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Saturday, September 20, 2008

QPR vs Coventry - Previews and Memories

After two successive victories on the field (including the great win at Norwich), and the uproar over the announced increase in ticket prices, QPR return to the field, with a tough game at Ian Dowie's recent team, Coventry City. Coventry's playing squad --- Coventry's Results : After winning their opening three games (including one in the cup), Coventry then lost three and then drew two...so a draw it is!

Among the players who've played for both teams: John O'Rourke, John Beck, Gerry Francis and Garry Bannister. And of course Dave Sexton managed both teams; while ex-Coventry Manager, Bobby Gould was briefly a coach at QPR (and in fact Gould resigned as Coventry manager after a five goal loss against QPR) And of course, Iain Dowie. Best memories: Clive Allen's (full) debut hatrick against Coventry in 1979; Jim Smith's QPR winning at Coventry to go top; and a last second free kick winner (3-2) by Stan Bowles at Loftus Road in the FA Cup Fifth Round Replay, back in 1974. Among the worst: The double Coventry got over QPR in QPR's 1968/69 First Division season (including the 5-0 loss at Coventry)

QPR last played Coventry in March when the two teams drew 0-0 in Coventry: The two teams for that last game: QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Ainsworth 91), Connolly, Agyemang (Blackstock 86), Ephraim, Vine, Hall, Leigertwood. Subs: Barker, Stewart, Pickens.
Coventry: Marshall, Fox, Ward, Hughes, Doyle, Osbourne, Mifsud, Tabb (Gray 76), Best, Dann, Thornton. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Hall, Andrews, Simpson. QPR-Coventr Reports and Comments -- See: Past results between QPR and Coventry

CHRIS Coleman's Sky Blues entertain former City manager Iain Dowie's Queen's Park Rangers side at the Ricoh Arena tomorrow in Dowie's first return to Coventry since his departure from the club in February this year.
QPR are one of the form teams in the Championship at the moment with four wins from their opening six league games pushing them up to fourth in the league table.
They also brushed aside Swindon Town and Carlisle United in their first and second round Carling Cup clashes to set up a third round clash away to Premiership outfit and one of City's Midland rivals Aston Villa on Wednesday.
The Loftus Road outfit have managed to fashion a lively start to their Championship campaign, a start which has gone hand in hand with the recent rejuvenation of the club following a multi-million-pound takeover by Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and team boss Flavio Briatore last summer.
Rangers boss Dowie has been tasked with an assault on the top six of the Championship this year and brought in former Watford midfielder Gavin Mahon and ex-Blackpool defender Kaspars Gorkss to help bolster his inherited squad.
The club also secured a trio of loan signings this summer in young Real Madrid midfielder Daniel Parejo, Argentinian and Genoa striker Emmanuel Ledesma and Fulham midfielder Lee Cook.
City boss Chris Coleman will be hoping for a repeat of the form the Sky Blues showed in their two meetings with QPR last season, with a goalless draw at the Ricoh Arena and a 2-1 victory at Loftus Road courtesy of goals from Michael Mifsud and a last-minute Kevin Kyle winner.
Coleman will no doubt be well briefed on Rangers dangerman Dexter Blackstock though who has netted five of QPR's 17 goals in eight games in all competitions so far this season.
Coventry will still be without long-term injured Stephen Wright for Saturday's clash but Coleman said the rest of his squad who featured in Tuesday night's draw at Bramll Lane came through the encounter unscathed..."
Coventry Official

