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Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Pointing to Ainsworth for Permanent Appointment...Chopra?

Telegraph/ Sandy Macaskill - Birmingham City test next for Queens Park Rangers caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth

Despite being given the public backing of his chairman, Flavio Briatore, at the weekend, the pressure will be on Queens Park Rangers caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth when his side come up against Championship leaders Birmingham on Tuesday night, now he has been informed that he stands every chance of being given the full-time job.
- In pole position: QPR caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth has been told he is in the running for the job on a full-time basis Photo: JASON DAWSON
- Ainsworth was put in charge of the team last week after the club terminated Iain Dowie's contract just 15 games into his tenure. Initial suspicions were that Ainsworth's appointment would be temporary, with Terry Venables and former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini lined up as potential replacements, but Briatore is understood to be keen to keep the winger in his new role.
-Ainsworth will, therefore, be hoping to build on his first result with the club, an important draw with Reading at the weekend which will no doubt have brought him fresh confidence from the board.
However, the Birmingham fixture represents a far greater challenge: QPR were defeated 1-0 when the two sides met a little over three weeks ago at St Andrews.
Of particular interest for Rangers fans will be the team selection. Dowie was thought to have named the starting eleven to face Reading at training on the Friday morning before being fired, yet the Italian Samuel di Carmine was chosen over Dexter Blackstock, a move interpreted by some as a sign that Briatore has exerted some influence over team affairs.
It is not the first time that Briatore has been accused of becoming involved at dressing-room level – Dowie's relationship with the Italian is understood to have been strained by his interference, especially with regard to the transfer market.
Ainsworth will have to do without Damien Delaney, who is suspended after collecting five yellow cards this season.

Birmingham, meanwhile, are looking to consolidate their league position after wins against Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday. They may have been fortunate to get a result against Palace, when Garry O'Connor scored after four minutes of added time, but their prowess in attack against Wednesday will stand them in good stead against QPR.
Manager Alex McLeish has hinted that after a series of striker rotations this season O'Connor and Kevin Phillips will feature over James McFadden, Cameron Jerome and Marcus Bent up front.
O'Connor has finally started to convert his promise on the practice pitch to performance on match days. He has long been the best goalscorer in training, according to McLeish, but now he is converting that to goals when they count.
McLeish said: "I don't think people realise that he is a decent player. He's the best finisher in the club, and now he's showing it at Birmingham after doing it at Hibs and in Moscow. Another pleasing feature is that he's now linking up well with Kevin Phillips."
David Murphy, out with a thigh injury, could return, but McLeish is unlikely to make any changes, especially after beating Wednesday 3-1. Telegraph

Snippet at the Mail re Chopra
"...Mancienne has been on loan at Queens Park Rangers, who are on the trail of Sunderland striker Michael Chopra on loan with a view to a permanent £2.5million move." Mail

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