Jumat, 28 September 2012

Bowen chasing victories

Bowen: Knows QPR need to start winning games

Mark Hughes signed 10 players, including the likes of Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar and Junior Hoilett this summer, but his team are second from bottom of the Premier League after taking just two points from their opening five games.

The team's poor form has left the players and staff at Loftus Road highly frustrated, according to Bowen.

Rangers have had a difficult fixture list to contend with, and they were unlucky not to win at Spurs last weekend, but the club's 3-2 home defeat to Reading in the Capital One Cup demonstrated that the Londoners still have much work to do and Bowen thinks it is about time the players started delivering the results that their performances have merited.

"The overall impression among the fans, the players and staff is that we are all frustrated," Bowen said on QPR's London call-in.

"We have been saying: 'our season kicks off here' for the last couple of games. We have to start winning.

"We keep saying th at we have been playing well for long periods against tough sides, but everyone knows we have to put a win on the board.

"It's ridiculous to look at a club with the quality we have got and see where we are in the table. It has been difficult, but we have to get some points on the board to give everyone a chance to take a breather and put smiles on faces."

Any win will only come if the QPR defence sharpen up their act, Bowen claims.

Rangers have been hampered by injuries to Fabio, Armand Traore and Anton Ferdinand recently, but their replacements did not fare well against the Royals on Wednesday night.

Kaspar Gorkss beat his marker to head home Nicky Shorey's free-kick in the latest example of poor marking from the Hoops' defence and that is something which has clearly irked former Norwich and Wales defender Bowen.

"We have to cut out silly defensive mistakes," he added.

"When we came in to the club last January I thought we were good at defending set plays. This year we have been a bit off.

"We aren't getting to the second ball and it has cost us dearly. We have to work on situations to make sure that the lads keep their concentration until the ball is cleared."

Bowen, who used to ply his trade at left-back, is also unhappy at the club's full-backs for their lack of discipline.

"At times we have let ourselves go defensively. Our full-backs have bombed on too much at the same time," he said.

"One of them should be holding while the other one goes forward. We will work on those things.

"At times we have got excited and we have ended up chasing games. We have to remind the players that they have defensive duties at times."

QPR's sixth attempt at recording their first Barclays Premier League win of the season will come on Monday night when they host West Ham.

Bowen raised hopes that two of the club's key players - Adel Taarabt and Alejandro Faurlin - will be fit for the game.

Taarabt has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem and Faurlin came off during the Reading game with a leg injury.

"Ale Faurlin took a nasty bump on his leg but we are hopeful that it will settle down and that he will be able to play," Bowen said.

"We are very hopeful about Adel. He has done a lot of intensive work with the physios so I would imagine he will be working with the main group of players over the weekend.

"I am sure he is putting his name forward for Monday."

QPR v West Ham preview

Bosingwa: Hamstring injury

QPR are without four first-team defenders for the London derby.

Anton Ferdinand, Jose Bosingwa and Fabio are all out with hamstring injuries and Armand Traore (leg) is also unavailable.

Striker Andy Johnson is out with a long-term knee injury but midfielder Adel Taarabt could return after missing the last two games with a hamstring problem.

QPR (from): Green, Cesar, Onuoha, Hill, Nelsen, Mbia, Diakite, Derry, Park, Granero, Dyer, Taarabt, Hoilett, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Ephraim, Mackie, Zamora, Cisse.

West Ham (from): Team news to follow...

Kamis, 27 September 2012

Rovers to get 4m for Hoilett

Hoilett: Joined QPR in the summer

The 22-year-old left Ewood Park to join the R's after his contract expired and the two clubs have now agreed an initial fee of 3million, which could rise by 1million depending on appearances.

Rovers also revealed they will be entitled to a sell-on fee should the Canadian winger depart Loftus Road for a fee higher than that which the Premier League club have paid for his services.

Had the clubs been unable to reach an agreement, the fee would have been determined by the Professional Football Compensation Committee.

Hoilett came through Blackburn's academy and made 92 first-team appearances for the Lancashire club before signing a four-year deal at QPR.

McDermott praises Royals resolve

McDermott: Left proud

Both sides went into the match in search of a morale-boosting victory after failing to notch up wins in the Premier League so far this season.

