Helguson finds form, Gorkss discusses deal, Warnock laughs off Leicester interest
Saturday, 17th Jul 2010 21:06 by Clive Whittingham
Heidar Helguson got off the mark in the pre-season campaign with a flying header in a 3-1 win at Torquay United on Friday evening. Meeanwhile Kaspars Gorkss is discussing a new contract with Rangers.
The QPR first team rounded off its tour of the South West with a 3-1 win at League Two side Torquay on Friday evening. Heidar Helguson finally got off the mark for the summer with a flying header from a Leon Clarke cross and there were also further goals for inform pair Josh Parker and Hogan Ephraim. LoftforWords contributor Tony Gibson was at Plainmoor and has filed a detailed match report for his Lofty Heights blog which can be read at this link.
Afterwards manager Neil Warnock declared himself very satisfied with the week’s work, the Torquay performance and the emergence of young Josh Parker as a genuine first team contender.Warnock told the club’s official website: “This was a good work-out for us. The pitch was superb, and Torquay have done well pre-season so I knew this match would give us a few problems - it was just what we needed.
"I thought we kept the ball well and we could have scored a few more goals. Then again, we gave a silly one away so it was a good learning curve. We're creating chance after chance, and you've got to be there to miss them. Helguson's opening goal was superb, and he could have had another one after that.
“Josh Parker came on and he looked exciting again. He’s been around since I came to the club, he’s an exciting young man. He’s listening to what I’m telling him, he’s been training very hard and learning what I want him to do – carrying his game, inside shooting, down the line crossing, and he’s got a very good future. I’m sure he will be part of the squad this season.
“We've worked hard this week - we've trained every day, as well as having the games, so there were one or two tired legs tonight. Leon Clarke just felt his thigh. We're not going to risk anything at this stage. Now we're looking forward to Italy next week."
While the first team head off to Italy for a training camp and two further friendlies, the reserve side will remain at home. A Rangers side made up predominantly of youth players but also including Rowan Vine, Gary Borrowdale and Antonio German who have first team experience, laboured to a 1-1 draw at Borehamwood on Saturday with Max Ehmer getting the goal and will now travel back to the South West to face Saltash United on Monday, a side based just outside Plymouth. By the looks of things Vine’s time at QPR is all but over.
Elsewhere in pre-season action Angelo Balanta scored one of MK Dons’ three goals at Oxford City on Thursday – Balanta is spending the season on loan at Stadium MK from QPR.
Off the pitch Neil Warnock is working hard to keep some of the club’s stars in W12. Matt Connolly has already agreed a new two year contract extension and talks are ongoing with Alejandro Faurlin, Damion Stewart and now Kaspars Gorkss. Warnock told the Fulham Chronicle: “The truth is these talks have been going on for a bit, and I figured they might go on a while longer – but Matt’s people agreed and we’re delighted. There’s also been bits of talks with Ali Faurlin, Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gorkks – but we’re being careful with deals these days and we’re going to spend wisely before agreeing anything."
Warnock is clearly keen to keep hold of his best players and has laughed off suggestions that Akos Buzsaky and Hogan Ephraim could be set for summer moves to Leicester city. Warnock told the Ealing Gazette: “They’re not for sale – it’s as simple as that. In fact, Leicester are not as big as Rangers these days and these two are going nowhere. Buz came back as sharp as a tack, and was giving himself grief for not winning every sprint in training. I think this could be his year, and we’re expecting big things from him.”
Finally Northern Ireland Under 17 goalkeeper Gareth Deane has joined the QPR scholarship programme. He has already caught the eye across the irish Sea, making the Northern Ireland Under 17 squad for the recent European CChampionships. The Lisburn born teenager said: “The club is amazing and the staff and coaches are all fantastic and have made me feel really at home after just three weeks. The opportunity to train with Paddy Kenny and Radek Cerny is unbelievable."
QPR have again been linked with Albanian target man Erjon Bogdani as their hunt for firepower in attack continues. Bogdani was outstanding for Chievo when they visited Loftus Road two summers ago with superb aerial ability and an immaculate first touch. He has 12 goals and 52 caps for Albania but at 33 has been released be Chievo this summer. He strikes me as the kind of player that would have been a terrific signing two summers ago, but maybe not now.
