Wednesday, 11 December 2013

# 26 Stuck In First Gear

RESULTS
With Christmas just two weeks away, QPR are still in the leading pack and are joint top of the Championship on points with four games to go before the halfway point in the season.

Following our first defeat of the season at Burnley, the R's averted a negative run by securing a goalless draw a few days later at Wigan, in what was a drab and boring affair not befitting of the excellent R's support after a run of three consecutive away games. That run of away games was Rangers first test of the season. in which we didn't do well as we only picked up two points from the nine available. This was subsequently overturned when the R's reliable home form quickly dispatched Derby to secure three points, albeit not as convincingly as our previous home outing, with plenty of huffing and puffing but no real punch.

The next game was at the home of the fake Hoops in Reading (aka Chelsea Town) and was the early kick off on the Saturday, courtesy of football's masters at Sky. QPR started brightly and could have, and should have been three nil up after ten minutes. But a combination of another opposition keeper having a stormer against us and the usual missed sitters put paid to that, as we faded away and let Reading back into a game that should have been dead and buried. Sure enough the R's found themselves a goal down early in the second half following a Reading throw that should have been QPR's. Barton put away a nice free kick to salvage a point for the R's late on but it was the R's celebration that was all the more pleasing. As the ball nestled into the net Barton raced to the dug out, closely followed by his team mates as they held aloft the hooped shirt of their stricken team mate Ali Faurlin.

Ali, as you all know, was cruelly stricken with another ACL injury against Derby just as he was approaching his best from again, having been one of the very few highlights at Wigan. Injuries have plagued the R's this season and it is fortunate that we do have an abundance of midfielders having once thought we had too many. What is alarming is the number of players we have that have fallen to hamstring strains and niggles and some work needs to be done to reduce these occurrences. In fact the welfare of QPR players past and present should always be considered by the club and I hope they do right by Ali and offer him an extension on his contract. Good luck in your recovery Ali, you will never be alone.

FAURLIN NOT FORGOTTEN
Another unconvincing performance saw the R's overturn Charlton with another home victory and another one nil. The victories and haul of points at home are more than welcome but many an R's fan has acknowledged that it has not been the most entertaining or exciting of seasons to date. For some reason we seem to be obsessed with our possession stats, quite content to tip tap the ball sideways, in our own half, much to the relief of the opposition as they take a chance to take a breather without any hint of a threat on their goal from QPR. Why, with the talent we have in our squad,  are we devoid of any kind of attacking prowess? Why don't we push further up the pitch, use the width in our team and actually get behind opposition defences? Matt Phillips has gone some way to changing this in patches, but the onus seems to be on grinding out narrow victories. All very well as long as stupid mistakes don't lead to opposition goals, as was the case at Doncaster.

Doncaster away was a truly dire display and easily in the top ten of the worst games I've seen in over forty years. The R's travelling support numbered at over 1600 that day and they deserved much better than the tripe served up that was disguised as a football match. An enthusiastic, buoyant and vociferous support that was singing away under the stand before the game was slowly worn down and subdued by what they witnessed as the match progressed, a very bad day at the office that is best forgotten. Fortunately, as with our previous defeat, we only had to wait a few days to put things right as the R's recorded their biggest win to date scoring three for the first time this season. Harry finally started with two strikers with the Andy Johnson tenacious and refreshingly effective. To their credit, Bournemouth played some nice football and were one of the few teams to have the majority of the possession against QPR. They passed the ball well and moved it about in areas that caused the R's concern but are a little naive and are lacking the quality they need to convert their possession football into something that will establish themselves in this league. Could it be that not having so much of the ball forced the R's hand and produced a more effective attacking performance? It would seem that way as we next played host prominent bus parkers Blackburn, who have not lost at QPR since 1993. They conceded an obscene amount of possession to the R's as we served up sterile and uninventive goalless draw. Despite playing with two wide men for most of the game, the R's didn't make many clear cut chances and rarely excited an R's crowd that have been starved of watching any real excitement this season, which in turn has had an adverse effect on the atmosphere at Loftus Road of late.

PHILLIPS OFF THE MARK
Having said that, it is a means to an end and Sunday's this season have been infinitely better than last season and winning games is always a heart warmer. What amazes me is that despite the fact that we have not dominated or crushed anyone this season, scored bag loads of goals or more importantly, not got out of first gear, we are still joint top of the league. So you could be forgiven for thinking or even expecting there's better to come. A good indication of whether or not that will happen will become evident after our next four fixtures. They are against Blackpool away, Leicester home, Forest away and the Watford away. Four games against teams from the business end of the table with no games against minnows to fill in the results between theses bigger games. This will be a real indicator of what this team has got and what its made of. This will bring us to the exact hallway mark in the season. Will we still be top? Will we still be up there? Will we have moved up out of first gear and started to dominate? It's a big test and we'll have a better idea in the new year. I'd like to think we will move up a few gears we all know we have, rather than remain static as we did last season.

Yossi Benayon has just joined the R's on a short term deal and although he's 33 I think he could be an effective solution to our attacking issues along with a fully fit Nico Kranjcar. I would play him wide with Phillips on the other flank and seriously consider selling Hoilett to Stoke in January if that fool that used to manage us wants him. I would imagine Harry's transfer activity will be influenced on what he sees in these next four games.

And so to the FA Cup draw and QPR's annual half hearted appearance in this classic but sadly devalued cup completion. This is a major domestic trophy and only one of three trophy's that is possible for us and many others to win. Why do teams treat this wonderful competition with such disdain? (And the League Cup come to think of it?) We have been paired with Everton and a trip to Goodison Park and Harry has declared that we are taking the FA Cup seriously this year. All I can say is remember when he said we'll be making mind blowing signings, nuff said! Either way serious or not serious, this will be a tough one for QPR but you never know. I'd love us to win this cup.

So, four big games coming up, two of which will be live on Sky, Leicester home and Forest away and thank you for the free coach travel to Forest Tony Fernandes. Here hoping the R's can up it a gear or two. Next blog in the new year.

Merry Christmas to you all.



Come on you R's.

The Bush Ranger.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

#25 Flattering to Deceive

As we approach the end of October with about a quarter of the season gone, the R's sit in the leading pack still harbouring hopes and expectations of a swift return to the Premier League. How twelve months can make a difference, as we approached our twelfth game of the season being the only undefeated team in England as opposed to being the only team without a win over the same period a year ago.

So what has changed? When I last blogged in pre season, we still had a lot of dross to rid ourselves of. Somehow, we have managed to move most of undesirables from the club, be it permanent or loan moves. Harry has been widely credited with this, but judging from his numerous "I haven't got a clue what's happening with him" comments, I'd say it was down to Beard and his staff. Whoever it was down to, thank god we have got rid of the likes of Bosingwa, Mbia, Park and the like. In fact, QPR have either sold, released or loaned out no fewer that twenty players and in doing so reduced the R's exuberant wage bill.





