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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mahon and Blackstock Look Forward, Praise Dowie, Etc...Clive Allen Looks Back

This evening the R's travel to Kilmarnock for their final pre-season friendly in Scotland.
Following the 2-0 loss at Falkirk on Saturday afternoon, Iain Dowie's men are keen to avenge that with a victory tonight.
Gavin Mahon, who has featured prominently throughout the pre-season, told www.qpr.co.uk: "It would be nice to bounce back from that defeat with a win this evening.
"One of the main points of these friendlies is to come up against different types of systems, and learn to cope with them.
"Falkirk caused us a few problems at the weekend, and it is useful to have matches like that, because you learn from them."
Mahon, 31, has been impressed by the organisation Dowie has brought to the squad, and has noticed some similarities in his approach with Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd, who guided the Hornets to the Premiership in 2006.
"The gaffer is a hard task master, there's no doubt about that," added Mahon, who was Boothroyd's midfield general when the Vicarage Road outfit won promotion. "He is similar in his approach to Aidy; the footballs are out early and the sessions you do are all very tough, and everything is timed.
"It has been great for me. I have never in my career been as fit as I have been over the last couple of years at the start of a season, and Iain Dowie has continued that with his approach to pre-season.
"Often at clubs you do a lot of running for the first couple of weeks before any ball work, but the gaffer mixes that up well, right from the off.
"That's something I think he is brilliant at, mixing up the training and getting everyone super fit. And, this might sound crazy, but it has been enjoyable as well, because what we've been doing has been good fun, as well as hard work.
"The team spirit has really benefitted from his presence, too. You can have a good laugh with him, and he is quite laid back, which is great."
And the spirit in the camp will need to be strong if the players are to cope with the incredible expectancy which surrounds the Club since the involvement of Flavio Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal.
"That's going to be a big thing for us this season," said Mahon. "We've got to make sure we can handle that side of it because, with the financial backing the Club has now got, we are expected to do well.
"It's not going to be as easy as some people might think. A lot of Championship sides have really strengthened over the summer, so it will be tough.
"Having said that, we've got a very good squad here. I think the gaffer is keen to add a couple more faces, which we need, and if he can do that then we can do well this season.
"We'll be expected to win week in, week out, and that's exactly what we will be trying to do."
Looking beyond this evening's match at Rugby Park, Mahon is looking forward to Saturday's home game against Serie A outfit Chievo.
Dowie has made it clear that he will be starting what he feels is his strongest side against the Italians, and Mahon admitted: "Everyone will want to impress in that match.
"The gaffer wants us to play at a high tempo, and against Chievo it will be a good test, because I am sure they will work the ball well.
"It is going to be up to us to keep our shape. We've got to work hard for each other in every match we play, and I actually think it will be a great game against Chievo, I really do." QPR

Blackstock Icons - Feeling positive under the Dowie regime

Back at the start of the summer I met up with the England Under-21s for the game against Wales. I came on in the second half and got a decent run out. It's always hard to come from the bench into a game at that pace but I enjoyed it.

After the Wales game I went on holiday to Miami with a few of the lads, which was great. There were quite a few footballers out there from other clubs so there was a bit of banter too.

Now it's just a question of doing well for QPR to keep myself in the reckoning for the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifiers and the tournament itself.

We'd all be happy if the season started tomorrow!

We're back in pre-season training now. There's a new regime in charge at the club. Everything's going really well. The players are all positive and raring to go. We'd all be happy if the season started tomorrow! It's been hard work in training so far but it always is in pre-season. The new manager Iain Dowie is getting a real work ethic into us.

I've been really impressed with it all so far. The manager's very approachable. I think he will be very good at man-management over the season. We've had some new players come in over the summer and they've all been welcomed. It's a really close squad at QPR so I'm not surprised they've settled in so quickly.

The most recent arrivals have been Samuel Di Carmine from Fiorentina and Jorge Ledesma from Genoa. I've seen both of them in action. They've definitely got ability. It may take them a while to adapt, not because they're young, but because any player coming into this division needs time, regardless of how experienced he is. Blackstock Icons

Tottenham - Friends reunited

Clive Allen is looking forward to crossing swords with his friend and former team-mate Gary Waddock as our Spurs XI travel to Aldershot Town tonight (July 29).

We face last season's Conference champions as they prepare for life back in the Football League at the Recreation Ground for a 7.45pm kick-off.

Clive and Waddock played together at QPR in 1979-1980 and again between 1981-84 before Clive's move to Spurs in 1984.

Waddock went on to make over 200 appearances for Rangers between 1979-1987 and later managed the Hoops for a brief spell before taking over at Aldershot at the start of last season, guiding the Shots to a runaway Conference title and promotion.

"Gary was a fantastic player, a really good lad and I've kept in touch with him over the years," said Clive. "He's done an unbelievably good job at Aldershot, deserved to take them back into the league and I think they will do well next season.

"Few people gave them a chance last season in the Conference but they were runaway winners.

"I saw them a few times, the football they played was excellent and this is an ideal game for us. They are a good footballing side, attack-minded, play out from the back, the wide players are quick and deliver crosses and they are well organised. It will be a good test." Tottenham

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