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Friday, December 12, 2008

Previewing QPR at Plymouth (and Walton and Barker)

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Plymouth Vs QPR

- [See also yesterday's Plymouth/QPR Previews: Next QPR at Plymouth - As Ex-QPR Simon Walton Comes Good?

Plymouth Herald - Walton and Barker prepare to face former club QPR
- MIDFIELDER Simon Walton and defender Chris Barker are set to play against their former club when Argyle take on QPR tomorrow.
The pair were both signed from QPR in the week before the start of this season.
But Pilgrims' boss Paul Sturrock does not believe Barker or Walton will be out to prove a point when the two sides meet.
"Footballers make so many moves in this day and age," said Sturrock. "In the past, if you moved once in your career, then there was an edge to it.
"I don't see the same scenario now, but I'm sure they (Walton and Barker) will want to play well tomorrow – as they do in any game."
Walton signed for QPR from Charlton Athletic in August 2007 but suffered a broken leg in a pre-season friendly.
On his return to full fitness, Walton made five appearances for QPR before spending the second part of last season on loan to Hull City.
His only start for Rangers came when he played at centre-back in a 2-1 defeat against Argyle at Home Park on Boxing Day.
QPR's left-back that afternoon was Barker, who, like Walton, had signed for the west London club in August 2007.
Barker arrived from Cardiff City and went on to make a total of 26 appearances for QPR.
According to Sturrock, Walton has 'a good chance' of starting against Rangers after being recalled for the 1-0 home defeat by Birmingham City on Tuesday.
Walton earned praise for his performance from Sturrock, and the 21-year-old wants to build on that tomorrow.
"There have been a lot of changes since I left QPR, but I enjoyed my time there," said Walton. "It's a good club with good people.
"Obviously, you always want to do well against your old teams, and I'm yet to lose against one of my old teams, so long may that continue."
QPR are ninth in the Championship, four positions above Argyle, going into tomorrow's game.
Walton said: "They are not doing as well as I thought they would do.
"Maybe there is a bit of uncertainty in the players whether they are going to be there from one day to the next, so we have got to take advantage of it.
"But, at the same time, it's there for everybody to see the quality of the players they have got and the potential they have."
Defender Marcel Seip was the clear winner of The Herald's Argyle player-of-the-month award for November.
The Dutch centre-back received 70 per cent of the votes, which were cast on The Herald's website, www.thisisplymouth.co.uk.
Defender Chris Barker was second on 19 per cent and former Belgium international striker Emile Mpenza came third with 11 per cent. Plymouth Herald

Plymouth Herald - Away form threatens Rangers' Premier goal
- FORMULA One tycoons Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone are bankrolling QPR's push for promotion to the Premier League.
- But an appalling away record is threatening their chances of making it into the top flight of English football next season.
- Rangers have been a formidable force at Loftus Road this term, winning eight and drawing one of their 11 home league games.
That includes an impressive 1-0 victory over table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday.
But as good as Rangers have been at Loftus Road, they have been as bad away from their west London home.
They have a record of one win, four draws and six defeats from their 11 Championship away matches and, remarkably, have only scored two goals.
Rangers are ninth in the Championship table after losing 1-0 away to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.
Owls' striker Leon Clarke, the former Argyle loan signing, scored the only goal of the game, after QPR captain Martin Rowlands had a penalty saved by Lee Grant.
Rangers' only away league win this season came on September 17, when the influential Rowlands was on target as they beat Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road.
Since then, QPR have failed to score in eight successive Championship away matches, taking the goal drought on their travels to 777 minutes.
Despite their problems away from Loftus Road, Rangers are still only two points outside a play-off position as the season hits the midway point tomorrow.
Iain Dowie was appointed as QPR manager in the summer but, after only 15 games, he was sacked on October 24.
Player-coach Gareth Ainsworth had a short spell as caretaker boss, winning two and drawing one of his six matches in the role.
Rangers then announced the surprise appointment of former Portugal international midfielder Paulo Sousa on November 19.
The 38-year-old had been working as the assistant coach to Portugal's national team manager Carlos Quieroz.
Sousa had a hugely successful playing career, winning the Champions' League with Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.
He was also capped 51 times by Portugal, but was forced to retire at the age of 31 because of injury.
Now Briatore and Ecclestone have put their faith in Sousa as the man to lead QPR into the Premier League.
Rangers will arrive at Home Park without former Argyle midfielder Akos Buzsaky, who suffered a season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury in a 1-0 Carling Cup defeat at Manchester United last month.
But they will be hoping to have top scorer Dexter Blackstock available again after he sat out the trip to Sheffield Wednesday.
The former Argyle loan signing had to be substituted in the first half of the victory over Wolves because of a back injury, and he did not recover in time for the game at Hillsborough.
Rangers' attack was led by Patrick Agyemang and Iceland international striker Heidar Helguson, who is on loan from Bolton Wanderers. Plymouth Herald