RESULTS
 
Sadly one of those to leave was the limited but effective and committed Jamie Mackie, surely he could have done a job for us this year in some capacity. Also sent out on loan was the increasingly problematic genius that is Adel Taarabt. The R's favourite that was indisputably instrumental in our dominant championship success in 2011 never really lived up to expectations in the Premier League and stories have emerged about his poor attitude and disruptive effect on the team. Harry had enough, so off he went, to our inconspicuous little neighbours in SW6, to warm the bench over there. I am grateful for all he did for us and for his odd flashes of brilliance in the Premier League but, his contribution no longer merited the expensive concessions the rest of the squad had to endure in order to accommodate him and his ego, the time was right for him to go. However he was not in as much demand as he believed he was, so had to settle for a mediocre role and the prospect of another relegation battle in the Premier League. Some of our young emerging stars have been loaned out to gain first team experience and I wish then all the best and support them whilst looking forward to their return, however the likes of Taarabt, Mbia, Remy and the like had no desire to stay at QPR and there have even been reports of Taarabt kissing the badge of FFC. So, in my opinion, while they are wearing the shirt of another club, they aren't QPR and can rot in hell. We don't need that sort back at QPR. As for Christopher Samba, well enough has been said about that debacle. Then we have Julio Cesar, (and his greed) with all his wealth, surely he could have taken a pay cut in order to play first team football somewhere before fulfilling his wish of playing in a home world cup. Instead he has opted to collect an obscenely huge salary for doing nothing at QPR, watch him retire after the world cup.

On a positive note, Harry did manage to sign Charlie Austin and the reliably solid Richard Dunne on a free with Simpson and O'Neil also joining for no fee. Matt Phillips and the unexpected signing of Karl Henry beefed up a squad that is still woefully short in attack and at the centre of defence although Harry has recently bought in Chevanton on a short term deal (whilst serial crocks AJ And Zamora are side-lined yet again) along with the man mountain and USA international centre half Oguchi Onyewu. Deadline day loan deals of Assou-Ekotto, Nico Kranjcar and Tom Carroll completed first phase of Harry's plans to right all that was wrong about QPR last season.

Probably the biggest shock of all was Joey Barton's return to the team after being banished to Marseilles for the last twelve months. (contrary to what he tweeted) Even more surprising was Harry's decision to pair him in midfield with his long standing enemy Karl Henry. It's a hard one  to understand when you consider Harry was trying to build a close knit team, its unlikely they are best of pals now, or even talking to each other but there are no rumours of it damaging the new found bond and spirit in the team. (It may even turn out to be a stroke of genius.)




ROCK SOLID
It would seem that QPR's aforementioned new and improved bond and team spirit has been a major factor in the R's great start to the season and has bread the belief and confidence to grind out the results required, whilst plugging the leaky defence that plagued us in the PL for the last two seasons. Ultimately this culminated in a record breaking eight games without conceding goal and remaining undefeated in our opening eleven games. This form saw the R's at the top of the table for most of  that run and we currently sit in the top three with a game in hand.

Although I am delighted we are challenging at the top I think we are fortunate to be where we are and that our lofty position in the league flatters to deceive, something still doesn't seem quite right yet. We have managed to amass our haul of points on the back of a some poor performances and ugly wins and it would be unwise to say we are comfortably sitting near the summit of the league. We have ridden our luck and with our game largely based on not conceding, we have on the whole been devoid of any penetrative out and out attacking or dominance and you could argue that we are challenging for promotion having not really got out of first gear yet.

It is understandable that Harry had to stop the team leaking goals but it has lead to a lot of passing the ball sideways in our own half without really getting anywhere, (Henry the crab) with no one wanting to take the ball forward for fear of losing it, even though inevitably that is what we do. Although our ball retention has improved massively on last season, we are still the cause of our own undoing by giving the ball away cheaply, particularly O'Neil, Hoilett, Henry and Barton, but most of the team can be included amongst those guilty of losing possession too often. This can be further compounded when playing Barton and Henry together in the middle and you shouldn't expect to see anything exciting happen when this is the case, even more so when you add O'Neil to the mix. That's not to say they haven't done well this season it's just that this combination is not conducive to what we want to see at Loftus Road in terms of attacking flair. The introduction of a not fully fit Nico Kranjcar to the mix has gone a little way to abate the lack of flair and I think once fully fit, Nico will play a significant part in providing the missing ingredient we our looking for this season. Barton has been influential this season and is comfortable at this level but still blights his game with avoidable misplaced passes and poor dead ball delivery, but on balance has earned his place in the team. I am not his greatest fan but he is an R and while he is giving it his all for QPR I am able to tolerate him. (Just)

If we are to move up a gear and really start to dominate games in the way we did in 2010/11 there are a few players that are going to have to start delivering, the biggest culprit being Junior Hoilett. We have been waiting over a year for him to start producing the form that lead us to sign him but disappointingly, he is rapidly beginning to morph in to the new Sean Wright-Phillips. A bad first touch and poor ball control, coupled with an inability to deliver the ball without giving it away has on the whole been the story that has far outweighed any good that he has produced. I also wonder why one so young is so prone to injury and question his fitness and effort in training, at the very least he needs to work on his strength and conditioning regime. How long do we have to wait before he starts to produce? With fewer opportunities for the equally disappointing SWP I would like to see Phillips given the opportunity to produce the kind of form he did at Blackpool and add some much needed attacking prowess that has been missing since Andros Townsend returned to Spurs. Should this be the case, it should afford Austin the chance to play his normal game up front as he has had to carry the burden of being our only striker for many weeks now and for that reason I don't think it is fair to make a judgement on Charlie Boy yet, but he is getting goals and scores penalties!




HAPPY TEAM MATES
It is good to see Harry looking up for it again and he seems to be committed to the cause even though he has a tendency to go on a tangent and spout some pure bullshit eg "we will be making some mind blowing signings" need I say more? He was very astute in securing the temporary services of Steve McClaren, who made a huge contribution in his short time with us and will be missed now he has moved on to Derby. Harry has also been a little distracted whilst plugging his book of late and I believe it has been an unnecessary distraction to him and he took his eye off the ball for the Burnley game, picking the wrong starting eleven that day, but you've got to love him.