QPR twice took the lead through Junior Hoilett and then Djibril Cisse, but saw their efforts chalked off by Kaspars Gorkss and an outstanding Nicky Shorey free-kick.

Former Fulham striker Pavel Pogrebnyak turned the tie on its head with a late backheel that saw the Royals progress to the last 16, despite him missing a stoppage-time penalty.

"I was proud of my team and the way they came back," said Reading boss McDermott.

"I talked about identity and the last two games in the Barclays Premier League against Spurs and West Bromwich Albion I just feel we have not performed to a level.

"Our identity as a team is what you saw tonight, what we're about, and I know if we perform at that level and that tempo with the way we pass the ball with pace then we are going to be more than capable in this leag ue. No problem.

"I felt we needed to strip the team back to what we're about, really.

"In the last couple of games our tempo has been slow and we haven't getting crosses into the box or creating too many chances.

"We really stripped the side back. We had good conversations in the dressing room and we wanted to get a result and we did that tonight."

Reading's reward is a home tie with Arsenal and, while pleased with the draw, McDermott's main focus is getting a first league win of the season this weekend.

"It is a good draw, we're really happy with it," he said. "I am sure we'll have a few people at the Madejski Stadium for that.

"We look forward to that but before that we have a big game against Newcastle that we're really looking forward to and tonight's result will be important going into that."

QPR also return to Premier League action, looking for a first victory against West Ham, after a night manager Mark Hughes when was left wondering what could have been.

"At 2-1 going into the last period of the game we certainly felt we had done enough," the Welshman said.

"We had to battle hard for that and credit to Reading because it was a different test today.

"We had to stand up to a physical challenge and they did a pressing game, which I thought for the most part we dealt reasonably well with certainly in the first half.

"We got the ball down and created a number of good opportunities that we didn't really capitalise on.

"Obviously at 2-1 I felt we were in the ascendancy and had done enough, but it was an outstanding free-kick from Shorey, which he always has the capability of and at 2-2 it was anybody's game.

"We are disappointed with the manner of the third goal because there were too many consecutive errors that led to the lad having space and time to be able to backheel it in our six-yard box.

"To lose it in that manner is disappointing but it i s understandable to a certain extent given the changes and the injuries we have at the back.

"We haven't had that continuity at the back, which you need to bang results out.

"It is difficult at the moment because we're playing guys at different levels of fitness and we're trying to get everyone up to speed.

"That will come but we're just not there at the moment."

It had looked like a bad night for QPR had been compounded late on when Alejandro Faurlin limped off.

The Argentinian midfielder has only just recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury but Hughes believes he has avoided another serious blow.

"I have not had an update, in fairness," Hughes said. "I think he landed on his hip.

"As a consequence, he was struggling to walk because he might have banged a nerve or something but I am pretty sure it was not his knee, thankfully."

Rabu, 26 September 2012

Terry hearing into fourth day

Terry: Will return for a fourth day of his disciplinary hearing

Luis Suarez's racism hearing last year took four days to complete and Terry's appearance before an FA independent regulatory panel will last at least that long.

Chelsea skipper Terry spent eight hours on Wednesday at the hearing at Wembley Stadium, where he denies a charge that he used a racist slur towards QPR's Anton Ferdinand in October last year.

The 31-year-old was accompanied by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck for the duration of the hearing and both departed shortly before 4.30pm.

Liverpool striker Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, but was found to have done so on a number of occasions during the match.

Terry is accused of a single utterance towards Ferdinand, which has led to some speculation that if found guilty the Chelsea player would be more likely to receive a four-match ban.

Close analysis of the full reasons behind Suarez's ban shows that Terry could easily face a si milar length ban if found guilty.

In Suarez's case, the FA argued for an increased sanction "to ensure that it is widely understood that the FA deprecates and will not accept racist behaviour. In other words, a deterrent sanction is called for".

The FA also pointed out that "Mr Suarez is an international footballer of exceptional ability, playing for one of the best-known clubs in the world. His position carries with it a particular degree of responsibility. His conduct amounts to a serious breach of that responsibility".

Those criteria also apply to Terry - particularly given that he was England captain at the time of the incident.

