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QPR aim to right 6-0 wrongs, weekend tube closures - Thursday Diary
QPR aim to right 6-0 wrongs, weekend tube closures - Thursday Diary
Thursday, 23rd Feb 2012 22:39 by Clive Whittingham

There’s a game on Saturday, which means the QPR players are being wheeled out to tell the fans how up for the contest they are and how much they understand the importance of the game.


It’s Shaun Wright-Phillips’ turn to churn out the platitudes this week, telling the club’s official website that the players are keen to play well against Fulham following the 6-0 drubbing they suffered at Craven Cottage earlier this season.

Wright-Phillips said: “That game is out of our minds now. We know we played really badly that day but what we have to do is bring all the hard work we've put in over the past two weeks into the match. After no game for two weeks it will be great to get out there and play some football. We just want to get back and start putting some points on the board. Every game is massive now because we need to start picking up some points," he said. "And we need to be starting games well, rather than just playing well in the second half. Obviously we are fighting for survival but as players we believe we are going to stay up and I think the fans share that belief."

Fulham defender Stephen Kelly, a former QPR loanee, told London24: “If it was like the last one it will be amazing but I can’t imagine two of them happening in a season. I think they’ve changed things since so I don’t know if they will be as vulnerable as they were then. Going to Loftus Road is a tough place to play. It’s a small, compact ground and QPR have invested a lot in the last transfer window and obviously Bobby has gone there. They’re not going to make it easy for us but with the quality we have here I think we’re more than capable of going there to get a result.”

Fulham manager Martin Jol has been keen to play down the match, despite the presense of former Fulham striker Bobby Zamora in the QPR team and his predecessor Mark Hughes in the Rangers’ dugout.

Jol told The Independent: In the first game against QPR you felt the sort of feeling that this was new. It was a derby game and I feel if you look at the reactions after the game from our fans, it is a big game now and in the future. In the past I think it was a good derby game but it is now probably a bigger derby game than Chelsea. We have a lot of supporters going there, we focus on that and we will focus on our away form because that is not great. Hopefully we can change that.

“Bobby deserves praise because he played for us and was a very good servant for the club. Hopefully the QPR fans will think the same of him in a few years. I always want to focus our fans on our team."

Neil Warnock has quickly returned to QPR to raid the cupboards after his appointment as manager at Leeds. His former QPR assistant Keith Curle has taken the Notts County manager’s position but Ronnie Jepson, who has been managing what remains of QPR’s reserve set up for the past two seasons, has moved to Elland Road to link up with Warnock once again.

In his absence Marc Bircham took the second string for a behind closed doors win against Watford earlier this week. Lee Cook scored twice against his former club and there were also goals for out of favour attackers Federicho Macheda and Angelo Balanta.

Bircham told the club’s official website: “It was probably one of our best displays of the season. The lads were excellent and Angelo capped it with a brilliant volley late on."

QPR: Lennox, Ehmer, Shittu, Ramage, Harriman, Balanta, Doughty, Perone, Cook, Macheda, Trialist

The reserves may shortly be joined by 17-year-old striker Peter Skapetis who has moved into the club’s youth set up from his native Australia after previously having a trial with Birmingham City.

Striker Jay Bothroyd meanwhile has been talking to the Football Fancast about the departure of Neil Warnock, the captaincy of Joey Barton and his hopes for the rest of the season at Loftus Road.

Bothroyd said: “You know that’s football, when you don’t get the results, when you don’t get enough points on the board there’s always going to be that danger of losing your job. That’s the ruthless industry we’re in. I wish him all the best, I’m sure he’ll do a terrific job at Leeds and I just want to thank him for bringing me to QPR.

“I’m always confident in my own ability. Obviously I’ve had a bit of a topsy turvy time since I’ve come to QPR but people don’t seem to understand how hard it is to move from club to club and settle in straight away, especially having to play in a different way to what I’m used to. But Mark Hughes has come in along with Mark Bowen and it’s a breath of fresh air. They train us really hard; training’s really enjoyable but obviously it’s very serious at the same time and I’m hoping that I can rediscover the form I had last year in the up and coming games this season.

“Joey’s a top man. I get on with him well. Obviously he’s opinionated and that’s his character but we’ve all got individual traits and that’s his. He’s a good captain, he’s a good lad and he works really hard and leads by example which is a good captain’s quality.

“We’re not really thinking about next year to be honest, we’re thinking about this year. We want to keep our Premiership status and that’s what we’re working hard for. We’ve got thirteen games left and we need to get five or six wins from that, that’s our aim.”

Defender Danny Shittu may be currently out of favour at Loftus Road, but he was all smiles at the fifteenth anniversary celebrations of the Prince’s Trust football initiative at St James’ Palace earlier this week. Shittu was joined by Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe, Reading’s Noel Hunt and Prince Charles at the palace for the event – all three footballers carry out extensive work in the community for the scheme.