In summary the results to date have been fantastic even though some of the performances have not merited them. You have to be a lot of things in this league if you are to be successful, and winning when your not playing well is one of them. However if we are to maintain our challenge we are going to have to up our game. We are going to have to commit ourselves to being more offensive and move our possession game higher up the pitch and score more goals. Being overcautious and playing deep only invites opposition pressure and we don't cope with that very well. AJ will be back soon and along with Chevanton we will have a few more options on the attacking front and will have the ability to play two up top again. Until I see that happen I am not going to raise my hopes too high and I have to admit the prospect of playing Premiership football this time next year does not fill me with excitement, not yet anyway. This team needs to evolve to reach its potential. Will it happen? If so, how quickly? It should, but we will have to wait and see. In the mean time, it's good to be enjoying supporting the R's again. Weekends have been great!

Come on You R's

The Bush Ranger.






Wednesday, 19 June 2013

#24 QPR 2012/13 - An Unmitigated Disaster

 
It has been a while since my last blog post. It has been too painful to write about the plight of our beloved QPR but, time is a great healer and today, inspired by the release of next seasons fixtures, I am ready to blog about the R's.


NEW KIT
 
I wont go into too much detail from our final games of last season, as you all know we only got a point and only one goal from Stoke onwards. In fact from the Villa game (which we had to win to turn the season around) we only got two points. Suffice to say were just  not good enough and dare I say, we should have gone down the year before. Having said that, we were truly awful last season and it was easily the worst season I have ever had in over forty years following the R's.


OLD KIT
But why was last season such an unmitigated disaster? Especially after all the optimism and hope our transfer activity instilled in even the most pessimistic of R's fans. We will never be able to put it down to one single reason, but one thing is for sure Mark Hughes is the main reason, That and his signings that failed to deliver, some of which were an utter disgrace. On the playing side, I think the players never recovered from playing so well at Spurs and losing and then getting dumped out of the League Cup by Reading days later, when this completion was earmarked as the "one we were gonna try and win this year." As the close season has gone on, we are hearing little stories about the club, players bad attitudes, players consistently late, bad feelings and rifts among the players. The clubs real grafters were stuck on Championship contracts, whilst our big shot new signings waltzed in on their millionaire Premier league contracts without justifying themselves at the club. It seems too, that Messer's Beard and Fernandez have been very na├»ve and have been fleeced by many an agent. We now know that all was not well or happy at Loftus Road and indeed we had not made much progress as a club since the days we were the laughing stock of football under Briatore and regimes before.

Relegation hurt, but what hurt more was the damage done to footballs perception of QPR. We used to be a club that many a football fan all over the county used to say" oh you support QPR, I don't mind them, its a good club" or words to that effect. We were (and still are) the perennial strugglers that always gave it a good honest go, mainly on limited resources and against the odds. The last two seasons in the Premier league has seen QPR sell its soul in pursuit of being an established Premier League club. Football has seen us throw money at overrated and washed out mercenary signings that have failed our club and brought about our failure. Football has watched as QPR has been amongst the leaders in the buying table at the close of each transfer window, spending beyond our means, as our rich Sugar Daddies insist that all is fine on the financial front at QPR and all the figures add up. This is fine while the Sugar Daddies are still interested in the club but what happens when they lose interest? We the fans will still be here to pick up the pieces again but will they? At the moment our rich owners are enthusiastic in the R's and the plan to build a new stadium. The Stadium project far outweighs the disaster of relegation. As a commercial project in W12, it would certainly reap huge rewards on their investment into the club and it is this project that keeps the focus of our owners. Football has seen QPR fail in spectacular fashion and once again we are a laughing stock with many a football fan gloating at such an epic demise.
HARRY - READY TO REBUILD

But what of the useless players we are lumbered with after relegation. Again, lack of football knowhow from the board leaves the club to suffer, as we are stuck with inadequate players, on big, long contacts that are going to be difficult to move on. I remember the days when QPR would lose it's best players because we could not pay them enough. Now we can't get rid of players because we are paying them too much, this just isn't QPR. Harry has been constantly going on about it and has been whinging to all who will listen in the press since before the season ended. After the Wigan game Harry's whole demeanour changed, he looked broken and beat, and I only hope old Harry comes back when we report back for pre season, because if he isn't ready to give it 100% he should say so now. Personally I think if he can get his head right, he's the right man for QPR, I think he has genuine affection for the R's and is one of us now. The state of the club and some of the squad he has inherited has pushed him to the edge, but hopefully now he has the backing of the board, Harry can put together a squad that can get us back up.

Enough of last season now and on to next season and the welcome decision by the club to reduce the season ticket prices in line with our last outing in the Championship. This will go a long way to ensuring our gates don't dip too much and should provide a better return than the meagre two home wins last season. I look forward to not only seeing more wins but more goals and the sound of Pigbag blasting out a lot more this season. Another good decision from the club was to bring back the thicker hoops to our home shirts as opposed to those stupid "Tesco Value bag" hoops and the return of the Red and Black hooped away shirt. The new pitch is good news too but I think we need to paint the back of the Paddock White again, as although blue looked good and think it was bad luck!

On the playing front we are linked with Danny Simpson having lost out on Wayne Bridge. Harry spat his dummy out over this one but did we really want another 33 year old, injury prone has been on big money, I don't think so. Looks like the board have learnt something from last season. With the transfer window set to reopen on July 1st it will be interesting to see who we can get rid of. It would seem that Cesar is Arsenal bound, Granero's agent has said he is moving on, Remy will surly go as it's a world cup season (subject to pending court case). Mbia and Traore don't want to play in the Championship (which is fine by me, they can go. So can Barton, SWP, Hoilett, Green, Ferdinand, and Diakite) whilst Park will be looking for a move and Taarabt is subject to the usual speculation regarding a move and we can only hope and pray that someone, somewhere..... anywhere, takes Bosingwa away from W12.

Harry says he has identified a number of players that he needs to get the R's back up and that the club are actively perusing these targets. I think we need to get at least two new strikers as Zamora (apart from not being very good) needs an operation that would rule him out for a season and if he doesn't have it will be playing in pain and will only be able to play for 40 to 60 minutes a week. I hope they give DJ Campbell another year, he can do it at this level and he's the right kind of player for QPR. Harry has mentioned a lot of the squad aren't up to two games a week so the next month or so will be interesting. I also think that Green is just not good enough, even for the Championship, he makes too many mistakes and is too much of a liability and will cost us points over 46 games. Paddy Kenny must have earned QPR 10 or 12 points on his own the season we went up, that is the bench mark we should be looking for if we are to challenge. Green is nowhere near that so I would like to see a keeper come in or give Murphy a decent chance.

So, with the fixtures released today, we find our opening fixture at home again, this time to Sheffield Wednesday who battled relegation for most of the last season. Let's hope we can put an end to the opening day disasters we have had in the last two years. I think its too early to say how we will do next season as there is a lot of rebuilding to do before them. The only sure think is we wont go up without changes.