Terry and his advisors are hoping that he will be completely exonerated - and if he is not an appeal looks almost certain to be lodged because it is understood the FA would not regard such an action as frivolous.

Terry was found not guilty in a magistrates' court in July of a racially-motivated public order offe nce with the prosecution unable to prove he had called Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" as an insult.

Terry admitted using the words, but insisted he had only been repeating words he thought Ferdinand had accused him of saying.

The FA's decision to press ahead with their own charges infuriated Terry to the extent that on the eve of the disciplinary hearing he announced he was quitting international football with immediate effect, saying his position was "untenable".

Terry's legal team had argued the governing body's own rules dictated his acquittal in court means the case cannot proceed but the FA believed their charge was distinct from the court charge.

Selasa, 25 September 2012

Hughes: We held back Dyer

Dyer: Set to start against Reading

The injury-plagued midfielder looks set to start his first game in 13 months on Wednesday.

Dyer signed for QPR on a free transfer last summer, but his Hoops career got off to the worst possible start when he suffered an ankle injury six minutes in to his debut against Bolton.

The injury was thought to be a minor one at the time but he had complications in his rehabilitation and then suffered agonising ligament damage during a reserve game against Tottenham later that season.

The 33-year-old looked like he had never been away on Sunday, though, as he came off the bench to impress in the 2-1 London derby defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Dyer had only been used as a substitute in the club's previous games against Walsall and Manchester, but could be thrown in for a first start tomorrow against Reading in the Capital One Cup.

"I thought Kieron was brilliant against Tottenham," QPR manager Hughes said.

"He has been out so lo ng that we have been trying to ease him back.

"Maybe we got that a little bit wrong because we brought him on after two minutes (against Spurs) and he still looked full of energy after 90.

"You have got to give him credit. It's been a long road back for him but you saw what he can bring to the team."

Dyer replaced Jose Bosingwa after the Portuguese pulled his hamstring at the start of the match.

The former Chelsea man is likely to be out for some time, and Dyer is happy slotting in to the right-back position where he began his career.

"I started my career at Ipswich there and made my England debut at right-back," Dyer said.

"I haven't played there for a while but I was happy about how it went against Tottenham."

Rangers are still searching for their first Barclays Premier League win of the season, but they have a chance to earn a morale-boosting victory when they entertain Reading tomorrow.

Hughes will rotate his team t o allow some squad players a chance to impress, but is likely to retain some key players like captain Park Ji-Sung.

The midfielder, who signed from Manchester United this summer, is not concerned about the club's poor start to the season.

"It's incredible that we didn't win the Spurs game," the midfielder told QPR's website.

"We deserved to win and were the better side.

"We played well at home to Chelsea last weekend and then continued that at White Hart Lane. We were so dominant in the first half.

"Results will come soon. I am confident of that and so are my team-mates.

"The league table isn't a true indicator of where we are in terms of our performances. We're only five games into the season.

"We will continue to work hard and the points will come."

Terry hearing heads into third day

Terry: Hearing is expected to go into a third day

Terry is facing an FA independent regulatory hearing into a charge that he used a racist slur towards QPR's Anton Ferdinand in October last year.

The 31-year-old was accompanied by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck at the hearing at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday morning, and the defender departed shortly after 1pm.

He is expected to return on Wednesday to hear evidence in his favour - with team-mate Ashley Cole possibly called upon again to testify.

Cole gave evidence that helped exonerate Terry in his Westminster Magistrates Court case in July related to the same incident. Cole told the court: "We shouldn't be sitting here."

Meanwhile, former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins, who also testified on the Blues defender's behalf in court, has said he is prepared to go to the FA hearing to support Terry, who announced his international retirement on Sunday.

Wilkins told ESPN: "I called John immediately after his decision to resign from the England team to see how he is. We didn't talk about my attendance at the FA hearing, but I am there for him if he needs me.

"I gave evidence on his behalf at the magistrates' court and I would do so again at the FA hearing, if they wish me to."

QPR v Reading preview

Bosingwa: Has hamstring injury

QPR defenders Anton Ferdinand and Jose Bosingwa will miss the game due to hamstring injuries.