Iain Dowie returns to former Club Coventry City for the first time on Saturday afternoon, as the R's make the short trip up to the Ricoh Arena.
Dowie was sacked as Sky Blues boss in February following Ray Ranson's arrival at the Ricoh Arena and - buoyed by the R's midweek victory at Norwich City - the Rangers boss will be keen to prove a point on his return to the West Midlands.
Dowie's old charges, under the guidance of former Fulham boss Chris Coleman, have endured a mixed start to the campaign, with eight points from their six fixtures to date.
City currently occupy 11th place in the Championship table, but they are without a win in their previous four fixtures in all competitions.
The Sky Blues got out of the starting blocks in scintillating style, with back-to-back league victories against Norwich City and Barnsley sending them to the summit of the second tier.
A win against Football League newcomers Aldershot Town also set them on their way in the Carling Cup, but since then, their fine early season form has escaped them.
A heavy 3-0 home defeat to Bristol City brought them crashing back down to earth with a bump and when Newcastle United dumped them out of the Cup four days later, City's season began to take an unexpected turn for the worse.
Doncaster Rovers inflicted more pain with a 1-0 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium, only for City to respond with creditable back-to-back draws against in-form Preston North End and much-fancied Sheffield United.
Team News
Chris Coleman looks set to stick with an unchanged side.
Leon McKenzie picked up a knock in the 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane on Tuesday and was substituted at half-time, but the forward should be fit.
Midfielder Guillaume Beuzelin, meanwhile, has recovered from a calf injury, but Michael Doyle and Aron Gunnarsson are set to keep their places in the heart of the Sky Blues' midfield. QPR

Coventry Telegraph/Andy Turner - Big Match Preview: Coventry City v QPR
THE arrival of a gaggle of billionaires at Loftus Road has theoretically given Iain Dowie a blank cheque.
But the former Sky Blues boss is relying on the priceless assets of team spirit and hard work to maintain QPR's push for the Premier League.
Those qualities were on show at Carrow Road on Wednesday as Rangers wrested a valuable 1-0 victory despite being reduced to 10 men in the 25th minute when Matthew Connolly received his second yellow card.
Five minutes later Martin Rowlands fired them in front with a brilliant 20-yard free-kick. And they soaked up intense second-half pressure to clinch maximum points and leave Dowie beaming: "I like the smell of the dressing room here - there are some good characters in there, some good leaders.
"It's a very pleasing result, much more pleasing than Sunday when we beat Southampton 4-1 because this was a real backs to the wall team effort.
"All 10 men who stayed on did an excellent job, as did the substitutes. I'm delighted for the lads.
"We got our goal and then defended superbly, while we could have easily have gone further ahead ourselves.
"It's not as if I have got to come in here and talk about a lot of Radek Cerny's saves. We restricted them to very few clear chances.
Defender Damian Stewart played the full 90 minutes despite having suffered a clash of heads in training the previous day.
"I went against the doctor's advice to play him, which worried me a little bit," confirmed Dowie, "because Damian picked up a touch of concussion after a clash of heads.
"Rather than make a quick decision I just sent him away to rest and fortunately when he got up in the morning he was bright eyed and bushy tailed.
"I'm glad I went with my instinct because Damian was superb as were all the back four."
Kaspars Gorkss, a substitute at Carrow Road, will replace the suspended Connolly tomorrow.
Fitz Hall has recovered from the groin injury that has sidelined him since the first match of the season but Dowie confirmed. "It's a game too soon for him."

THE Oxford-born striker is looking increasingly like the finished article since Iain Dowie's arrival and has snapped up five goals in seven goals to date this season. Coventry Telegraph

Iain Dowie insists he has 'no regrets' about his time at The Ricoh Arena, as the R's prepare for another important away day against his former Club, Coventry City.
Buoyed by Wednesday's 1-0 victory at Carrow Road, the R's gaffer told www.qpr.co.uk: "I look back on my time at Coventry with no regrets.
"Other people came in and they had their own ideas, and that is fair enough.
"I had a good time there and was very pleased with the job I did, given that the Club were on the verge of administration a couple of times and the players weren't being paid.
"We survived a relegation dog-fight and enjoyed great success in the Cup competitions a season later.
"(Coventry Manager) Chris Coleman is a very good friend of mine and I'm sure he'll do well there."
Dowie is relishing the opportunity to take his in-form side to the West Midlands - and is hoping for a good reception from the Sky Blues faithful.
"I had a good relationship with the supporters at Coventry and I'm looking forward to going back there.
"We need to make sure we're tough to beat; difficult to break down. We proved we can do it at Bristol City and again at Norwich on Wednesday, and now we need to prove we can do it again." QPR

