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Friday, January 28, 2011

QPR Report Friday: Next Hull and Hull Perspective...Then Portsmouth...Cooke and Clarke?...New Job for Ex-QPR Physiotherapist

The Springett Brothers, Ron and Peter: Enlarged Photo I Enlarged Photo II
Throughout the day, updates, comments and perspectives re QPR and football in general are posted and discussed on the QPR Report Messageboard...Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- Note this is the 35th Anniversary of QPR's 1975/76 Season (Hopefully QPR will Commemorate the anniversary)

Daily Mail/Jeremy Butler: "QPR run rule over Nice guy Cantareil-QPR boss Neil Warnock has taken Nice left-back Alain Cantareil on trial. The 27-year-old defender is available on a free transfer. Mail

- Hull Previews & Stats

- Holloway Gets a Cut and defended by Marc Bircham


Matt Wilson from Vital Hull () very kindly agreed to answer my Q&A prior to the Hull-QPR game. Very many thanks to Matt

Starting simply: How long have you supported Hull? And how long have you been involved with the Vital Hull Website? (How do you get on with the other Hull fan sites: Are there any serious inter-Hull Messageboard conflicts (as there certainly are between certain QPR boards)?
I have been the editor of Vital Hull for just over 5 years, it's a fantastic network that has grown steadily over the years and provided competition to the more established sites. There are 5 established Hull forums, each catering for a different type of fan. There is inevitable rivalry but I think all users get along in the most part. I started supporting City following from my Dad so have followed the club all my life, regularly attending from the age of 8.

Do Hull have one (or two) special rivals? If so, Is it a mild dislike or a viceral hatred? (and do supporters of those clubs feel the same way about Hull)?
Our local rivals are Sc**thorpe United and Grimsby Town, but our main rivals have always been viewed as Leeds United or Sheffield United. Only Sc**thorpe have a real interest in Hull as a rival - the other Yorkshire clubs focusing on each other instead, Robert K

What do you think of your current manager? What did you think of his predecessor?
Nigel Pearson has steadily imporved an inhenrently poor squad after the Brown / Dowie relegation campaign. He has worked astutely in the transfer market, bringing the likes of Koren and Rosenion in on free deals while ensuring high earners were taken off the wage bill. Six months in, a good job as City manager so far.

What do you think of the current Hull Chairman and Board of Directors? WHY are they involved with Hull? What do you expect? Could they realistically have done more to have kept you up last season (after a remarkable first season)?
Our Chairman sold the club in November and the new owners Assem and Ehab Allam have moved quickly to invest in the playing squad. We spent above our means in the Premier League, offering poor players too good deals. Greater financial control should have been exerted to avoid the troubles we had this season, which nearly led to administration.

Are you disappointed with how Hull are doing this season? In your heart of hearts, did you really expect promotion this season? Do you expect to improve? (You seem to be surging now; Simpson is scoring finally...and you just bought a couple of additional strikers)
I expected us to be challenging nearer the top but after the poor start and off the field struggles, we've steadily improved as new faces have been brought in. I am quite content at this moment in time, but wins against QPR and Leeds in the space of three days will give hope of a late play-off push. Two defeats, and mid-table may await.

Who are you Dangermen/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?
Robert Koren can be our creative spark in midfield, while Matty Fryatt has impressed since joining from Leicester City. Both are key figures in City's attacking play, while Cameron Stewart provides an additional threat on the opposite flank.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?
Promotion: QPR & Forest / Play-off's: Watford.
Relegation: Preston, Sc**thorpe & Derby County

What is your view and the general Hull view of QPR (If we even feature in your consciousness)?
There have been slight undertones in our matches since we met in 2005 but there is little feeling otherwise.

Over the years: A few shared players including Simpson.
Jay Simpson struggled for goals when he arrived, failing to score in 15 appearances and then netting 4 in two games. He has lost his place to Mclean and Fryatt in recent weeks and is now on the bench, being used sparingly. He is yet to really impress in the black and amber shirt of The Tigers.