Armand Traore (leg), Andy Johnson (knee) and Fabio (hamstring) are also unavailable.

Stephane Mbia and Adel Taarabt are fit after recovering from their respective groin and hamstring problems, while Kieron Dyer may start his first match since the opening day of last season after impressing as an early substitute at White Hart Lane.

Reading boss Brian McDermott will look to give some of his squad players a run out.

Mali winger Jimmy Kebe could make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a hamstring problem and coming through a practice match unscathed.

Jason Roberts (calf) and Adam Federici (knee) are the two players unavailable to McDermott although Roberts could return at the weekend.

QPR (from): Green, Cesar, Onuoha, Hill, Nelsen, Mbia, Diakite, Derry, Park, Granero, Dyer, Taarabt, Hoilett, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips , Ephraim, Mackie, Zamora, Cisse.

Reading (from): McCarthy, Taylor, Gunter, Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, Harte, McAnuff, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Tabb, McCleary, Kebe, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre, Hunt, Robson-Kanu, Church.

Senin, 24 September 2012

Dyer never thought of quitting

Dyer: Played 90 minutes at White Hart Lane

Dyer played 90 minutes of Premier League football for the first time since November 2010 on Sunday when he replaced Jose Bosingwa in the opening stages of QPR's 2-1 defeat to Tottenham.

Before Sunday's game Dyer had only played 24 minutes of top-flight football for Rangers since signing for the London club on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old picked up an ankle problem six minutes in to his debut last August and then suffered a setback in his rehabilitation before sustaining ligament damage in a reserve game against Spurs which ruled him out for the remainder of last season.

The former England midfielder had been dogged by hamstring and leg injuries prior to joining the Hoops, but he insists he never thought about retiring thanks to the faith shown in him by manager Mark Hughes, who handed him a surprise contract extension in the summer.

"If it had been a repeat of my hamstring injuries then I would have worried about my career, but the inju ries I had last year were just freak ones," Dyer said.

"Not once did I get down. I just thought that if I get another chance then I'm going to prove everyone wrong. I got a lot of messages of support and the new contract was a huge vote of confidence for me.

"Neil Warnock was devastated when I got the injury. He said to give it a few weeks and then we'd sit down and talk about the future. But then there was a change of manager and Mark Hughes pulled me straight away and said he wanted to give me another chance.

"He said: 'I want you to get fit and next season we're going to give you another chance because I've played against you in the past and I know what you can do'."

With Dyer having played just 35 times in four years for West Ham, many were surprised QPR took a chance on the former Newcastle player at the beginning of last term.

The fact his introduction was greeted with ironic cheers from the home support clearly shows many feel Dyer w ill never be able to shake off his 'injury-prone' tag, but he is not worried about any sniping that comes his way from the terraces.

"I've been called a lot worse than injury-prone, trust me," he said.

"I've been hammered many a time through the years and you do develop a thick skin so it doesn't bother me. I've been called every name under the sun, but if I stay on the pitch then I know I'm going to prove the doubters wrong."

Dyer went some way to proving his critics wrong yesterday with a solid performance at White Hart Lane.

The Ipswich-born player slotted in to the right-back position comfortably and kept the likes of Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey relatively quiet until the Welshman out-paced the entire QPR defence en route to setting up Jermain Defoe for Tottenham's winner in the second half.

Dyer was happy with his performance and with QPR currently suffering from a shortage of defenders, the 33-year-old may well be called upon for We dnesday's Capital One Cup game against Reading and the club's league game against West Ham on Monday night.

"I hope I've got a lot of games left in me," he said.

"Yesterday was a good test for me, I'm gutted we didn't get the three points but from a personal view it's going well.

"I feel 100%. I felt I was up and down like a young Kyle Walker, especially in the first half. The hamstrings held up well and playing against one of the best wingers in the world in Gareth Bale was a good test."

Sabtu, 22 September 2012

Hughes wary of Spurs new boys

Hughes: Brands Dembele as 'outstanding'

The Hoops boss managed the pair in his spell at Fulham during the 2010/11 season in which he led the Cottagers to an eighth-placed finish.

United States international Dempsey shone under Hughes, who can take much credit for bringing Dembele to the club from AZ Alkmaar.

