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Thursday, June 05, 2008

QPR to Try Again for Watson and Other Targets....How Dowie's Team Will Play and Shock of De Canio Departure

Dave McIntyre/Kilburn Times - Watson the table isn't enough
QPR will next week table another bid for midfielder Ben Watson, who is expected to reject Crystal Palace's latest offer of a new contract.
Rangers failed to land the former England Under-21 international after offering Palace a deal worth £1.2m, potentially rising to £1.5m subject to certain clauses.
The Eagles are keen to keep Watson but he is entering the last year of his contract and has indicated that he will not sign a new deal.
That leaves Palace facing the prospect of selling Watson, 22, this summer rather than allowing him to see out the remainder of his contract.
Rangers hope this will leave them in pole position to get their man and plan to tempt Palace with an improved offer after the weekend.
Former Palace manager Iain Dowie knows Watson well from his time in charge at Selhurst Park and identified him as a potential signing as soon as he took over as QPR boss last month.
Dowie is currently scouting at the Campionato Primavera - an annual Under-20 tournament involving Italy's top clubs.
A number of overseas targets are being considered alongside English-based players as Rangers look to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season.
It looks increasingly likely that Blackpool's Latvian international centre-back Kaspars Gorkss will sign for the R's, although an agreement has yet to be reached.
Gorkss, 26, was targeted after Rangers abandoned a bid to re-sign former Loftus Road favourite Dan Shittu from Watford and an attempt to sign Tottenham's Anthony Gardner seemed to fail.
The injury-plagued Gardner was near the top of QPR's wish list but appears to have agreed a move to another club.
Rangers' ambitious targeting of Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood looks like being just as unproductive but they do have a realistic chance of signing his former West Ham team-mate Bobby Zamora, whose future is likely to be decided in the next couple of weeks.
And there may have been a significant development in the long-standing attempt to bring Lee Cook back to Loftus Road with the departure on Monday of Fulham managing director David McNally.
For some time Rangers have believed that McNally's possible exit could pave the way for them to re-sign Cook.
McNally presided over Fulham's signing of Cook from QPR last year and was involved in negotiations over the winger's possible return to his former club.
Rangers were unable to agree a fee for Cook's signing and also failed to secure a loan deal in January, allowing Charlton to step in and sign him on loan before the transfer window closed.
More recently Rangers have discussed a loan move for Cook with a view to a £2.5m transfer if he proved his long-term fitness after a knee injury.
But it was thought that in the event of McNally leaving, his successor could look to offload several players and Cook, who has not played in a competitive match for Fulham, may be among those available at a knockdown price.
At least one left-sided player is regarded as a must for Rangers this summer and the club also remain keen on Plymouth wide-man Peter Halmosi.
Adam Johnson of Middlesbrough has also been targeted but he looks well out of Dowie's reach unless Boro tie the highly-rated winger to a long-term contract and then loan him out. Kilburn Times

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times- Leighterwood: Long ball isn't Dowie want to play
MIKELE Leigertwood has dismissed any notion that QPR could be transformed into a long-ball team under new boss Iain Dowie.
Dowie's previous teams have sometimes picked up a reputation for direct football, but the robust midfielder, who played in his promotion-winning Crystal Palace side a few years ago, believes that label is misplaced.
"We're certainly not going to be a predictable Championship team next season," Leigertwood assured the Times.
"The owners are going to want results straight away and some people might say that's a stumbling block, that everyone will be expecting us to turn teams over every week.
"I know Iain Dowie's going to bring a hard work ethic and he'll want us to be hard to beat - passing the ball around but mixing it as well. People want to see fast and attractive football.
"I have to say, he never once said to me at Palace 'kick it long or punt it' or anything like that. You can only work with what you've got and we've got a lot of flair players here already."
Dowie paid Wimbledon £150,000 for Leigertwood in February 2004 and the versatile north Londoner played a key role as unfancied Palace burst into the Premier League.
The Eagles' astonishing transformation from relegation candidates to play-off winners that season has been generally viewed ever since as the benchmark for upwardly mobile Championship clubs.
Rangers, of course, have made no secret of their desire to be described in that way and Dowie's motivational skills can, according to Leigertwood, bring that change about.
"He came in at a crucial time and got everybody working for each other and believing in themselves, firing to their full potential," Leigertwood recalled.
"He'll be looking to do the same at QPR. We used to do a lot of video work and stuff like that - and if I was going to be critical, perhaps we'd sometimes over-analyse things.
"But that's Iain Dowie's style and if he feels something isn't right, he'll change it. We got on really well when I worked with him before and I think that should continue."
A seamless transition, ideally - and that is what the QPR squad need after the unexpected departure of Luigi de Canio, which came just a few days after the players had kicked their final ball last season.
"I was shocked really," Leigertwood admitted. "The way he was talking, it sounded as if he was going to be here next season and you don't really know what's gone on.
"But it was important to get the situation sorted out quickly. We've already signed a few players, so clearly there's going to be no messing about.
"Iain Dowie's got Championship experience and Premier League experience as well, so I've no doubt that will stand us in good stead next season. Kilburn Times

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