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Saturday, January 08, 2011

TEAMS: Blackburn vs QPR


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Blackburn Rovers: Bunn, Givet, Nelson, E H Diouf, Pedersen, Benjani, Hoilett, Salgado, Hanley, Lowe, M B Diouf.
Subs: Fielding, Linganzi, Doran, Goulon, Roberts, Morris, Cotton.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Clarke, Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Hulse, Vaagan Moen, Borrowdale.
Subs: Cerny, Cook, Andrade, Tofas, Doughty, Harriman.

- Roy Hodgson Departs Liverpool

- Video: QPR's FA Cup Replay Win Over Arsenal

- Year Flashback: Martin Allen Back With QPR

- Two Year Flashback: Lee Cook Re-Signed for QPR

- Three Year Flashback: Rowan Vine Signs for QPR

- Four Year Flashback: Egutu Oliseh Exits QPR After Six Months

- Chris Day Looks Forward to Newcastle in the Cup

- QPR Stats

- QPR Thugs Claim

- Video: Martin Allen Talking about QPR and West Ham

- Points Deductions for Histon and Kidderminter

- (Seemingly) No Lambert from Norwich to Burnley: Norwich and Lamberton Statements

The Guardian

Neil Warnock has a simple message for QPR's owners – show me the money
The much-travelled and highly voluble manager has his eyes on promotion, not the FA Cup

Share Paul Hayward The Guardian, Saturday 8 January 2011 Article history

Neil Warnock has guided QPR to the top of the Championship. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Queens Park Rangers are Manchester City without the spending. "Yeah, without the money," Neil Warnock, their manager, laughs. "If you went on reputations we should already be promoted, but it doesn't work like that. The team who played last week cost about £2m. That's about half a Michael Chopra [the Cardiff City forward]." The most enviable job in the Championship turns out to be more tricky than the brochure said.

At Chelsea's old training ground near Heathrow airport a club who could supplant the reigning Premier League champions as west London's biggest if Roman Abramovich lost interest and QPR's super-wealthy owners splashed their cash were about to head north to Blackburn Rovers for an FA Cup third-round tie. Rangers and Rovers have rich proprietors, but while the new owners of Ewood Park flirt with Ronaldinho and David Beckham, Warnock seeks support from Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and the Lakshmi Mittal family to mount a big push to the top division.

Promotion is the only game in town at Loftus Road. The FA Cup, bless it, could add new obstacles and deplete Warnock's already "thin" squad. As the players skip off the practice field QPR's ninth manager in four years is plainly stressed by injuries and transfer complications. "Ronaldinho's just signed for Blackburn and plays tomorrow" is a joke intended to lighten his mood. "Ronaldinho would be the least of my problems," Warnock says. For managers in his position – five points clear at the top of the Championship – this is the time for sending coded messages to the owners without sounding disruptive.

Or maybe not so coded. "If they ever got there [to the Premier League], they could establish themselves, with the support of the backers, because I think they would get more involved then, or get more supportive."

Warnock says of the promotion drive: "At the moment we've got to show them what we can do. They've had a few goes over the past few years, with managers. Up to a point I'm managing how I want to manage and if they can continue to support the requests I have we'll have a great chance."

Translation: show me the money and I'll get you up. QPR's image problem is that people outside the second tier assume money is on tap. They see the plutocratic cluster of pals who own the "Rs" and assume they have a masterplan to hunt down Chelsea and Manchester United. It's all a lot more off the cuff than that.

"We haven't spent a lot of money," Warnock says. "We've got three or four Bosmans [free transfers]. We're very thin now that Kyle Walker's gone back to Spurs – or on to Aston Villa. When I came [in March last year] they had nine loan players, but I've always said you're not going to get a successful club with a lot of loan players. That's why we've got the Clint Hills and Paddy Kennys because I know what they bring to the dressing room.

"We've got people like Jamie Mackie who's got so much to prove at the other end of the scale. And you've got Shaun Derry and Hill who've got such a lot to prove in a different way because I bought them to make up the numbers, not to play every week. They've astounded me with their condition.

"Matthew Connolly was let go by Arsenal and is blossoming. It's good how they've come together. We're hard working. [Adel] Taarabt gives us something. Alejandro Faurlín in midfield is quality. And young Mackie and Tommy Smith have that vibrancy up front."

Around two-thirds of Warnock's Wikipedia entry is taken up with disputes, with referees, players, chairmen and other managers. He looks surprised. "Two or three managers: that's not bad out of 30 years managing. Three managers I can't stand. Or two managers and a coaching member." An educated guess for the "coaching member" is West Ham's Wally Downes. But the caricature of Warnock is a hothead and tub-thumper who lives by the feud.