Fulham made a hefty profit on the 25-year-old when they sold him to Tottenham this summer and Hughes is well aware what a threat he poses on Sunday.

"I've got huge regard for Mousa," the QPR manager said.

"He is an outstanding football player and now he is at a club which, and this is no disrespect to Fulham, has a higher profile and is getting a lot more attention.

"But he was still producing what people have seen in a short period of time, week in, week out for me and Martin Jol when I left.

"He is an outstanding footballer and I always knew when he came to the Premier League that he would make an immediate impact. He certainly has done that.

"He is tec hnically very, very accomplished. He is able to play in a number of positions: he can play off the front, right up top, he can play in midfield, he can play in wide positions. That's the quality of the player that we are talking about.

"I knew almost immediately when he went to Tottenham that he would enjoy it and be able to fit in very, very quickly because he is an outstanding football player."

While Dembele will likely receive a warm reception whenever he returns to Fulham, Dempsey - much like Hughes - somewhat tarnished his time at the club by the way he departed.

The 29-year-old made it clear that he wanted to leave SW6 and, after a move to Liverpool failed to materialise, joined Dembele at White Hart Lane.

"If players want to move, they can instigate moves," Hughes said when asked about Dempsey.

"That seems to have been the case but I am not privy to the details.

"In the end, Fulham ideally I imagine would have liked to keep hi m.

"Sometimes you have to accept that the player wants to move on and at that point you have to make sure you get the best deal for your club and I am sure that is what Fulham did.

"Clint is a very single-minded young man and he is a guy that is very, very driven.

"He wants to progress in his career and he does everything to that end.

"He works exceptionally hard in training, had an outstanding season obviously when I was manager and probably topped that with the amount of goals he scored for Fulham last year.

"You probably felt it was the right time for him to move. He was at the peak of his powers and he wanted to move on to pastures new.

"It was a little bit of a surprise that he ended up at Spurs because there was a lot of talk he would go elsewhere."

Dempsey could make his Premier League debut for Tottenham tomorrow in a match in which QPR are struggling for numbers due to injuries.

The west Londoners' defence will be without Anton Ferdinand, Fabio, Stephane Mbia and Armand Traore for the White Hart Lane clash.

Samba Diakite and Andrew Johnson are also unavailable, while Adel Taarabt is a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury yesterday.

Jumat, 21 September 2012

Prem to discuss spending controls

Premier League: Clubs to discuss spending controls

The 20 clubs have been split into two groups of 10 on a geographical basis, with the southern group to meet on Monday and the northern group on Wednesday.

The majority of clubs are in favour of some kind of cost control measure - the sticking points are likely to be which measure is adopted and what the sanctions will be for breaking the rules.

Ideas include adopting UEFA's financial fair play system where clubs must break even, or clubs only being allowed to spend a maximum percentage of their annual income on player costs - for example 70%, the system operated by the European elite club grouping G14 a decade ago.

Another proposal is limiting increases in spending on player wages to 10% a year, as suggested by Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Perhaps the option most likely to win universal approval is clubs having to be able to guarantee they can operate for several years in the future rather than just one.

Under the guaranteed liabili ty plan, if club have players on five-year contracts, as most do, they would have to be able to prove they can guarantee those funds for the length of those contracts.

In the case of Portsmouth, the club twice went into administration when some of their biggest costs included paying the salaries of high-earning players who were under long-term contracts but whom the club could not afford.

The clubs most opposed to cost control measures are Manchester City, Chelsea and Fulham but even they might be inclined to accept a system to guarantee financial liabilities.

The sanctions for breaking the rules are unlikely to be as drastic as UEFA's system which threatens to exclude clubs from European competition if they do not come close to breaking even.

In the Premier League, a transfer ban or fine is much more likely to be agreed to punish transgressions.

Top-flight clubs will have more income than ever before to spend when the new 3billion-plus dom estic TV deal comes into effect next season, and the league is hopeful there will also be an increase overall in the value of the overseas rights - though it is likely to drop in some territories due to the economic situation.