I think back to QPR and Hull of the mid and late 1960s. Hull were the first game of the season after our humiliating relegation from the old Division One. (QPR won 3-0) against Terry Neil's Hull! I guess the one especially jarring moment for QPR fans was a couple of years back, when some Hull fans seemed to be mocking the London bombing (7/11)
My recent memories always involved QPR having a new manager when the teams met at Loftus Road. At the KC, we seem to have a decent record, including a late and memorable 2-1 victory thanks to late goals from Stuart Elliott.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of PastHull-QPR Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player over the years? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?
Neil Warnock is a good manager but does not endear himself to the opposition; over recent years, I was a fan of Akos Buzsaky and wouldn't have minded his attacking prowess in a City side.

We've both had narrow by the teeth survival - QPR were in administration and in the (old) Third Division...Hull were in the (old) Fourth Division and then climbed back up. Do you think that gives a certain sense of perspective re the importance of success vs Failures versus just surviving?
It makes you appreciate the better times more often; having watched City nearer the bottom of a table more often than the top, it made me appreciate the Premier League years and the successes of the years prior to that.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?
I'd have rather played you in December as arranged but, if we get off to a good start; I think we can find the victory we need.


- Where, realistically, do you think Hull will be in five years time?
- Do you have any advice for QPR fans, in the event that we do go up? (Spend more/spend less; keep the manager; change the manager, etc)
- What do you think of your new stadium? Who actually paid for it? Who actually owns it? It seems that your attendance went up with the new stadium. (There's been talk of QPR moving to a new stadium, so there's an interest in the experience of others)

Once again, very many thanks Vital Hull's Matt Wilson

Skysports - Clarke poised for Preston loan

Skysports.com understand Preston are set to sign Leon Clarke on loan from QPR until the end of the season.

Clarke has been linked with a move away from Loftus Road during this month's transfer window, with the striker thought to be seeking regular first-team action.

The 25-year-old has found playing time limited at high-flying Rangers this season, taking a back-seat to the likes of Heidar Helguson and Tommy Smith.

A number of Championship clubs have been linked with a move for the former Sheffield Wednesday man and it now seems North End have emerged as the frontrunners to secure his signature.

Clarke, who arrived at Rangers from Hillsborough last year, has made just two league starts for the Championship leaders this season, and has failed to find the back of the net. Skysports

The STAR - Wednesday face fight in loan bid for QPR winger
Fri Jan 28

ALAN Irvine has admitted that he faces competition in his attempt to borrow QPR winger Lee Cook.

He has also revealed that he would like to sign Cook on loan for the rest of the season.

That would mean a deal having to be done before next Monday’s closure of the January transfer window.

The loan market reopens a week after that but only emergency loans are allowed then and there would be a possibility of the Owls not being able to keep the player for the whole of their remaining campaign.

“There are a number of clubs who have made inquiries,” said Irvine, who has made one of his own. “They’ll be looking at it to see how good a deal they can get.

“He’s on quite big wages and they [QPR] will be looking to recoup that as much as they can. There’s a certain level we would go to.”

The Owls boss spoke of his admiration for the 28-year-old’s ability: “He’s an unfortunate lad; he’s had some bad injuries; it’s a real shame, because he’s a talented footballer.

“He’s intelligent, with a sweet left foot, he’s a nice crosser of the ball, with good delivery from set-pieces.

“Without the injuries, he would have had a very successful career.”

Irvine has also been linked with Portsmouth’s Richard Hughes. He says he is aware of the experienced midfield player’s situation but has not made an inquiry.

He explained: “He’s in a strange position: if he plays one more game or appears on a team sheet, I think, he gets a new contract at a fairly high level.

“We’re aware of him. I know his dad - he did a bit of scouting for Everton in Italy. He [the player] is on wages we can’t afford. I’ve not contacted anybody at Portsmouth about him...” The Star

New Appointment for QPR's Former Physiotherapist, Prav (Parabhat) Mathema

Welsh Rugby Union Appoints National Performance Medical Manager
Prabhat (Prav) Mathema -
The Welsh Rugby Union has appointed the former British & Irish Lions physiotherapist Prabhat (Prav) Mathema as their new National Performance Medical Manager.