Behind this abrasive exterior is a desperate urge to prove himself back in the Premier League, where he managed Sheffield United before being relegated in 2007: "I love the top flight because I love to give Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger a run for their money. QPR is a special type of club. The razzmatazz. The name itself. Queens Park Rangers. And the ground.

"Loftus Road has that bit of nostalgia. It's a lovely place when there are 15,000.

"It's 15 years since they were in the top league and a whole generation haven't seen Chelsea and Man Utd. That's what we're striving for: to let the little junior Hoops see what the top teams are all about, on our patch.

"But everybody's trying to do that. There are about eight clubs in the Championship who could yet get automatic promotion. And as Blackpool showed last time it doesn't have to be the favourites."

Warnock is one of those high ranking managers who serves also as a throwback to long apprenticeships and provincial toil. He says: "I consider my first big job to have been Burton Albion. I'd played there and they were the Chelsea of non-league football to me. On the other side of the Pennines were Mossley, who were the Man Utd. A bit more physical, but top dogs. I wanted to build a southern-softie side, Burton Albion, to compete with Mossley. That took me five years.

"I thought Scarborough [where he managed from 1986-89] were enormous. I remember changing behind an RAC cabin for the interview. As I was changing from my old tracksuit into a suit I was thinking – this is my Man Utd.

"Then to get the Notts County job: the oldest club in the league. Working opposite Old Big 'Ead was fabulous. He was my idol. We had a couple of lunches which were unforgettable. A little room in his local pub.

"He admired what we did. Our training ground was like a postage stamp. And it was a quagmire. He used to walk across it to their 15-acre Wembley-style training ground with his black Labrador, and he would look at us on this mudheap. He would shake his head. We had nothing to compete with his European Cup winners."

Another Cup, the FA's battered pot, will have to accept a lower spot on Warnock's target list: "I wanted to leave quite a few lads out but I've got no option really. We're going to have to have at least three young kids on the bench. We've got a number of injuries from this morning, a few from this week and a number of lads who've been carrying injuries – so it's really whoever's fit is playing."

The biggest setback is a leg stress fracture to Patrick Agyemang, who will be out for three months. "We are going to need recruitment. There aren't the funds there to buy players at the moment. I'm trying to bring loan players in. I know we've got a reputation for being moneybags but we haven't got the facility to buy players at the minute."

Sensibly, this time, QPR hired a Championship promotion specialist. "I've done it twice. It's a dog eat dog league." He has the teeth.


Neil Warnock: A chairman's new year resolutions: 1 Get fit. 2 Cut down on drink. 3 Sack the manager
What I Learnt This Week Saturday, 8 January 2011

Since my last column, seven days ago, six managers have left their jobs in the Football League, two in each division. That's at the time of writing, it could be more by the time you read this.

What is it about the first week of January? Is it something to do with new year resolutions? Do chairmen have a list: 1 Get fit. 2 Cut down on the drinking. 3 Get a new manager? I remember at Plymouth losing an FA Cup match against Peterborough around this time and it ended up being my last game.

I can understand the Premier League being affected by the transfer window with clubs feeling they have to make their minds up about the manager before deciding to back him with money, but it is not the same in the Football League, you can always get loan players in. Obviously everyone is panicking and once somebody departs it seems to have a domino effect.

Related articles
James Lawton: In the managerial sack race the only appraisal that matters is one carried out on the pitch
Jewell poised to take over at Ipswich after Keane pays the price
Search the news archive for more stories
Earlier this season I compared the way Craig Short was not given a chance at Notts County to how fortunate Paul Peschisolido is to have a chairman like Ben Robinson at Burton Albion, who doesn't have a knee-jerk reaction to losing three or four games. Ben takes the view he appointed the manager so he should stick with him, as he did with Nigel Clough for 10 years of ups and downs. I said to Paul, "Enjoy your time there, because you will find that's not the case at most clubs."

Look, for example, at Charlton. I get the South London Press delivered as I like to keep a check on events at Crystal Palace. On Tuesday morning, I read an article with Charlton's new owners, Tony Jimenez and Michael Slater, in which they said: "This week we will start to identify players that Phil [Parkinson] wants that we think we can secure and can take from there." Slater and Jimenez, the piece added, "also spelt out that Phil Parkinson will get the players' backing. 'He is going to remain the manager,' Slater said, 'the fact the club are third in the division speaks for itself.'"

Later that same day, Charlton, having lost 4-2 to Swindon on Monday, sacked Parkinson and the next headline was, "Dennis Wise is expected to return to football as new manager of Charlton." The article read: "Chairman Michael Slater said: 'Clearly, improvement is needed on the field.'" What chance have you got if people react like that? In fairness to Phil, he is better off gone.

