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Thursday, February 24, 2011

QPR Report Thursday Snippets


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

- Waiting for an Official Announcement re Harrow's Hewitt to QPR

- Four Years ago Today Flashback: Three New QPR Board Members announced by Chairman Paladini as QPR 1-1 Draw vs Ian Holloway's Plymouth

- Next: Middlesbrough - Stats/Past Results

- Lakshmi Mittal and Amit Bhatia Get Royal Wedding Invites?!

- Play QPR Report's "Spot The Ball" - Week II

- On This Day in Football: February 24...Decade Ago today, Gerry Francis' Last Game in Charge as QPR Crash 5-0 at Wimbledon

- Marc Bircham Suing over His Career-Ending Injury

- QPR's Championship Points Totals Since Premiership Relegation

- Year Flashback: Ben Kosky "Hope Now for QPR" and Dowie as Backup if Warnock falls through

- Derby Co-Owner Finances...Plymouth Head off on Vacation...Parejo Returning to Real Madrid in the Summer?

- Homophobia in Football

- "Abusing" Team Shirts...Mark Hateley's Bribe Offer (Pre-QPR)...No GoalLine Technology "Passes"

- Update: Now Published and Reviewed: A second book about Bernie Ecclestone

- "How the NBA Became English Soccer"

David McIntyre Blog - February 23, 2011 - Warnock's perfect timing

Bringing in Dan Shittu and Fitz Hall was a bold decision – and the right one – by Neil Warnock, but maybe not as much of a risk as it seemed.

After the draw at Preston, Warnock initially decided to take one of his centre-backs out of the side. He later opted to go the whole hog and take both of them out.

The fact Shittu and Hall had played together in recent reserve matches meant Warnock possibly took less of a chance by replacing both centre-backs rather than dropping one of them.

I know from speaking to Shittu that he was slightly nervous about his return, and felt Hall’s inclusion was a definite bonus for him as it did not mean a new partnership being formed at the back in such an important game.

It was still a big call by Warnock though. I certainly wouldn’t have made it.

But if you are going to put Shittu in, Tuesday’s match was exactly the right time to do it. Warnock’s timing may have seemed strange, yet was spot on.

A home game under the floodlights, the crowd instantly lifted by Shittu’s appearance and then his every header and tackle; it was the right way to reintroduce him and give Rangers a lift at a time when there were signs of anxiety - and maybe some fatigue – creeping in.

Shittu was, as always, a colossus in both penalty areas, and his boundless enthusiasm was just what the team and fans needed at this vital stage of the season.

If he’d scored, it would have brought the house down and probably have sent Shittu into orbit. We’re talking here about a man who even got carried away while scoring in a reserve match last week, shouting “have it!” as he slammed the ball into the net and then “that’s how you score a goal!” to other, bemused, players on the pitch.

If Shittu keeps his place, there will be bigger tests to come for him. Especially away from home, when games are likely to be much more stretched and very different to Tuesday’s battle in both boxes.

That will reveal more than last night’s adrenaline-filled performance, which was the perfect reintroduction for him at the perfect time.

I’ve always seen Gorkss and Connolly as decent individual defenders at Championship level, but not a good partnership, and this Rangers side as much more defensively vulnerable than the stats this season suggest.

Even so, with the team on course for promotion I’d have been reluctant to turn to two defenders whose fitness and form have been a concern. I’d have solidered on.

It would have been the wrong decision. Not because of their performances last night – neither player did anything they haven’t done before, and some questions remain unanswered – but because, with hindsight, at least one of them was always likely to be called upon at some stage during the run-in.

That means the alternative to Warnock’s decision could have involved having to put them in for some godforsaken away match, on a bigger pitch and possibly with even more riding on the result.

That type of game would be very different to the kind of compact, congested one against Ipswich, which was ideal for a centre-back with Shittu’s attributes to go out and play like his life depended on it.

There will be games, especially away, where there’ll be more ground to cover, more snap decisions required, and much more potential for Shittu to be isolated and left one-versus-one. That’s a very different assignment, and not one for a new addition to a back four, who’s had hamstring trouble and lacks match practice.

Shittu can now go into that kind of situation having had his sharpness and morale boosted after storming it in front of his adoring fans and gone off to a standing ovation. That’s why Warnock was right to pick him sooner rather than later.

Dave McIntyre/Kilburn Times - Dan Shittu QPR star ‘nervous’ before Ipswich clash

DAN Shittu has admitted he felt nervous about making his first appearance since returning to QPR.
The defender, a fans’ favourite during his first spell at Loftus Road, was given a starting place for the vital home win against Ipswich on Tuesday and produced a barnstorming, adrenaline-filled performance.

Shittu said: “I knew it was an important game for me, playing at home in front of those fans who have supported me all these years.

“I was a bit nervous before the game because I knew those fans were expecting me to do what I usually do. I didn’t want to let them down.

“I knew I had to go out there and not overdo it – I didn’t want to do anything silly – and just do what I do, which is defend.

“I’m just glad it turned out the way it did. It couldn’t have gone any better. I feel so at home and am so glad I’ve come back to try and help this club get promoted.

“Everybody knows QPR is my home. I’ve always said that and have never tried to hide it. This is where I feel comfortable.”

Shittu, 30, made 182 appearances for QPR before being sold to Watford for £1.6m in 2006.

Following spells at Bolton and Millwall, he rejoined the Rs in January on a six-month contract.

His displays alongside Fitz Hall in three reserve matches helped persuade boss Neil Warnock to put both players into the team in the wake of Saturday’s disappointing draw at bottom side Preston.

Warnock left out centre-backs Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss despite Rangers boasting the Championship’s best defensive record.

Rangers had conceded only 20 league goals this season, and had kept an unrivalled 18 clean sheets prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 victory.

But the manager has been unhappy with some of their defending in recent weeks, and had seriously considered making at least one change for the Preston game.

“The team have been playing well and the thought crossed my mind that I might have come back here, but not play,” Shittu revealed.

“I didn’t expect the manager to make changes, because I wouldn’t like that to happen to me – to be in a team that’s doing well and be left out. You tend to think that you shouldn’t change a winning team.

“Connolly and Gorkss are great players and have done so much for this team already. But you’ve got to believe in yourself, and I believe I’m good enough to play.

“The manager put a lot of trust in me. It was a big game for us and I’m happy I was able to repay him.”

- Year Flashback: Warnock Satire

- Player Sacked after Web/Messageboard Campaign against Teammates

- A few more days (unless already paid)? February 28 Deadline to Pay Antonio Caliendo 2 Million Pounds?

- RIP Neil Roberts: QPR Supporter - and of course, much much more...Messageboard Memories of Neil Roberts

Enlarged Photo - Name the Players

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