Mathema will assume full time responsibility for the running of the Wales national squad medical department as one of three physiotherapists and also oversee medical matters throughout WRU teams.

He is appointed after an Elite Performance and Medical Review conducted last season and he takes up the position on Monday, 14 February.

He joins the Wales national set-up from his position as head physiotherapist of London Wasps, but first worked with the majority of the Wales national coaching team and a significant number of the players on the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

Before joining Wasps in the summer of 2007, when he saw the club win the Guinness Premiership title in his first season, Mathema worked as a physiotherapist for Queens Park Rangers Football Club for eight years and during that time experienced a play-off final and promotion.

The 33-year-old career medical professional graduated from Brunel University in London and holds a BSc in Physiotherapy amongst a variety of other relevant qualifications.

“Prav made an impression on everyone on the Lions tour with his professional manner, his energy and his expertise,” said Wales coach Warren Gatland.

“A number of the Welsh players built a close working relationship with Prav on that trip and he comes to us highly recommended from many sources and he will be an asset to the team.”

Mathema said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of joining the WRU and working not just with the Welsh national squad but at all levels in Welsh rugby.

“My experiences on the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour was a really positive one and the Welsh players were probably the group I worked the most with and related to most.

“From that point of view I’m excited about working with what was a great bunch of players again and maintaining and developing the high standards of physiotherapy and medical treatment in Welsh rugby. Welsh Rugby Union

Portsmouth Official Site - Rangers Report

by Mark Storey

A trip to league leaders QPR on Tuesday may not seem ideal for a Pompey side without a win in eight games.

But it could be just the kind of encounter to lift the Blues out of their slump, because the tougher the games this season, the better they seem to do.

Pompey have won seven times against sides in the top half of the Championship – but beaten just one team in the bottom dozen.

Steve Cotterill’s side have lost at three of the bottom four clubs – Preston, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United.

But they won 2-0 at third-placed Norwich and 2-1 at fourth-placed Swansea and have also triumphed over Nottingham Forest, Watford, Millwall, Leicester and Hull.

The trend was encapsulated by two games in four days at Fratton Park in November.

On the Tuesday night Pompey were outstanding against table-toppers QPR, who only scraped a 1-1 draw thanks to a controversial Tommy Smith penalty in injury-time. But they followed that up on the Saturday with a 3-2 defeat at home to Doncaster.

This season Pompey have made the better sides in the division look ordinary but looked ordinary against the strugglers.

Pompey’s visit to Loftus Road is their first since a goalless draw in November 2000, the last game Andy Awford, the Blues’ new academy manager, played before retiring.

Awford cleared one off the line that day as an orange-shirted Pompey side took home a point that proved crucial that season, with relegation only avoided thanks to a 3-0 win over Barnsley on the final day.

QPR went down, returning to the Championship in 2004 and only emerging as a force this term after several seasons of underachievement.

The appointment of Neil Warnock in March last year has been the key to their upturn in fortunes.

Rangers have been top all season with just one defeat at home, to Watford in December, a result that ended a 19-game unbeaten start to the league campaign.

If Warnock has been the motivating force off the pitch then Adel Taraabt has been the inspiration on it.

At times the Moroccan may be over-indulgent and give the ball away in dangerous places, and Pompey certainly smothered him at Fratton Park.

But Taraabt does possess the brilliance to win games almost single-handedly. In QPR’s last home match, against Coventry, the midfielder scored the equaliser, his 13th of the season, before setting up the winner for Wayne Routledge with a pass with the outside of his foot that Warnock described as one you would struggle to see bettered anywhere in the world.

Taraabt cost a bargain £500,000 from Spurs in the summer as Warnock strengthened his squad with the clutch of signings including Tommy Smith from Pompey and former Blues midfielder Shaun Derry.