QPR’s fixtures for the remainder of the season are now all but settled, with only the Liverpool home match to slot into a midweek slot thanks to their progression in the FA Cup. The final home game of the season against Stoke is, along with all top flight games that day, now Sunday May 6 to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final. Sky TV have selected Man Utd A (now Sunday April 8 at 1.30pm), Swansea at home (now Wednesday April 11 at 8pm) and Chelsea away (now Sunda April 28 at 1.30pm) for live television coverage. ESPN have moved our home match with Spurs on Saturday April 21 back to 5.30pm for their coverage.

Off the field West Ham chairman David Sullivan has given a lengthy, wide ranging interview to one of the club’s blogs West Ham Till I Die. Sullivan says of our own Tony Fernandes: “He was trying to buy the club when we were trying to buy the club. He’s very tricky, Tony. I won’t say any more than that. He told a few pork pies to us. What he said this year, his offer was ridiculous. He wanted to put a little bit of money into the club – and I mean ‘a little bit’ – to take 51% of the club. We didn’t have 51% to sell really, as it would have left us with 13% between us. We’d have been giving him our shares. It was a ludicrous offer. But he’s certainly pumped some money into Queen’s Park Rangers. It will be interesting to see if they stay up or go down. Tony is a charming, charismatic man, a fantastic salesman, very good at talking."

And finally The Four Year Plan, a documentary following the trials and tribulations of Flavio Briatore’s reign at Loftus Road, will air on BBC Two on Sunday March 4 after Match of the Day 2. The BBC, and Norway’s TV2, have struck a deal with the film’s distributor Mercury Media and producers Ad Hoc Films.

Former R’s

Those unfortunate enough to witness Nigel Quashie’s brief second coming at Loftus Road the season before last could probably scarcely believed he’d ever played football again. Well get this, almost two years since that disastrous spell came to an end and appeared to bring down the curtain on his career he’s now set to sign for Scottish First Division outfit Dundee until the end of the season according to STV. It’s usually at this point LFW wishes the player good luck but given his time out of the game, and form before that, I think it’s probably Dundee that need our best wishes even allowing for the abysmal standard of football north of the border.

Elsewhere Keith Curle has been talking of his delight at being given the chance to succeed Martin Allen as Notts County following Allen’s somewhat harsh sacking at the weekend.

Curle started his reign with a 1-0 home win against Stevenage earlier this week and told the Nottingham Evening Post: “I am an ambitious person. As a player I started in the lower divisions and made my way through to play at the top level, in the Premier League. With my coaching, again, I worked my way to the Premier League. As a manager, second time around, I want to be in the Premier League, which means I have got to be successful. It's a great feeling, I'm enjoying it and I'm relishing the task. I've been lucky to bring in quality coaches, good people with great professionalism, a wealth of knowledge and they have confidence, which I like."

Curle arrived at his new office in Nottingham to find that Allen had left a message on the whiteboard wishing him all the best in his new role, a nice touch from a man sacked after less than a year in which time he guided County away from relegation and into a safe midtable position in League One.

Premiership Shorts

- Wolves’ increasingly desperate search for a new manager received a new blow today when veteran Scottish boss Walter Smith rejected the club’s offer to take over until the end of the season. Chairman Steve Morgan has already been knocked back by Alan Curbishley (twice), Neil Warnock, Gus Poyet and Brian McDermott and is now left with Steve Bruce as seemingly his only option to replace Mick McCarthy who he sacked last week.

- Sunderland loanee Nicklas Bendtner’s off field activities continue to give cause for concern. Just a fortnight after appearing in court with his team mate Lee Catermole charged with criminal damage he has now received a 56 day driving ban after being clocked doing 103mph near Newcastle Airport in December. Bendtner is two thirds of the way through a season long loan at the Stadium of Light from Arsenal.

- A mixed week for English clubs in Europe. Man Utd are through to face Athletic Bilbao in the next round of the Europa League despite a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford tonight against Ajax – they go through 3-2 on aggregate. Stoke are out after a 1-0 defeat in Valencia, Man City are through thanks to a 4-0 home win against Porto. In the Champions League Chelsea have a mountain to climb after a 3-1 away defeat against Napoli in the first leg of their tie on Tuesday.

- Stoke have however successfully appealed against Rory Delap’s red card in the weekend cup win at Crawley Town.

Parish Noticeboard

The following tube closures are in operation this Saturday when QPR host Fulham at Loftus Road:

- No Central Line between Liverpool Street and Newbury Park and Woodford due to track work.

- No Northern Line between Archway and High Barnet or Mill Hill East due to signal work.

- Farringdon station remains closed on the Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines to upgrade the station.

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Pictures – Action Images

Photo: Action Images

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