WE WANT OUR TROPHY BACK!
In the mean time, as we hope and dream of a successful promotion season back to the premier league, I also hope that we get our soul back as a club. I hope we get our old QPR back with players who want to play for QPR and give it there all for the club. I hope that we can be sensible in our transfer dealings, knuckle down and put some honest graft in. I hope we get our credibility back and enjoy our football and being QPR again. So I leave you with a link to our celebrations when we won promotion back to the Championship in 2004. I choose this promotion because it felt so much better than 2011. We did it against the odds, with real QPR people, who wanted to play for QPR. There were no FA charges or doubts. We earned it and it was great. Just look how the R's packed Leppings Lane end in our last game at Sheffield Wednesday. How great did that feel?

Watch it. It will make you feel good.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIhR4kkuv_o

I, like my fellow R's fans will be watching in anticipation over the coming weeks to see how we manage in our rebuilding project and how we do in our pre season. Another lesson learnt by the club is our pre season tour will be in Devon and Austria. Good call.

Will blog again next month unless something major occurs.

Onwards and upwards. Come on you R's.

The Bush Ranger.


Friday, 19 April 2013

#23 Not Cutting the Mustard

QPR have played four crucial games since my last blog post with twelve valuable points up for grabs in our quest to stave off relegation. Two of those games were six pointers against fellow strugglers at the bottom of the Premier League. Games we went into on the back of our first back to back successes in the premiership and in good form by our recent standards. So how many points did we amass out of the twelve up for grabs.......one. One solitary point from twelve despite our efforts, that now leaves our beloved QPR staring relegation certainty in the face. I, like many fellow R's have been gutted to the core since the Villa game and I have not been able to blog about the R's until now, simply because I was just too upset. But now on the eve of our home fixture against Stoke, I like many other R's, am beginning to come to terms with the almost certain prospect of QPR playing back in the Championship next season.

Why did we fail so miserably to earn the required points in those games? Well a mixture of bad fortune, failure to execute chances and same terrible mistakes, pretty much like the rest of the season. Villa away should have seen us home and dry by half time, as chance after chance went begging with the woodwork also chipping into to deny the R's, whilst the Villa keeper was in inspired form. This was compounded on the stroke of half time when the R's failed to deal with a harmless Villa threat and conceded the equaliser. The second half saw a rejuvenated Villa get another two goals as a lack luster second half performance saw R's players guilty of unforgivable defensive errors that cost us dearly. Spur's loanee Townsend was again in inspirational form as he bagged another goal for the R's along with Jenas. Ultimately the game ended in defeat for QPR as three thousand plus crestfallen travelling R's made their way home wondering just how we managed to throw three points away. Down but not out, yet, and a two week wait for our next fixture away to Fulham.


Jenas celebrates his goal at Villa
True to form the R's managed to mess this game up in even more spectacular style than the previous game at Villa as the two break appeared to have not been of any benefit to the team. Two calamitous mistakes by R's record signing Samba saw him concede a penalty after 8 minutes and get caught in possession to gift Fulham's second goal on 22 minutes. This was further compounded by a Clint Hill own goal on 41 minute to see QPR go 3 nil down echoing memories of our disgraceful drubbing at the Cottage last season. After Zamora had  already wasted our best chance in the first half, the look on Harry's face when the third goal said it all. You just can not plan for individual errors like the ones that littered QPR's first half performance. However a determined Taarabt pulled one back for the R's on 45 minutes after a good finish to give us a glimmer of hope.

Undeterred, the magnificent R's away support remained in fantastic voice throughout, and at half time you would have thought it was the R's that were winning. A more determined R's came out in the second half and with nothing to lose the pressure was now on as wave after wave of QPR attack was launched on the hosts resulting in QPR being awarded a penalty. Sadly, Remy failed to convert as Schwarzer parried and one of four encroaching Fulham players cleared away the subsequent rebound. Undeterred, Remy made amends for his missed spot kick by converting another great chance minutes later, to reduce the deficit to one goal. The R's huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half, easily hammering Fulham in the second half but a combination of great saves from Schwarzer and the R's failing to finish saw the R's leave the Cottage with no points again and a second consecutive three two defeat.


Taarabt - on target again against Fulham
The following week QPR played hosts to perennial strugglers Wigan, in a game that simply had to be won. It would have been a sell out had Wigan managed to sell more than three hundred and forty tickets and the atmosphere was anxious. This was further compounded when Zamora was sent off for an inexplicable high footed challenge on Wigan's Gomez after twenty minutes. With everything for QPR to play for, Wigan failed to take advantage of the extra man and a blood and guts performance from the R's in the second half saw than take the lead with a a fantastic wonder goal form Remy with 5 minutes remaining. This sent the R's faithful into a frenzy as the atmosphere suddenly ignited to a crescendo of sound. As the clock ticked over for 90 minutes, a further 4 minutes of injury time was to be played. The R's back four were coping with Wigan assaults with Samba launching the ball to safety a few times in the dieing moments. Than in the last minute of injury time, QPR's resident clown, Mbia, gave away a needless free kick in a dangerous position. Mbia is a bit like Marmite, in that you like him or you don't. He is a nice bloke but, as a midfielder in the Premier League he is sadly lacking and naive. He persistently fouls and is always left on the deck whilst being guilty of many shameless dives. I have often said he is not ready to be a  midfielder yet and he would be best employed as a right back this season, as we have other players than can do the midfield job. Needless to say the resulting free kick was converted by Maloney to earn Wigan an undeserved point and silent the Loftus Road faithful. This proved to be the last kick of the game and looking around you could see on everyones faces, that they know the game is up for QPR and we are all but down. So very, very disappointing and so very, very painful. Not only did we fail to get the results we needed now,we have failed to get the results all season and the mess we are in is a result of the failings since August when the season began.


Remy scores wonder goal v Wigan
Harry and his troops headed to Everton the following week, still hurting after the cruel way in which fate conspired to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory the week before. The performance was predictably poor. As QPR rolled over and died after going one down just before half time to a wickedly deflected shot. The remainder of the game saw the R's offer very little and we ended the game losing 2 nil. The result leaves QPR ten points off safety with five games and fifteen points to play for and the likelihood of QPR's short Premiership tenure coming to an end soon.

To me, the last two seasons in the Premiership have been the most miserable in over forty years following the R's. For me it has been a nightmare and I've never felt comfortable with our Premiership status, something just didn't seem right. Yes there have been some good bits but on the whole it has been a horrible time compared to all the other years. This has been more painful than the other relegation's I've supported the R's through and that is because of the hope that we get from an era when we have been afforded the best resources and financial backing in our history. That hope fuels the agony and things have gone so very badly and wrong.

