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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gorkss Happy....Balanta Can be Rare "HomeGrown" Who Actually Makes it at QPR...Post Ipswich Game

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Virgina Media -Gorkss relishing Rs return
QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss is relieved to have put a disappointing start to his Loftus Road career behind him, having cemented his place in the side.
Gorkss, who joined Rangers in the summer after a protracted transfer from Blackpool, struggled for form and fitness initially and found himself out of the side.
But an injury to fellow centre-half Fitz Hall in November prompted boss Paulo Sousa to hand the Latvian a recall and he has not looked back with some commanding displays at the heart of the Hoops' defence.
"I'm really pleased with my form at the moment," he said.
"I still think there's a long way for me to go personally, but I'm quite content with how I have settled into the side.
"The start of the season was very hard for me, but I've got my confidence back now and I'm really looking forward to the run-in." Virgin Media

Virgin Media - Stewart returns for Rs
Damion Stewart is likely to be recalled to the QPR defence for the trip to Cardiff.
The Jamaica international was rested for Saturday's visit of Ipswich, with Fitz Hall stepping into the back-line, but with Rangers slipping to a 3-1 defeat boss Paulo Sousa will be tempted into changes.
Goalkeeper Radek Cerny is still struggling with a hamstring injury so Lee Camp keeps his place in goal.
Striker Heidar Helguson came on during the second half against Ipswich following a calf injury and is pushing for a start.
Sousa must decide whether to take Gavin Mahon out of the firing line after the midfielder and stand-in skipper was barracked by his own fans following a poor display on Saturday.
Spanish midfielder Jordi Lopez is still waiting to make his debut after joining as a free agent last week and could be on the bench but captain Martin Rowlands, fellow midfielder Akos Buzsaky (both knee) and strikers Patrick Agyemang (thigh) and Rowan Vine (leg) are still out. " Virgin Media

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Angelo can be the exception

YOU can count on one hand the number of homegrown players who have fashioned anything resembling a QPR career during the past decade.

But Angelo Balanta is aiming to buck that trend after returning from his successful loan spell at Wycombe to try and nail down a place in the Rangers line-up.

And the teenage forward, who came on as a second-half substitute in the Rs' 3-1 defeat by Ipswich, says he is not worried about being weighed down by the expectation of fans keen to finally see an in-house talent flourish.

"I don't necessarily feel more pressure," Balanta told the Times. "There are people like Romone Rose and Joe Oastler coming through as well, so it isn't just up to me.

"It's about working hard and achieving your goals. Wycombe was a good experience for me - they were top of the league at the time and I got a few games and a few goals under my belt.

"Now I'm back at QPR and I want to get a few games here. Hopefully I'll get my opportunity to play football, because I love it."

The skilful 18-year-old was handed his first-team debut by former QPR boss Luigi de Canio just over a year ago, but has since notched up a further 20 appearances under Iain Dowie and Paulo Sousa.

And Balanta has been greatly encouraged by the words of the present Loftus Road coach since the end of his two and a half month stay with the League Two promotion hopefuls.

"Basically the gaffer said to me 'you're a good player, I don't have to tell you that, but you have to work hard to get in the team because there's a good squad, as you know. Work hard, sooner or later you'll get an opportunity and you have to take it.'

"Obviously you know that they could buy any player realistically, so it was good to hear that the gaffer liked me.

"He prefers to play with two wingers and that suits me as well, coming in off the left flank and getting shots in. But whatever position I end up in, I want to do my best for myself and the team."

Born in Colombia, Balanta grew up in London - and is still eligible for the country of his birth despite earning a recent call-up to the England under-19 squad.

But the youngster's roots are very much in west London and he first came to the attention of QPR while playing Harrow Sunday Youth League football for Fulham-based Brunswick Boys.

"There are a lot of talented footballers out there in the community who don't really get an opportunity," Balanta admitted. "But if they do, I'm sure they'll be keen to take it just as I was."

If Rangers are serious about their 'long-term project', they could certainly do worse than scour the streets and parks of west London to try and unearth a few more Angelo Balantas. Kilburn Times

Richard Langley/Kilburn Times On the Ball

ON Saturday QPR played Ipswich and unfortunately were on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline. With the play-offs in sight, this was a worrying result for all involved.

Games are running out and maintaining good home form is vital for this latter part of the season. With this in mind I can understand the frustrations of the fans.

But what I found concerning was the reaction of a section of fans who seemed disgruntled by the performance of skipper Gavin Mahon. Mahon was at fault for one of the goals and was subject to the boo-boys.

Having played at QPR for as long as I did, I know how loyal the fans are. By no means am I suggesting that this was anything but the minority at Loftus Road, but what these fans need to realise is that their voices will be heard loud and clear by players on the pitch. In my opinion it will do nothing but hinder the progress of the team they claim to support.

As a player, I know that the worst periods of my career have been when I had a drop in form. Getting through that is a tough process, but when you add the negativity of the fans it makes it a lot harder. The barracking of your own player has rarely proved conducive to better form, in my experience.

My point is that, even if Gavin doesn't allow this to affect his performance, there will be some players who will crumble under the pressure of their own fans. This in turn will prove to be detrimental for the team who need that player to be at his best for as much of the game as possible.

We all want to see success at QPR and so the fans need to remember that, at times like this, positivity is the only way to support your team. It is often said that the fans can prove to be the 12th man.

With seven home games remaining, the vocal support from the stands could play a big part in the team's performances.

It is to be hoped that Saturday's behaviour proves to be a one-off for the sake of the play-off push.

Come on you Rs!

IF you have any questions or comments to put to Richard, you can email us at nwl.sport@archant.co.uk Kilburn Times

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Paulo tells players to put it behind them

PAULO Sousa has ordered his players to put Saturday's setback behind them as they attempt to revive their promotion push this week.

QPR's 3-1 defeat by Ipswich was their first loss at Loftus Road since Sousa took charge three months ago - and only their fourth overall in that time.

"The manager's told us not to dwell on it because, if we do that, we're going to achieve nothing this year," Rangers winger Lee Cook told the Times.

"Everyone expected us to beat Ipswich and we were confident as well, but we've had an off day. A goal went in early and maybe we thought it was going to be a walk in the park.

"They were there for the taking and we let ourselves down. I think we were too deep and didn't squeeze enough, so their midfielders were getting too much time on the ball.

"But we've got to put that behind us, wipe it out and concentrate on the next two away games.

"Our away form's been good of late - we won at Blackpool and Derby and should have won at Forest. Hopefully we can get a couple of results to put us back on track."

Rangers travel to face play-off rivals Cardiff City tonight and are on the road again this weekend at struggling Barnsley - where they have failed to win in seven visits. Kilburn Times

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