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Friday, November 07, 2008

Chopra: Why Not QPR

Western Mail/Gareth Rogers - Chopra finding it’s like friends reunited being back at City
-"Hot Shot Michael Chopra chose the familiarity of Cardiff over the bright lights of Queens Park Rangers for Dave Jones and his old friends Roger Johnson and Stephen McPhail.
- The Sunderland striker, who left Ninian Park 18 months ago after a successful stint which yielded 22 goals in 42 games, sensationally returned yesterday after a tug-of-war between the Bluebirds and the big-spending London outfit.
- On his first day of training at the club’s Vale of Glamorgan base, the striker, who hopes to boost Dave Jones’ promotion push during his initial two-month spell, said: “QPR came in for me and I spoke to my good friend Peter Ramage, who plays for them. He was desperate to get me down there.
- “I also spoke to Roger (Johnson) quite a lot and he was trying to get me to come here.
- “People talk about all the money that QPR have but in my eyes they didn’t really have the structure at the club. They didn’t have a manager.

“I thought about going to QPR but I was worried about what would happen if a new manager came in and doesn’t like me.
- “I also thought that being in London wouldn’t really help me, especially when I have just tried to sort out a lot of personal problems. Going to London might have been a bad time for me.

- “I spoke to Dave Jones and he said that he would keep me under wraps and look after me. The relationship that I’ve got with him helps a lot.
- “He spoke to me on the phone and he was getting Roger (Johnson) to ring me and try to persuade me to come to Cardiff when he knew there was a chance of me going on loan.”
- Since Chopra left in August 2007, things have changed at Cardiff City. The new stadium is nearly completed at Leckwith and the team are now based in plush surroundings at their Vale of Glamorgan training ground, but it’s the familiarity of people like Jones, Johnson and his old friend McPhail that he is looking forward to during his second spell.
- The former Newcastle United and Barnsley striker said: “It’s good because I know all the lads and hopefully I can fit in nicely.”
- Of under-fire midfielder McPhail, Chopra said: “I’ve spoken to Steve and whether he has lost form or whatever, he is still a great player.
- We played for a year together at Barnsley before joining Cardiff and we got on really well together and we know how each other plays.
- Just because people have been saying he has had one or two bad games, it doesn’t mean he should be out of the team.
- “He’s a fantastic player, you just need to look at what he did for me when I was first here. Probably half of my goals came from him.
- “It’s a connection that you have with players. I believe from training with him that we’ll get that connection back pretty quickly.
- “It’s amazing how much things have moved on at Cardiff since I left. Two years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to train on rainy days because the pitches would have been waterlogged.
- “Now it’s brilliant that the club are moving forward. I’ve seen the stadium, it looks fantastic. Hopefully the lads can get the team into the Premiership next year.”
- Now the Geordie goal-ace is looking forward to renewing his love affair with the Bluebirds fans after polishing his game in the Premier League.
-“It will be great if they are like they were last year, singing songs about me. It gives me a massive buzz when I’m playing on the pitch,” he added.
-“Now I’m desperate to get out there and get that first goal. Once the first one comes that will be me off and running.
- “Last time it took me three games to get a goal here, so I hope everyone will just be patient until I get that first one.
- “The best way to build fitness, sharpness and confidence is to play week in, week out and that is why I have come here and I am determined to take this opportunity.”
- Chopra, who lived in Cardiff with his model wife Heather, during his last stint in South Wales, says he has no doubts about coming back.
- He said: “I made the decision because I like to have challenges in life.
- “Now my challenge is to do better here than I did last time and I am sure I can do that.”
- Despite the initial loan deal covering the two months that injured strikers Jay Bothroyd and Ross McCormack could be out for, Chopra hasn’t ruled out a longer stay at Ninian Park, saying: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. You would have to speak to the manager and the chairman about that.
- “I have just been told that for now I’m on loan for a couple of months and then they’re going to take it from there after that. But I’m just happy to be here and happy to be playing football again.”
- But even though the striker has temporarily left Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, he is full of praise for manager Roy Keane and expressed his gratitude for being allowed to return to Wales to work on his game, saying: “I’m grateful for being given the chance to go away and sort myself out.
- “As the weeks were going on I was getting disappointed at not playing football. I want to score goals and I spoke to him a few times about going on loan, but I was told to be patient.”
- With the words that will please all Cardiff fans, a delighted Chopra said: “Now I’m just happy to be here and happy that I am going to be playing football.” Western Mail

The Journal/Luke Edwards- Bluebirds looking to keep Chopra
CARDIFF City manager Dave Jones has admitted he still has a lot of work to do to persuade Michael Chopra to make his move back to Wales a permanent one.
Chopra, who is still hero worshipped at Ninian Park, has rejoined the Bluebirds on loan until the end of December and Jones has already indicated he will look to sign him when the January transfer window opens.
But, although Sunderland have agreed to let the 24-year-old leave on loan, Cardiff know that is only half the battle won as they have not agreed a transfer fee to make the deal permanent and they still do not know if Chopra is willing to move back down to the Championship.
Chopra scored 22 goals in 42 games during his one season in south Wales before signing for Sunderland for £5m in August last year and is desperate to remain in the top flight.
Jones said: “We would like to think that Chops would want to sign for us permanently, but he also wants to play in the Premier League. We’ve got to try to be in the situation where we can tempt him with that, but it’s up to Sunderland as well. There are lots of things involved.
We’ve been working hard on it over the last two months. Roy (Keane) initially said ‘come back in January’, so I’m grateful to him for letting me have Michael back.
This is the third time we have tried to sign him. The first time Roy said they had a couple of knocks and he wouldn’t let him go. The second time he was in rehab, but we have kept working away and I know a few of the lads have been on the phone to Michael every day trying to get him to come back. We knew there was also interest from QPR, but we have gone back to Sunderland cap in hand and they have let him come. It’s a massive boost for the entire club and has given everyone a lift. I would have personally throttled him if he had gone to QPR instead of us.”
Keane’s decision to allow Chopra to leave has been a tricky one for the Black Cats boss. Although the former Newcastle prospect has only started one game this season, he has still scored two goals in six games, just one less than top goalscorer Djibril Cissé, who has made five more appearances.
Keane has always spoken highly of Chopra as a goalscorer, even though he was apparently unwilling to give him a run in the side in a central role.
Much of his football on Wearside has been played on the right wing and The Journal understands it was Chopra’s frustration at a lack of first-team opportunities which led to the move.
The forward was particularly upset when he was left out of the side having scored the winner against Middlesbrough in September and has been to see Keane several times to ask whether he would be allowed to leave.
And Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale is determined to persuade him to sign for Cardiff again, particularly as Jones lost both top scorer Ross McCormack and strike partner Jay Bothroyd to hamstring injuries last Saturday in the 2-1 home defeat by Wolves.
Ridsdale said: “Anything is possible in football, clearly it’s (the loan) deliberately taking us to the 1st of January so our options are open. We have discussed whether a permanent move might be a possibility or indeed an extended loan period.
“We’ve been monitoring his (Chopra’s) progress at Sunderland for some time. I went to watch Stoke and Sunderland last Wednesday and spoke to Niall Quinn at the time about what their intentions were for Michael.
“But I wasn’t thinking of immediately, I was thinking more perhaps of the January transfer window and then of course events on Saturday made us try to accelerate a move and I’m delighted to say we’ve got him.”....” Journal

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