Most R's fans seem to have accepted that QPR will be relegated and many are talking of looking forward to next season in the Championship. I myself am reasonably optimistic about our prospects in the Championship, but then again I was optimistic about this season due to signings and the like. We should have done much better this season, but we have not. We should do well next year in the Championship, but will we. This is the QPR roller coaster and who knows who will still be with us next season on the playing and management side. We must wait and see. But we must get it right next time.

In the mean time, although there is a queue of fat lady's waiting to sing, it ain't over yet. And while there's a chance you don't give up,  because you never know.

So,Stoke at home tomorrow and three points to be won. Should we lose, its possible we could be relegated on Monday should results go against us. But, should we win, the fight is still on and Stoke are dragged into even more trouble.

What ever division we are in I'm QPR till I die.

Here we go again. Come on you R's.

The Bush Ranger

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

#22 Thats More Like It

After a not so inspiring February that left despondent R's fans with little hope of survival, QPR have had an excellent start to March, with back to back victories rekindling hopes of survival amongst R's fans alike.

Three thousand plus vociferous QPR fans made the journey to the south coast to support the R's in their do or die fixture against the team who's victory at Loftus Road earlier in the season finally lead to the dismissal of the Harry's predecessor. Thankfully, the R's faithful were rewarded to a rare
Bothroyd grabs the winner at Southampton
 
victory as the team finally managed to show some effective resilience and took their chances in securing a memorable victory. Harry made significant changes to the side as Taarabt, Townsend, Mackie and Zamora made way for Park, Hoilett, Remy and Bothroyd, in a side that Harry picked to work hard and try and get a result. And work hard they did, with Hoilett, Bosingwa, Park and Bothroyd all having one of their better games for QPR. The defence were solid although stretched for periods as Southampton turned on the pressure but QPR were often threatening on the counter attack and delivered two sucker punches as both our strikers got a goal each. After a lively start by the Saints QPR were quick to settle after taking an early lead but following a rare Cesar mistake, the Saints equalised in first half stoppage time, much to the disappointment of the R's as we contemplated the worst could happen. Southampton continued in their cavalier manner but were still vulnerable to the counter attack. Cesar had to go off after taking a knock but the R's regained the lead with 13 minutes to go and held out for a deserved victory despite the 6 minutes injury time, with Green pulling of a world class save to secure the points. Harry had taken some severe stick from the home supporters, but the magnificent R's support countered these jibes as they hailed Harry on his birthday as he celebrated the victory with them at the final whistle.

The fantastic result at Southampton would mean very little unless we could follow it up with another win as we entertained Sunderland at Loftus Road. The R's faithful were there in their numbers as Loftus Road was sold out again, all the more pleasing as the Mackems only had the top tier of the School End with eager R's fans taking advantage to fill the lower tier.


Townsend's wonder volley against Sunderland
Harry recalled the not fully fit Zamora, plus Townsend and Fabio at the expense of Bothroyd, Granero and Traore, as the team was set out to attack and win the game. QPR stated their intentions from the off with Hoilett coming close to putting the R's up in the opening 5 minutes. However, it was Sunderland that took the lead, against the run of play, as a rare break from the Mackems  down the right eventually went across the R's goal to find a completely unmarked Johnson to hammer across goal for Fletcher to divert in. R's fans were gutted as we thought it wasn't going to be our day again following another poor bit of defending but, the team rallied and continued in the same vein as they proved to be the better team. 10 minutes later Remy got the R's equaliser following good work moving the ball from the back to front with a fortuitous bounce into Remy's path.

Sunderland had their best spell in the opening exchanges of the second half but, the R's supremacy quickly resurfaced. Even more satisfying was the fact that, for the first time a very long time, QPR were playing the kind of football we expect at QPR and it was refreshing to see us attacking with two wingers, with what was almost a front four at times. Townsend was outstanding as his run of good form continued in a hooped shirt. Hoilett, Bosingwa and Park also delivered the kind of performance we expected when we signed them and Mbia had a much better game for the R's, managing to stay on his feet and getting on with his job alongside Park. The absence of Taarabt due to injury and Traore saw the frequency in which we give the ball away greatly reduced and with attacks starting on both flanks we were able to get more men in the opponents box far more than I can remember at any other time this season. More importantly, we looked like we could score, we looked comfortable at the back, in fact we looked like we could win. Following continued pressure, R's fans were rewarded in the 70th minute, when Townsend banged home a spectacular volley into the top corner to send the Loftus Road crowd into raptures. As the clock ticked down both the team and fans began to get edgy but in the 90th minute Jenas alleviated the anxiety by driving home a wonder goal from distance to secure the three points for QPR.

So QPR had secured back to back victories in the premier league for the first time since our return (the last time being in 1995) and our first brace of wins for seventy three games.These were the first goals QPR scored in the league at home this year and the first three goal haul of the season. It was also the first victory by more than one goal in a year and the first time the R's have won from a losing position since beating Liverpool 3-2 last season and that was the start of the run that ultimately lead to our survival.

Jenas srikes home to secure points
We are now in mid March and eighth in the form table for 2013 as we look forward to another do or die game at Aston Villa. Results at the bottom of the table last week went QPR's way and the gap on those above has closed as more teams are dragged in to the relegation fight. Villa earned a rare victory at Reading but I think they are one of the poorer sides at the bottom. QPR have now gathered momentum and the results and performances this month are what is needed if we are to survive. But we are still in a very, very difficult predicament. The back to back victories have given us a chance and with that chance comes hope. Its this hope that really hurts you when things go wrong but, that's typical of supporting QPR. We will go into Villa away knowing the last two victories are meaningless unless we can come away from Villa Park with three points. There is no more room for failure. The players have gained confidence from the last two results and under performing star men are at last starting to deliver performances. This has got to continue if we are to survive. I personally think it will be unlikely but have not given up. Three points at Villa on Saturday and maybe Great Escape 2 could be achievable.
Is Great Escape 2 on?
 

Either way, stay up or go down, I was glad to see the return to the QPR way and the players start to deliver. Harry has made a difference to QPR, as have our January signings, with three of them being on the score sheet on Saturday. But we will need to deliver whilst we have the momentum and the opportunity with our run of forthcoming fixtures. Many have written QPR off but, against the odds they have began to turn it around, so credit to the staff and players, that more like it!

And that is more like it, as the new hope (that both fuels and hurts QPR supporters) has been boosted, over three thousand R's supporters will be at Villa Park cheering on QPR in their quest for three points. All we ask is that the team does its best, because our best is good enough to win this one.

