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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

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

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