Coventry Telegraph/Andy Turner - No favours for mate Iain Dowie says Chris Coleman
CHRIS COLEMAN is aiming to put one over old team-mate Iain Dowie when the former Coventry City boss makes his first return to the Ricoh Arena tomorrow.
"We have played against each other many times and roomed together at Crystal Palace so we have been friends for a long time," said Coleman, who is set to name an unchanged side against high-flying Queens Park Rangers.
"It is difficult because I have come into a club that he was running and we have both got our own ideas - if things had been reversed, I am sure he would have changed things that I had been doing.
"But there is no problem with Iain whom I have always had a good relationship with. I also played with Tim Flowers at Blackburn and we have always kept in touch as well.
"I was only 24 or 25 when I was playing in the same team as Iain - he is a bit older than me and he looks older than me as well!
"He was a very aggressive striker, very strong and demanding and he came to Palace and we nearly stayed up. He moved on to West Ham and I went to Blackburn.

"He is a good manager and it is nice to see he is doing well at QPR. I have followed his managerial career, as I am sure he will have followed mine, so it will be nice to see him but there will be no favours given out either way.

"We were the same when we played against each other - it was very physical between us and our swords crossed a lot, even when we were in the same team, because that's our personalities.

"We have smashed each other once or twice on the pitch and, as you can see, he came off worse. But we have always been good friends and after the game I imagine he will come in for a beer - hopefully after we have done the business."
Coleman is unsure of the type of welcome Dowie will get back at the Ricoh. "There might be a bit of this and that going on from the fans but I don't think the reception will worry Iain," he said. "It wouldn't worry me.
"It's nice if you get some show of appreciation when you go back to an old club, but if you get booed you just close your ears."
As for Dowie's team, he said: "QPR won again on Wednesday night with 10 men away to Norwich and it is almost like a bandwagon rolling there. The owners are worth a lot of money and until the Man City lot came in they were the richest lot in the country.
"They are playing with a lot of confidence because they have only lost one game in six, having won four, drawn one and lost one. We have only lost two, albeit we have drawn two, but anyone can beat anyone in this league.
"But it is not about QPR, it is about Coventry City getting into the game early doors and matching them and more.
"There is a tendency to protect 0-0 at home and that's a false sense of security, so we have got to step forward and go for the win and that's what we have got to do tomorrow.

"I don't think we will change much. We know QPR will come and play 4-2-3-1, basically the way we played against Preston where the man in the hole can cause problems - but it is really difficult for me and I would have to be really harsh on the players to leave them out.
"Guillaume Beuzelin had cramp last Saturday so we rested him at Sheffield but we had Michael Doyle and Aron Gunnarsson in there and they were fantastic." Coventry Telegraph

Coventry Telegraph/Andy Turner - Iain Dowie has no axe to grind at Coventry City
IAIN DOWIE insists he has 'no regrets' about his spell in charge of Coventry as he prepares to return there with QPR tomorrow.
The Rangers boss was sacked last February after almost exactly a year in charge, during which he guided them to memorable cup wins at Manchester United and Blackburn.

But Dowie, who has reassembled his Coventry backroom team - assistant Tim Flowers and performance manager John Harbin - at Loftus Road, feels his record at the Ricoh Arena stands up to scrutiny.

"I look back on my time at Coventry with no regrets, but other people come in and they've got their own ideas, which is fair enough," he said.

"I had a great time there and I was very pleased with the job I did, given that the club were on the verge of administration a couple of times and the players weren't being paid.
"We staved off relegation, which was a real danger at one stage, and then the cup runs the following season were fantastic. To go to Manchester United in the Carling Cup and win 2-0 was incredible and we should have beaten West Ham in the next round as well.
"To have 11,000 fans shouting for us at Old Trafford was something special - and I'll be hoping for the same from the QPR fans when we go to Aston Villa next week.
"Some of the players we brought in have done really well - Leon Best, Dan Fox and Scott Dann, for instance - and I think they've got a good squad now.
"Chris Coleman's a very good friend of mine and I'm sure he'll do well there. I had a good relationship with the Coventry supporters and I'm looking forward to going there on Saturday, as we all are.
"We need to make sure we're difficult to beat and if we play with the same tenacity we've shown in our last two away games, I'm sure we'll get a result..."
Cpventry Telegraph

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