Here's hoping. Come on you R's.

The Bush Ranger






 

Friday, 1 March 2013

#21 Do or Die

February is at an end and the closing of the transfer window seems a long time ago, but we have only played three games in that time. As per usual QPR featured in the last day transfer window circus that saw us secure the services of Jermain Jenas, Andre Townsend (loan) and Christopher Samba (a year late) for a new club record of around £12.5million. Added to the earlier acquisitions of Loic Remy, Suk-Young Yun (who?)and Tal Ben Haim it saw The Rangers as the second highest spenders in the transfer window. I never thought I'd ever see the day. Samba is a quality signing, Jenas was once a great player but has hardly been in the spotlight of late, I just hope he can find some good form and stay injury free. Townsend is a handy player and will hopefully do as well as Kyle Walker did at the R's in his stint here on loan. Remy done the business for us in his first game and did as much as he could against Man City but has since been injured. How injured he is depends on which media source you choose to follow, but he has not played for weeks although Harry says he's close to coming back. (Hmmm, we'll see!) In summary this transfer window was pretty much like the last three and I can't help thinking it's still a lot of expensive compromise and players past their peak, with one or two obvious exceptions. Is it good enough to save the R's from doom? Time will tell but I personally don't think they are likely to produce the kind of run we are going to need, but are capable, if they can all find their A game at the same time.

Bunn denies QPR 3 points with penalty save
 
QPR began the month with another Sky live home game against our perennial bogey team Norwich. This was a game we all knew we should win, to start getting the required run going, as we found ourselves unbeaten in 2013 having conceded just once. True to form, pretty much like most of the season, we drew another blank as we failed to score at home but managed to keep a clean sheet and grab a meagre point. Yet again QPR were restricted to shots from outside the area, predominantly coming from Taarabt but, we are still failing to get significant numbers in the opposition area. Harry handed debuts to the excellent Townsend and Jenas (as sub) and the second half saw the introduction of Zamora, who's presence did manage to hold the ball up and the R's did manage to create some better chances late on culminating with Taarabt having a penalty saved, with Norwich keeper Bunn making further crucial saves, but it was too little too late.

Next up was Swansea away. You would have thought one or two of these players would have a point to prove after the thrashing dealt out on the opening day of the season. Think again, Swansea, the team that went up with us, the team that we used to regularly hammer, went on to easily give us another good hiding, as another pathetic QPR performance resulted in capitulation and the shipping of another four goals. Zamora got one back for us to give us brief hope for a couple of minutes, but all in all, this game did little to raise hope in our quest to turn a run of avoiding defeat in to a run of victories and was a big step backwards leaving us seven points off safety.

Harry then took his underachieving team to Dubai to enjoy a weekend off, courtesy of their disgraceful exit in the cup a few weeks earlier. Modern football never fails to amaze me now days and this is another example of just how detached from reality football is at a time when real football fans are struggling to get by day to day.

So, after a jolly up in the sun, the R's returned to face the daunting task of hosting runaway leaders Manchester United. Only the ultra optimists were thinking of getting anything out of this game, which, naturally, we didn't. However were it not for more inept and lazy defending from the usual suspects in the team, we might have got something. Rafael hit a wander goal that he couldn't do again if he tried another hundred times, whilst Samba had one cleared off the line by the same man. I personally feel Mbia can't do what we need in a QPR midfield and still spends most of the time ending up on the deck. I think he's most effective for us at the back and would replace Traore with him at left back. I have lost patience with Traore and don't think he can concentrate nor put a shift in for 90 minutes. Townsend again worked tirelessly for the R's cause in a Jamie Mackie kind of way and is an example of the effort and attitude required to get a run going.

Townsend - playing well for QPR
 
Sadly though, QPR are still struggling to get numbers in the box. We don't commit numbers in the box because it takes us too long to win the ball back when we lose it, so most of the team remains withdrawn from the attack for fear of losing the ball and getting caught out. (However against Fulham at home, we defended higher up and won the ball early in their half. Tabs was effective this way and it worked for us, but we have not done it since then.)It also does not help that we have not had enough fit strikers for most of the season. Zamora, (Mr I don't really like football) having just got back from injury, will miss our crucial game at Southampton after picking up an ankle injury against Man U. It looks like Remy is fit to play, but how fit is he? I've no doubt he is quality and in the little time he has played for the R's he has been effective. I still cant understand how we are left in a position where Bothroyd is in the squad of 25 and Cisse and Campbell have gone out on loan. One thing is for sure if Remy is fit or not, we have got to start committing players forward to score goals and even, perish the thought, shoot inside the area!

Sick note - Doesn't really like football.
 
We now have a run of do or die fixtures coming up. Games that afford us the chance to decide our own destiny. On paper we are good enough to win them. But that will depend on the players that are undoubtedly good enough being bothered. They need to have the guts to do whats needed and take those results. So far they haven't but , this weekend over three and half thousand QPR fans will be going to St Mary's watch these privileged footballers start the recovery we are hoping for. Nothing short of three points will even come close to what we need, but, if they produce another performance like Swansea away, they should be prepared to face however the frustrations of the fans manifests itself. This is a big game for us, a must win game. Since we got back in the Premier we have not done well in these types of games. Quite simply, to stay up, this has got to change.... Now.

I love the R's and it breaks by heart to see us where we are, but the truth is the truth. It's do or die time, so please QPR players, do it for us. At the very least do it for your own personal pride and dignity. Follow the lead of the R's fans that spend their very hard earned cash following QPR up and down the country to watch what is frankly unacceptable and not QPR. We as QPR fans will do our bit as we always do. We will believe right to the end. Above all, we will be QPR and what QPR is and stands for, whatever division we find ourselves in.

