wife Christine, was found wearing a personal stereo playing music, when their bodies were found on August 25 last year.

A post-mortem examination showed she had died of natural causes due to heart disease, malnutrition and an undetected tumour in her kidney, a coroner in Bournemouth was told.

The inquest heard Mr Dumsday was a sportsman before and during the war. He played cricket for the London XI team and football for Queens Park Rangers before he joined the Royal Air Force.

He was discharged from service after injuring his leg and went on to become an estate agent.

Coroner's officer Michael Humphries said: "The son, who had mental problems, thought his parents were still alive.

"He was taken away by police and later admitted to St Ann's Hospital."

The inquest heard Mrs Dumsday had been admitted to the same psychiatric hospital in Poole suffering from delusions of impending doom and muteness in 1991 but discharged herself.

Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded a verdict of natural causes for Mrs Dumsday and an open verdict for her husband. Metro

Nick Ward Set to Sign

Herald Sun -
MIDFIELDER Nick Ward could re-sign with Victory for the 2009 A-League season as soon as today.
The former Perth Glory and Queens Park Rangers player joined Victory just before Christmas and made an instant impact with five strong appearances.
While Ward's preparation for the Champions League has been tempered by recovery from a groin injury, he is expected to be fit for the opening game against Chunnam Dragons in a fortnight. Herald Sun

Buzsaky on Joining QPR, QPR Promotion Prospects and Leaving Plymouth

Mail - Akos denies rift with former club Plymouth led to him joining Rangers as he set his sights on a promotion push

Akos Buzsaky has slammed claims he turned his back on Plymouth by insisting the club cashed in on his move to Queens Park Rangers.

The 25-year-old joined Rangers in January after a successful two-month loan spell amid suggestions from Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton that Buzsaky had fallen out with then manager Ian Holloway and his agent had priced him out of a new contract at Home Park.

But the Hungarian midfielder insists there was no rift at the club and claims the move was the best solution for all parties.

"If they really wanted to keep me they wouldn't have accepted the offer and let me go," said Buzsaky. "People can say what they like but for Plymouth it was a good deal and they cashed in.

"QPR came in and offered £500,000 and because of that Plymouth didn't want me to sign a new contract. I had been at Plymouth for three years and really enjoyed my time there. I played over 100 games for them but perhaps it was time to change. Given the situation, it seemed time for new people and a new club.

"I don't know where the talk of me falling out with Ian Holloway came from but it's completely untrue. All that is in the past now and I am very happy at QPR and pleased with how things are progressing here."

Rangers travel to Barnsley tonight trying to revive the dying embers of their play-off hopes - Saturday's 1-1 draw against Sheffield United leaves Rangers 12 points off the top six. But while the billionaire backing of Lakshmi Mittal and Formula One tycoons Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone has raised expectations in certain quarters, Buzsaky claims manager Luigi De Canio is building for next season.

"There have been so many new players coming in, this season is more about getting to know each other," said Buzsaky, who is one of eight new arrivals this year.

"We have to learn how to play as a team and that takes time. All the top sides have an understanding of how other players play and we don't really have that yet. I am starting to strike up a decent partnership with Rowan Vine and Patrick Agyemang. We play in a similar style and we can be effective together. There are signs like that throughout the team and when it comes together, it could be special.

"Everyone knows we are 12 points off the play-offs - I don't think that they are a realistic target this season. If we can put a few wins together, then you never know but I am more excited by what we can go on to achieve next season.

"My goal is to play in the Premier League as soon as possible and if we continue to build for the rest of this season then there is no reason why we can't do it next year.

"The Championship is such a competitive league that if Chelsea and Manchester United dropped down, then they wouldn't win every game. Okay, so they would probably get promoted but every game is tough in this league. You have to fight for what you get and anyone can beat anyone so it's one of the toughest divisions there is.

"Barnsley are a great example of that. You never know what to expect and we know it won't be easy against them, but equally they were beaten by Norwich in their last game so it is difficult to predict how good they will be on the night.