This month QPR have been just as busy. Routledge – another ex-Pompey player – and striker Ishmael Miller have arrived on loan from Newcastle and West Brom, with defenders Pascal Chimbonda (Blackburn) and Danny Shittu (Millwall) signing permanent deals.

Pompey, however, have done their own strengthening with Ritchie De Laet and Jonathan Hogg arriving on loan from Manchester United and Aston Villa.

And their resources will be boosted at Loftus Road by the return from suspension of Dave Kitson and Aaron Mokoena.

Daveid McIntyre's Blog - Miller time? Maybe not.

Rangers have brought in defensive cover, but they might be short of options at the other end of the pitch this weekend.

Ishmael Miller is ill with a virus – so much so he’s apparently been confined to bed for the last couple of days – and Heidar Helguson is carrying a knock. Both are a doubt for Saturday’s game and will be assessed before the squad leaves for Hull tomorrow.

If neither player is available, Warnock won’t have much room for manoeuvre. Maybe that justifies his reluctance to let Leon Clarke leave on loan.

Warnock has circulated the names of four players for loan transfer – and Clarke isn’t one of them. Neither is Hogan Ephraim, who has been monitored by Millwall and one or two other clubs.

Martin Rowlands, Lee Cook, Gary Borrowdale and Antonio German have been made available. No surprises there. All four are almost certain to go elsewhere in the near future and a long-term loan would effectively end Borrowdale’s time at QPR, as his contract expires this summer.

A number of clubs asked about Clarke earlier in the season, and there’s been more interest of late. But Warnock has spoken to the player and told him he does not want him to go.

That’s not quite the same as not being prepared to let him go, which seems to be his stance on Ephraim at the moment. Whether that remains the case should a club make a firm offer remains to be seen.

It’ll also be interesting to see how quickly Dan Shittu is seen as a viable first-team selection. Not that it matters too much at the moment, as he’s been brought in purely as cover.

Shittu has already played in his first game since returning to the club. He took part in a full-scale practice match today. So did Pascal Chimbonda. And Fitz Hall.

There’s no doubt though that Shittu is behind the rest of the players in terms of fitness, and his hamstring problem will need to be carefully managed.

So too will Akos Buzsaky, who was this morning told that he can return to full training on Monday morning. He’s now being lined up for a reserve game.

I’ve taken a bit of stick for some earlier comments about Buzsaky – particularly in light of Adel Taarabt’s spellbinding performances.

I still believe Buzsaky, fitness permitting, is the best player in the division. That was my view when he wasn’t even an automatic choice at Plymouth, and it’s my view now. And I still think he’s head and shoulders above every other QPR player in terms of being equipped for the Premier League.

That said, after three bad injuries in quick succession – two of them knee injuries – only time will tell how much of an impact he can make, and how he might fit into a team that’s been successfully built around Taarabt.

Last season he struggled badly for sharpness and form, and since then had a decent go at replacing Alejandro Faurlin in a deeper role, but was never comfortable.

Yet, even when he lacked sharpness and was desperately low on confidence last season, look at how many goals he scored and created. And that was Buzsaky at his worst.

If he can get some sharpness back, he can play at the top level. I don’t doubt that for a second.

But the team’s done more than well without him, has a new hero in Taarabt, and Buzsaky can’t afford another setback. For those reasons alone, it may take months rather than weeks to ease him back in.

- Danny Shittu Flashback: Sold to Watford

- "Former QPR stars helping out St Neots Town"

- QPR Scout at Bournemouth vs Brighton Game

- Year Flashback: Harford Talking about Quashie and Ikeme

- Year Flashback: QPR reportedly Going for Hulse...Sign Priskin on Loan

- Italian police seize 1.5m alleging Briatore tax fraud

- Interesting (Serious)Survey on Professional Footballers in Europe

- Two Year Flashback: Report -More Sponsorship/Adverts to Female Fans

- Zesh Rehman was in Manchester this Week

- January 31st Amulya/Stadium Deadline....Although maybe things just haven't been announced

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