Come on you R's

The Bush Ranger





Wednesday, 30 January 2013

#20 A Tale of 2 QPR Teams

 
QPR’s January fixtures looked pretty daunting at the beginning of the year, but now we are at the end of the month, who would have thought that QPR would have gone through January undefeated in the league, having conceded just the one goal.
Remy scores on debut v West Ham
In the last two weeks or so, we have made the short trip to Upton Park, followed by a home tie against League 1 side Mk Dons in the cup and back to the league as we entertained current Premier League Champions Manchester City. Harry’s choice of personnel for the cup game included nine changes from the team that played at West Ham and the result reflected the changes. For the West Ham game, Harry had picked the strongest team available and included R’s debutant Loic Remy. The R’s started the game well, looking very dangerous on the break as the R’s faithful made themselves heard even though the number of R’s at Upton Park could have been considerably higher had the club accepted the larger allocation on offer. Taarabt was a menace and it was his delightful through ball that found Remy who went on to calmly finish and bag a debut goal.  Hammers manager Sam Allardyce’s immediate response to the early danger and the goal was to employ a more direct approach. Rangers have found this kind of approach difficult to cope with this season, as results against the likes of Reading (twice), Stoke, Newcastle etc, and West Ham were able to stifle the R’s counter attacks and dominated the second half, particularly when they brought on Carlton Cole, whose physical presence eventually contributed to West Hams equaliser. The second half onslaught that QPR had to endure would have resulted in the R’s capitulating and succumbing to a heavy defeat in the days of our previous manager. But Harry has quickly got to know the players and the team he picked fought heroically to earn the R’s a point. The whole team battled valiantly and Cesar in particular, kept us in the game with another world class performance. All in all we did fight for our lives and were very lucky to come home with a point.
Next up was MK Dons in the cup and Harry made nine changes to the side, giving players that hadn’t featured lately, the opportunity to prove themselves. On paper it was a strong side featuring seven internationals and players that have won major honours, having played at the highest level and should have been more than capable of beating the side two leagues below them. But this was not to be, as in a weekend that saw a number of Premier League teams knocked out by lower league opposition, the team that was put out went on to disgrace themselves and the club, with a completely pathetic and lack lustre performance, riddled with mistakes as they found themselves four nil down by the 56th minute. Faurlin and Granero lacked confidence, Park was ineffective, Ferdinand was woeful and the rest were not much better. Players that were given the opportunity to secure a place in the squad of twenty five failed miserably, failing to deliver when asked to and only confirmed what we already knew, which is that they are just not good enough.  Although we did manage to get two late goals in the game, it did little to disguise the fact that the fans that attended (in good numbers and  at even more expense) were badly let down by these players. The only consolation we can take from this game, is that we now know who can’t be relied upon to get us out of the mess we’re in. (It is most of these players that have got us in to this relegation fight.)
Following his failure to impress, it would seem that DJ Campbell is on his way out with a number of championship outfits interested and thankfully, Ferdinand has gone on loan to Turkish side Bursaspor until the end of the season. Harry has loaned out a few of the more promising youngsters to get some meaningful competitive experience, whilst Bothroyd is intent on staying to fight for a place.
Julio Cesar - World class performance
So after more transfer speculation and Harry’s talk of gang war amongst agents in the transfer market, Tuesday arrived and with it our home game to Man City. Harry went for the strongest team he could pick, but Mackie was surprisingly omitted apparently with a back injury amid speculation that he could go to Stoke as part of a deal to secure the services of Peter Crouch. He also named two keepers as substitutes, was this a subliminal message to Fernandes for more players or did Mackie pull out of the squad injured very late. Wright-Philips missed out through injury as this QPR eleven put in arguably the most hard working shift of the season, as we comfortably earned an unexpected point. After a fairly forceful start by City, a well organised and hardworking QPR side played their hearts out to avoid defeat with a new air of fluency that we don’t normally have when Wright-Philips starts.  Taarabt worked the hardest I have ever seen him, as did Fabio and Remy made some useful runs and was a general nuisance when he had the opportunity. Traore a player normally subject to criticism from me had a very good game, enjoying his wing back role as Harry played a 3-5-1-1 formation. Onuoha continued his improved performances and is starting to hit a fine run of form. Hill, Nelsen and Derry were as dependable as ever and Cesar was again world class and was a major factor in earning this point. Mbia had a good game but still needs to stay on his feet more, whilst Granero worked hard, but gave the ball away far too often. Granero is a quality player, but is seriously lacking in confidence at the moment (since he cut his hair!) but his game did improve over the 90 minutes, I just hope if he is to stay that he can knuckle down like the others and contribute to our survival effort, but I still think we are yet to see the best of Granero and he will prove to be much more useful than the hapless Park.  Harry had the good sense to substitute the two players on bookings(Mbia and Granero) late on to avoid the prospect of trying to get over the line a man down whilst Remy went off late on to be replaced by the returning Zamora.  
Ryan Nelsen - QPR great, off to MLS
Ryan Nelsen ended his QPR career in fine style, putting in a typical herculean effort that epitomises the man and although only at Rangers a short while, will go down as a QPR great. His team mates recognised his efforts by giving him a guard of honour as he left the field, after he had said his goodbyes to the adoring R’s faithful. Good luck Ryan, you served us well.
So, now we all know we have not got a second string eleven that we can rely on, but have a first choice eleven fighting for our survival, but it is obvious that we have got to strengthen the squad if we are to remain in the top flight. As I close this blog post on the penultimate day of the transfer window, we have secured the services of South Korean full back Yun Suk-Young. I don’t know much about him, but he was one of the stars of London 2012 and was on Liverpool’s radar for some time.  Tony Fernandes was absent from the City game as he was on a flight somewhere to try and secure another signing yet to be divulged. But I think he went to get Christopher Samba, as reports are emerging that he is in London with a deal close to being done after QPR made a bid.  We did not secure the signing of M’Vila and the Livermore loan deal looks dead, but we are in talks with Stoke with regard to Crouch. If we were to secure these two players I can’t see QPR going back to WBA with improved offers for Odenwingie or Olsen. It is also being reported that the club have given Faurlin permission to speak to Palermo about a loan move for the rest of the season.  As with all transfer speculation you can never be sure till the deals done, but it looks like QPR are again going to be in the headlines in the transfer window.
January can unexpectedly go down as our best month of the season so far even though we have not scored many goals, but there has been a significant change in our performances and it looks like the start of something promising. Harry has told the world he is going to save QPR. “I’m going to do it. Just watch this space” he said. You can’t question his commitment to the R’s, it’s so refreshing, especially compared to the useless incumbent that he replaced. However, the unexpected points we earned against the top opposition will mean nothing unless we can take all the spoils when we play those around us. This has to start on Saturday in our live game against the old bogey team, Norwich. We are well overdue giving them a good beating, this Saturday would be nice. The year has started well for us, but those around us are picking up points too so it is vital that we up our game. The fixtures to the end of April are all winnable and could produce a run that could see us get out of the mire we are in. Not only is it possible, but with Harry at the helm it’s feasible.
Come on you R’s we’re all behind you.



The Bush Ranger.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

#19 A Glimmer of Hope

After a dismal Christmas that culminated with QPR ending the year on only ten points, seemingly staring relegation in the face, we are now two league games and a cup game in to the new year and remain undefeated.