In my division, we have had another two dismissals, George Burley at Palace and Roy Keane at Ipswich. That means nine clubs out of the 24 in this division now have a different manager to the one they began the season with.

2. We've all been unwilling participants in the sack race

Only two Premier League clubs have sacked their managers so far this season (Newcastle and Blackburn) but from what you read and hear it only seems to be a matter of time before someone else does. Four men are under enormous pressure and their situations say a lot about modern-day expectations. Roy Hodgson, Avram Grant, Gérard Houllier and Carlo Ancelotti all had bad results in midweek, and being a manager it made for gruelling listening while driving up from Cornwall on Wednesday.

As they went from one ground to another I went through all the emotions they must be feeling. Carlo conceded the first goal of the night, Avram was three-down at half-time, Roy was two-down and Gérard lost Emile Heskey to a red card before going behind. When I got home to watch Match of the Day I looked at their faces and could only feel for them. As managers we have all been through that and their expressions did not make for happy viewing.

Listening to a phone-in after the Blackburn defeat I could understand where Liverpool fans were coming from given the results, and people have the right to dislike Roy as much as they want, but the facts are the squad of players Rafa Benitez left behind was nowhere near up to the club's standard. One of the presenters said, "Do you think Liverpool fans are kidding themselves because of where they were 20 years ago?" He might have a point.

3. City must come out and play

Manchester City are flexing their muscles again in the transfer market, though I don't know why they are bothering buying a new striker when they never get out of their own half away from home. You have to wish Arsenal had scored from that great early chance on Wednesday as that would have made City come out and play. As it is, the manager can argue he got it right as they got the point. Yes, and as always, to hell with the paying public.

It was a strange ending to the game with the two red cards. At such a late stage referee Mike Jones could have given both players yellow. I certainly couldn't see what Pablo Zabaleta did to deserve red. I don't know whether referees have been told to get players off for confrontations but it seems they are over-reacting. We had Clint Hill's red card rescinded after he was dismissed against Swansea because he simply didn't do anything.

Referees are taking too long to get into the middle of confrontations to sort them out. If they are being told to stand back so they can see everything, guidelines might have to be changed because if the ref gets in immediately it does not escalate.

4. High-fives for Pardew

Before Alan Pardew took over at Newcastle, Leon Best was being touted to every club in the Championship, so he must have been thrilled to get a hat-trick in his first Premier League start for Newcastle against West Ham. How satisfying for Alan to have his faith in Leon rewarded and for his team to get five against a club who sacked him.

5. Happy that Christmas is over

I am glad the Christmas programme is over. After four games in 10 days I was shattered, never mind the players, and the expense on supporters must be phenomenal.

We were a bit unlucky last Saturday to catch a Norwich team who had their Boxing Day game called off but credit to the lads for bouncing back against Bristol City on Monday with a fabulous performance even though we only got a point.

We're now trying to get two or three players in on loan to supplement the squad before our next League match. We have a couple of injuries and were disappointed to lose Kyle Walker. Spurs want him to play Premier League football and he has gone to Aston Villa. He has done well for us and I hope it goes well for him as he's a good lad.

6. More musicals, please

While I was at Norwich last weekend, Sharon took the kids to Oliver! She says it were wonderful and I think the kids appreciated it. Then they went for a walk around Covent Garden. Needless to say, another CD was purchased to go with our collection from one of the musicians there. They are wonderful. When people ask what would you do if you were not a football manager, I always think about being a musician. We are lucky down here to have places like Covent Garden.

It was back to school for the kids on Wednesday. William started well with three tries in the afternoon while Amy looks so grown up as each week passes. Suddenly she's 12 going on 20. You notice the traffic difference when the kids go back to school. On the way to training on Thursday I took a wrong turning as I was distracted and went through Richmond instead of around it. It took me 35 minutes longer.

7. Cup still makes you think

I am not going to lie to you, the FA Cup is not a priority, but I am sure the lads will relish a day off from the pressure of the league season at Blackburn today, despite being disappointed that they will not be facing Ronaldinho and David Beckham.

Steve Kean's obviously looking to improve his squad but their victory over Liverpool showed how many good players he has. I am sure Blackburn are one of those clubs who are thinking they could have a real go at winning the FA Cup.

There are a few ties that have caught my eye including Dover at my old club Huddersfield, though I don't hold much hope for them, and Sven Goran Eriksson's Leicester facing Man City. If I were to recommend an upset for the bookies that would be it. I wouldn't want to be in Nigel Clough's Derby dressing room on Monday at Crawley. They are the current millionaires of non-League football and Steve Evans will no doubt be revving them up. That's not a game for the faint-hearted.