Plymouth Herald
JIM PATERSON has admitted Argyle are desperate to pick up three points when Queens Park Rangers are the visitors to Home Park tomorrow.
The Pilgrims have dropped from seventh to 13th position in the Championship after three consecutive defeats and want to put a halt to that slide.
Argyle were beaten 1-0 by Birmingham City at Home Park on Tuesday, despite outplaying their promotion-chasing opponents for most of the match.
But Paterson, one of the Pilgrims' most versatile players, believes they can take a lot of encouragement out of their performance against the Blues.
It was a massive improvement on their dismal display when they lost 1-0 away to Doncaster Rovers last Saturday.
Paterson said: "There were a lot of disappointed players, and a lot of disappointed fans, after the Doncaster game.
"We let the manager (Paul Sturrock) down, so it was important against Birmingham we showed that we could play and fight.
"We were disappointed not to get anything from it, but we are going into a massive game tomorrow. We have lost the last three so, basically, we need to pick up three points."
Argyle have struggled for results at Home Park this season, but have impressed against three of the top six clubs.
They drew 2-2 with table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening day, and beat Cardiff City 2-1 in a Sky-televised clash in November before pushing Birmingham all the way.
Paterson is hoping for a repeat of that against QPR, who have been widely tipped as contenders for promotion to the Premier League.
He said: "Wolves came here and we got a 2-2 draw. Birmingham are also up there and we showed we could more than match them on the night.
"QPR will be a difficult game. I saw them on the TV last Saturday, when they beat Wolves 1-0, and they played some good stuff.
"But we know every game in the Championship is hard, and we are looking forward to it – especially picking up three points."
Paterson had been an unused substitute for six successive matches before he was recalled for the defeat at Doncaster.
The 29-year-old was picked to play on the right of midfield – not his natural position – and ended up swapping sides with Chris Clark during the first half.
He was eventually substituted in the 77th minute, when he was replaced by winger Craig Noone.
Paterson said: "I was disappointed with myself on Saturday because I have been busting for a chance and I didn't play as well as I could have, but I think a lot of the boys were like that.
"So I was delighted to get the nod again on Tuesday, and, hopefully, I have done enough to keep my place for tomorrow."
Paterson started on the left of midfield against Birmingham and the tenacious Scot provided a series of excellent crosses from that position.
However, he insisted he was prepared to play anywhere Sturrock wanted him to.
Paterson said: "I prefer to be on the left, but when we went to Sheffield Wednesday (and won 1-0 on October 28) I was on the right and it worked.
"It all started last season, away to Southampton, when we beat them 2-0 and I scored one of the goals from the right."
Paterson added: " I will play anywhere for the team – the manager knows that – but, yes, the left side is my favourite." Plymouth Herald

[Some may sneer; but sounds very nice]

Plymouth Herald
Friday, December 12, 2008, 07:00
Comment on this story

UNDER-18s can get into Home Park tomorrow for only £1, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
The ticket prices in The Herald Family Area (block one of the Devonport End) have also been reduced for Argyle's last home match before Christmas.
A Tandem Ticket, for one adult and one under-18, has been cut from £26 to £20, and a Four-Up Ticket, for two adults and two under-18s, is £40 instead of £52.
For under-18s not accompanied by an adult, a ticket will cost £7 if bought before close of business today and £8 tomorrow.
Usual admission prices will apply for adults, over-65s and under-23s.
Tickets for all Argyle matches are available from the box office at Home Park (telephone 0845 338 7232) or the Centre Spot at Drake Circus.
The programme price is £3.
THE Herald Family Area will be decked out in a Christmas theme tomorrow and, rumour has it, there may be a visit from Santa Claus!
There will also be a fancy dress competition, with Argyle offering a fantastic mystery prize to the winner, as well as two tickets for a forthcoming game to the runner-up.
Youngsters are encouraged to come along as anything Christmas related, ranging from a shepherd and his donkey, to a reindeer, or even Santa Claus.
Everybody is welcome to wear fancy dress, but only those sitting in The Herald Family Area can enter the competition.
THE Salvation Army will play seasonal carols before the game against QPR, and at half-time.
Meanwhile, Argyle are holding their annual Christmas Carol Concert at Home Park on Monday (7pm).
The open-air event, which is staged in the Devonport End, has been a huge success over recent years and the club are hoping for another evening of festive fun.
There will be the usual favourite Christmas carols and readings by Argyle personalities, including striker Rory Fallon.
There is also expected to be a visit from the only man allowed to wear a red kit at Home Park – Santa Claus. Plymouth Herald

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