Celebrating going one up at Chelsea
We began the year with the daunting task of visiting a free scoring Chelsea at the Bridge and after our disappointingly poor showing against Liverpool few people could see anything less than the kind of hiding they gave us there last season. Nevertheless three thousand plus R's made the short journey having splashed out ridiculous amounts of money for a ticket at a time of the year when money was tight and they were deservedly rewarded with the shock result of the season as "Little Old" QPR beat the European Champions on their own manor. R's fans every where were jumping around in delirium even though we remained bottom of the league, it didn't matter, we had beaten Chelsea. In fact they have not scored against us this season and we have taken four points off them. More importantly, it was an enormous turning point in the epic journey that our players have embarked on in their quest to secure our premier league survival. This result meant so much to everyone that is QPR (fans, player or staff) and you could see it on their faces at the final whistle. The travelling R's had been in magnificent voice all night and the players revelled in it as, at long last they were able to give something back to the loyal R's fans. Wright-Philips was our goalscoring hero on the night, eventually breaking his premier league goal scoring drought (after over nine hundred days) but disappointingly did not celebrate his goal due to some misguided respect to his former club. It was quite fitting that he managed to score here tonight, as he was having a shocking game till he scored, but that's football and that's three points that nobody had counted on us achieving and can be offset against the points we expected over Christmas. More importantly, Harry sorted out the shambles from the  Liverpool game immediately and although we nicked the win we thoroughly deserved our clean sheet as every one worked their socks off as a cohesive unit, finally getting all eleven players to put an effective shift in. Much as we all love beating our foes in SW6, we've still got to build on this result to turn this disaster of a season around, so our feet must remain firmly on the ground.
Goal
Next up was WBA at Loftus Road in the cup and an unsurprisingly low attendance. Considering the two home games over Christmas followed by Chelsea away and the clubs insistence on charging silly money for tickets to this game, you would have thought they would have learnt from Chelsea in the cup last year. The game itself was quite uneventful and was never going to meet the euphoric levels of our shenanigans at Stamford Bridge days earlier. It did give Harry a chance to blood new signing Tal Ben Haim as well as have a look at returning loanees DJ Campbell and Bothroyd. Ben Haim had a solid game although he was asked to play at left back as a right footer and Bothroyd had a brief outing without doing very much and I cant see Harry including him in the squad of twenty five at the end of the month. Campbell who has been scoring freely whilst on loan at Ipswich, didn't get much of an opportunity as QPR's second half dominance failed to produce any clear cut opportunities for Campbell to capitalise on. The R's early second half dominance eventually petered out and they conceded a silly goal late on, but Dyer equalised for the Hoops in injury time to secure a replay at the Hawthorns. Dyer was subsequentley released by the club before the clause enabling them to do so expired, as Harry started to shuffle and make room for his twenty five man squad for the end of January. Harry's motives I suspect being Dyer's lack of availability due to injury and he didn't want to risk a place in the twenty five. Not a bad player, shame we didn't see much of him and I wish him well, but right call from Harry I think.

Following the cup game news began to break that our dependable centre half Ryan Nelsen had accepted the managers role at Toronto FC in the MLS. We are still unsure as to when Nelly will actually leave the R's, but I'd say it is unlikely to be before we have a replacement. Sadly some R's fans have been slating him and seem to have forgotten he was the only one to lead the team during the dark days of the previous manager. Nelsen signed for QPR as a squad player, but he has ended up being our first choice centre half and has arguably been our best player this season. The 35 year old Kiwi has openly said that his ankles and knees are made of glass and I'm amazed we've got this many games out of him. He has played through illness and given his all to the cause of QPR and I wish him well.

Dyer late equaliser before his exit from QPR
Further transfer speculation involving QPR is the continuing tug of war with Newcastle over the signing of Loic Remy, (I doubt very much if R's misfit, Joey Barton, has done much to sell the club to Remy, in fact he's probably encouraged him to go to the Toon.) whilst we continue to be linked with M'Vila and are currently preparing an improved bid for Peter Odemwingie. At the time of writing, it looks likely that we will also secure the services of Jake Livermore on loan for the rest of the season. On the players out front, Cisse is being linked with a move abroad and rumours are surfacing that Chelsea are interested in Mbia.

Away from all the transfer rumours, QPR welcomed Harry's old club Spurs to Loftus Road on Saturday and a very good performance from the R's earned a creditable draw. Harry got the troops to turn out another hard working and organised performance, as the R's managed to secure their first consecutive clean sheets in the premiership. Onuoha and Fabio occupied full back roles alongside captain Hill and Nelson, with this back four configuration seeming to be our most successful combination and Onuoha had a good game and looked settled in the right back role. However, it was the collective work rate of the team that earned this result and is the reason behind the good start to the year. Cesar made a few outstanding saves, proving his claim as first choice keeper. Wright-Philips recent form continued in so much as he's not as bad as he has been, but he is still not good enough or the answer. QPR's three best chances fell to him, but he failed to convert and I can't help thinking that the likes of Campbell etc would have put at least one of those chances away, which is what we need to to if we want to stay in this league. By the end of the day other results were not kind to us, but our last two games have produced four points when those around us were expecting us to achieve none.

Bothroyd scores to secure cup win
I was going to finish with the Spurs game, but I have waited for the cup replay at WBA. Another thousand odd faithful QPR travelled up in the freezing conditions to the Hawthorns to be rewarded by another QPR victory away from home. Harry made six changes to the side from Saturday starting both Cisse and Bothroyd. Cisse was pretty woeful in the freezing conditions and was replaced by Wright-Philips halfway through, but Bothroyd seized his chance and produced arguably his best performance in a QPR shirt and nodded in the winner to put the R's into the last 32 and a home tie with MK Dons. Green is reported to have made some fine saves and more importantly the collective effort of the team that Harry put out replicated the ethos and work rate of Saturday and it would seem our Harry has got through to his players and they are beginning to deliver. Many had thought this fixture to be a non event and one we could do without, but the victory has made me feel good and the all important momentum has continued as we find ourselves unbeaten in four games in 2013. Of these four games we have conceded only one goal, had three clean sheets and surprisingly our goalscorers were Wright-Philips, Dyer and Bothroyd. In 1982 we won a 3rd round replay that no one fancied up at Middlesboro after a late equaliser in the home tie, and that year we got all the way to the final, you never know we might have a good run in the cup this year.

Loic Remy signs for QPR


Finally as I complete this blog post, QPR have just confirmed the signing of Loic Remy from Marseilles (No thanks to Barton,but big thanks to Fernandes and Mbia) and the signing of M'Vila is looking imminent. Bottom of the table and people still want to sign £or u$. Here's hoping these guys love the club and deliver.

Next up is West Ham away this Saturday, who will have one day less to prepare as they have a replay at Man U to negotiate and a number of injury worries. We need to get at least a point from there. In Harry we trust, thanks for the nice start to the new year and thanks for giving us a glimmer of hope.

Come on You R's


The Bush Ranger