Bogdani said: “I am in talks with two Italian clubs, and Bolognën Cesenën, but can also play in London, as I have an offer from QPR. If you decided to go to QPR, does not do this just for money. It is more about life in England.”
The London Masters takes place next Saturday, July 24. QPR won the tournament lat season to win through to the national finals in Liverpool where they were beaten at the first stage. This summer Luton striker Kevin Gallen has been added to the Rangers ranks. The full squad, subject to change, is Tony Roberts, Andy Tillson, Andy Impey, Karl Connolly, Wayne Fereday, Michael Meaker, Tony Thorpe and Kevin Gallen. Elsewhere Mark Stein is playing for Chelsea, Andy Sinton for Tottenham, Rufus Brevett and Keith Rowland for West Ham and Robbie Herrera for Fulham.
Meanwhile Sheffield United have been told they must foot the bill for Simon Walton’s wages this season despite the player rupturing knee ligaments in a friendly at Mansfield last week. Walton had only just signed for the Blades on loan for the season from Plymouth and United had hoped to cut the deal short after Walton suffered the injury, Plymouth are unsurprisingly not keen to play ball and the Blades must now pay the player for the coming year while he receives treatment.
Damien Delaney has also suffered a serious injury during pre-season. The Ipswich defender tore a thigh muscle in training on Friday and is facing a three month lay off. After a difficult start as a left back at Portman Road Delaney impressed as a centre half last season and the news will come as a blow to both the player and manager Roy Keane.
John Spencer has left Major League Soccer outfit Houston Dynamo after four years as assistant manager to become the first head coach of Portland Timbers – an “expansion franchise” that is joining the MLS this season.
Dean Parrett has been included in the England Under 19 side for the European Championships after the FA won a club v country battle over the release of players for the tournament.
Former R’s loanee Ben Sahar has joined Hapoel Tel Aviv on a season long loan deal after managing only one goal last season for Espanyol in La Liga.
- Swansea’s hunt for a new manager is over after Brendan Rodgers was appointed on a 12 month rolling contract at the Liberty Stadium. After impressively leading Watford away from relegation worries in his first post he was sacked just six months into a rebuilding job at Reading last season. Swansea had twice been refused permission to speak to their first choice for the job Gary Speed.
- Norwich have confirmed the signing of Gillingham hot shot Simeon Jackson on a two year deal with an option for a third. The fee is reportedly £600,000 rising to as much as £1m.
- Rangers’ Kevin Thomson has become the seventh Old Firm player to move south and join Middlesbrough. Kris Boyd, Willo Flood, Chris Killen, Scott McDonald, Barry Robson and Steven McManus have all moved to Teeside from either Rangers or Celtic since Strachan took over last season. Loft for Words will examine in more detail whether this is a policy that will pay off for Boro in the ‘This Week’ column on Wednesday.
- Scottish Under 21 left back Jim McNulty has left Brighton to sign for Scunthorpe on a six month loan deal.
- Burnley midfielder Chris Eagles has ruled out a move north of the border after rejecting the chance to join Rangers. The Scottish giants had agreed a fee with Burnley for the former Man Utd player’s services.
- Portsmouth’s new boss Steve Cotterill is waiting to hear if the league will ratify his loan signing of Stoke defender Ibrahima Sonko after HMRC blocked the club’s attempts to come out of administration and lift the transfer embargo currently in place on them.
- Ipswich have signed Sunderland midfielder Conor Hourihane on a one-year deal. The Republic of Ireland under 19 international turned down a new deal with the Black Cats to join Town.
- Barnsley are giving a trial to 34 year old striker Michael Boulding. The well travelled forward did play briefly for Barnsley between 2004 and 2006, scoring ten goals in 27 starts. Manager Mark Robins said: “I know Michael and he is a player I tried to sign at Rotherham and he deserves this. We are still working hard and pursuing other targets and hopefully more things will start to come together soon."
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