"They have good players but so do we at Rangers, so there is no reason why we shouldn't go there with anything other than a lot of confidence."
Daily Mail

Ex-QPRs - Steffan Moore Trial...Gallen Reaches Wembley...Waddock One Step From Wembley

As noted in QPR Report on Sunday, Steffan Moore is having a trial with Walsall....Kevin Gallen's MK Dons have reached Wembley...Gary Waddock's Aldershot are one step away from Wembley

BBC - Saddlers trial for ex-Villa man
Former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore has been training with Walsall after having his contract ended by QPR.
The 24-year old, who has scored once in his 11 league appearances this season, will play for the Saddlers reserves against Leicester on Tuesday.
Walsall manager Richard Money is keen to bolster his strike options as his side push for a play-off place.
"He's got a good pedigree, he's got quality and he's trained impressively," Money said.
Currently Tommy Mooney is the only experienced forward the Saddlers have at their disposal, with youngsters Troy Deeney and Alex Nicholls battling for places alongside him.
"The period when Nicholls and Deeney started was very tough on them at times," said Money. "But they are more than useful substitutes, especially when the game starts to get stretched." BBC

BBC - FA Trophy semi-final draw
Former Football League rivals Torquay United and York City will meet in next month's semi-finals of the FA Trophy.
Blue Square Premier leaders Aldershot Town will play either Burton Albion or Ebbsfleet in the other last-four clash as they bid for a place at Wembley.
Torquay will face York at Plainmoor in the first leg on 8 March with the return at KitKat Crescent a week later. Aldershot will travel to the winners of the Burton-Ebbsfleet replay before the return at the Recreation Ground. BBC

BBC - MK Dons 0 Swansea 1 - MK Dons win 5-4 on penalties
Swansea striker Jason Scotland suffered mixed fortunes from the spot
Swansea's Jason Scotland suffered mixed fortunes from the spot
Jason Scotland was first Swansea's penalty hero then villain as MK Dons won through to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final after a penalty shoot-out.
Dons had won the first leg in Swansea 1-0, but Scotland levelled the tie from the spot on 20 minutes after Keith Andrews brought down Andy Robinson.

Both sides wasted good chances and the aggregate remained deadlocked at 1-1.

Cruelly only Scotland failed in the shoot-out, as Dons goalkeeper Willy Gueret guessed right with a fine save.

Having now triumphed in this southern area showdown, the Dons will face either Morecombe or Grimsby in the final at Wembley on 30 March.

Gueret had been superb in the first leg at the Liberty Stadium last week when Dons won 1-0, but could do nothing to stop his former club gaining parity at Stadium MK.

Striker Scotland and Robinson combined with a clever one-two and as the midfielder charged into the Dons box he was clipped by Andrews.

Referee Andy D'Urso pointed to the spot and Scotland sent Gueret the wrong way for his 20th goal of the season.

If the League One leaders thought a winner was only a matter of time they were rocked back by a determined MK Dons assault, the League Two front-runners led by the excellent Jemal Johnson.

Only a brave defensive block by Gary Monk denied Johnson, although at the other end Gueret had to save smartly from Febian Brandy before the break.

Both sides had chances to win it in a frenetic second half, Swansea's Shaun MacDonald and the Dons' Kevin Gallen both guilty of glaring misses as the 90 minutes ran out.

The penalty shoot-out began with four excellent spot-kicks before Scotland stepped up to take Swansea's third attempt.

The striker picked the same spot as before but Gueret read his double-bluff, flinging himself left to stop Scotland's shot with a strong hand.

No more penalties were missed and to add insult to injury it was substitute striker Drewe Broughton - just back from a loan spell at Swansea's Welsh rivals Wrexham - who kept his cool to smash the Dons into the final with the deciding kick.

Broughton will soon be back in north Wales for another loan spell after Monday night's successful cameo, as Wrexham have been granted their request for his return to help in their relegation fight.

MK Dons: Gueret, Lewington, Diallo (Broughton 84), O'Hanlon, Swailes, Andrews, Cameron (Stirling 80), Dyer, Navarro, Gallen, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Carbon, Abbey, Baldock.

Booked: Andrews.

Swansea: De Vries, Tate, Monk, Painter (Austin 18), Rangel, Pratley, Robinson, Way, Butler (MacDonald 65), Scotland, Brandy (Duffy 79).
Subs Not Used: O'Leary, Knight.

Booked: Butler, Brandy.

Goals: Scotland 20 pen.

Ref: Andy D'Urso (Essex). BBC

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