Bolton v York might not be a top tie in everybody's eyes but it did make me think. In 1987, I was at Scarborough. We had just been promoted to the Football League and we beat Bolton 4-0 early on at Seamer Road. York were our local rivals, but they were in the division above us. Now look at where those clubs are. The grass is six-foot high on Scarborough's pitch with the stands falling down, York are non-League, and Bolton pushing for Europe. What a difference.

What happened at Scarborough is an absolute tragedy. They have reformed but it is a long haul back and at the moment they play in Bridlington in the Northern Counties East League.

I feel sorry for Carlisle, they get to the third round and are drawn away to Torquay – what a journey. It brings back some happy memories though. When I saved Torquay from relegation we made ourselves safe at Carlisle. I was supposed to drive back to Sheffield with Kevin Blackwell but it was such a good atmosphere after the game we got on the coach, with someone following in our car. We pulled off at Lancaster and had a Chinese with the chairman and all the lads. You'd think we'd won the World Cup. That's how this game can make you feel, which is why, despite all the trigger-happy chairmen, there'll always be someone else willing to have a go. Independent


- Patrick Agyemang faces up to three months on the sidelines, Head Physio Nigel Cox has revealed to www.qpr.co.uk today.
- The striker has a stress fracture in his right leg, which means he is unlikely to feature for the R's again until March.
- Cox spoke at length this afternoon, providing an exclusive injury update direct from his Treatment Room...

Patrick Agyemang
Cox: "Patrick has been very unfortunate. He has suffered a stress fracture - a hairline crack - which we have identified in the lower part of his right leg. Patrick initially thought he had a calf strain but we have looked deeper into the problem and discovered a stress fracture. In terms of a timescale, when you take into account healing time plus the time needed to get his fitness levels back up, you are looking at two-to-three months out unfortunately."

Peter Ramage
Cox: "Peter is doing really well. He is probably a little bit ahead of track but we are not going to rush him because he has a history of ACL on the other side so we need to be cautious with him. He is out on the grass and doing some function work already so we are hopeful that he will be available for selection before the end of the season."

Akos Buzsaky
Cox: "He is also doing very well since having a bit of cartilage taken away from his knee. He is now working on building up his fitness levels and we hope he will be available for selection in approximately four weeks' time. "

Josh Parker
Cox: "Josh suffered a stress fracture in his foot while playing for Wycombe. The minimum for this type of injury is six weeks. He is about a month into that now. We have been using oxygen therapy to aid his recovery and he is pain free now, so we are looking to step up his rehab. He should be back to fitness in three-to-four weeks' time."

Heidar Helguson
Cox: "Heidar picked up a knock to his right leg against Norwich, so we took him off at half-time as a precaution. We have since identified a thigh strain but it is not a serious problem and we are hopeful he will be available for selection ahead of our trip to Burnley later this month."

Martin Rowlands
Cox: "Martin has had a little niggle in his right calf for a while now. He has been playing with it and training with it, but we have now decided to take him completely out of things for a week or so to let it really settle down. Hopefully he should also be available for our trip to Turf Moor."

Gavin Mahon
Cox: "Gavin is struggling to shake off a hamstring injury at present. He has suffered a recurrence which will keep him out for another couple of weeks or so."

Hogan Ephraim
Cox: "We took Hogan out of things recently as a precaution as much as anything else after he suffered from inflammation behind his right knee. After some treatment, the area has settled down and he is now back to full training and available for selection this weekend at Blackburn."

Lee Cook
Cox: "Lee is physically fit now, and is working hard to build his match fitness up. He is back to full training with the First Team and is effectively available for selection." QPR

MIRROR - Blackburn misfit wanted by Warnock - QPR boss Neil Warnock will speak to Blackburn’s transfer listed right-back Pascal Chimbonda – as the clubs square up on FA Cup duty.
- Warnock is interested in the Frenchman after losing on-loan Kyle Walker and Rovers have said the 31-year-old can go on a free.
- Chimbonda will want to be paid up first.

MIRROR/Darren Lewis - Championship heavyweights battling for Woodgate-
- QPR and Leeds are battling for the services of Tottenham’s Jonathan Woodgate.
- Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said he was prepared to send the injury-plagued defender to either club on loan providing he can achieve basic fitness.
- Woodgate, now 30, has struggled with persistent groin problems and last played for his club in November 2009.
- Harry said: “He is still looking to get back to fitness and needs to get a game under his belt before he is ready to get out anywhere and play.
“We would let him out on loan if he’s OK, but at the moment he is stepping his training. We’d let him go out to Leeds or QPR.
“That would be good for him, but it’s day by day.”
Read more: http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Transfer-news-Championship-heavyweights-QPR-and-Leeds-battling-for-Jonathan-Woodgate-on-loan-article666591.html#ixzz1AOju3eUF

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