The league issued an invitation to tender today for the rights to show top-flight matches in north, central and south America and the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, Premier League chiefs have been delighted with approach of both Liverpool and Manchester United ahead of the clubs' meeting this weekend and are hopeful that the pre-match handshake will go off without any controversy, such as players refusing to take part, and that fans will refrain from any offensive songs relating to Hillsborough and Munich.

The league have no intention of ending the routine despite Anton Ferdinand refusing to shake John Terry's or Ashley Cole's hand last weekend.

They expect Luis Suarez, who caused uproar last season by ignoring Patrice Evra's attempt ed handshake, to this time shake hands.

England manager Roy Hodgson's remarks on Thursday about the dearth of English players and the timing of some live TV matches on Sundays caused a raised eyebrow with league chiefs but it is understood they are not intending to react directly to the FA.

Kamis, 20 September 2012

RDM: Players should shake hands

Di Matteo: Urged QPR's players not to boycott the pre-match handshake

The Blues boss has declared John Terry and Ashley Cole fit to take their place in his starting XI.

Di Matteo revealed he expected Terry and Cole to play their part in the handshake ritual, which the Premier League later confirmed would go ahead before Saturday's west London derby at Loftus Road.

That is despite QPR having no idea today how many of their own players would snub the Chelsea duo, who return to Loftus Road for the first time since Terry was cleared in court of racially abusing Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry still faces a Football Association charge - which he denies - over the matter and looks certain to be blanked by Ferdinand should the pair both start tomorrow.

Cole, whose evidence helped clear Terry in court and who has been nursing an ankle injury along with his captain this week, is likely to meet with the same response.

Beyond that, it is unclear how many of QPR's players - most of whom were not at the clu b when last October's altercation between Terry and Ferdinand took place - will follow suit.

Striker Bobby Zamora has already said he will shake the hand of Terry, who he played alongside at schoolboy level.

But despite having held talks with opposite number and former Chelsea team-mate Mark Hughes, Di Matteo admitted he was in the dark about what would happen tomorrow.

"I do not know, but I hope that they will as well respect the rules and go ahead with it and we can all focus on the football," he said.

"I know 'Sparky', Mark Hughes, very well and we touch base every now and again, and speak.

"Hopefully, everybody will focus on football tomorrow and move on.

"That's the most important aspect. The Premier League is watched all over the world now and we have to set a good positive standard for everyone watching.

"The handshake is just part of that, part of the Respect Campaign. Hopefully, the game will be played in good spirit. "

Di Matteo insisted there we no problems from his own players' point of view.

He said: "Our players are fine. They are respecting the rules and we're going to go ahead with it.

"I will speak to my players and, from our point of view, there are no issues."

The last two meetings between the clubs saw the pre-match handshake cancelled, primarily to avoiding prejudicing Terry's trial but also amid fears of a mass boycott by QPR's players.

Hughes has called for the ritual to be scrapped completely but Di Matteo said: "It's in place, so we respect it. The game would still go on if it wasn't in place.

"It just gives a good outlook to the people that there is one beforehand, and everyone will focus on their game."

Tomorrow's handshake also has the potential to fan the flames of supporter enmity, which has grown in the wake of a saga dating back almost a year.

"There comes a point where we hopefully put the history behind us," Di Matteo said.

"A lot has been written and said about it, and let's change the focus on to the football. The fans want to watch a good football match.

"We would like both sets of supporters, and especially our fans, to support their team.

"Football is here to unite people, rather than divide people. That's always been the case. That's what we set out our fans to do."

But he added: "Every time we go to Loftus Road it's always a feisty day. A big derby for us, a small ground with very passionate supporters from both sides.

"The rivalry is well known, so it's going to be a heated atmosphere."

Chelsea's complete loss of discipline in last season's corresponding fixture was part of the chain of events that led to Terry and Ferdinand's altercation.

The Blues played most of that game with nine men and Di Matteo said: "For both sets of players, it's important we keep our composure and play our football and focus on that, and try and win the game.

"That should be the focus. That will be the focus."

Di Matteo: No worries about Terry

Terry: Set to play at Loftus Road

The match will see Terry face the latest trial by fire of his controversial career when he returns to Loftus Road for the first time since being acquitted of racially abusing Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Blues captain Terry, who is still contesting a Football Association charge over the same matter, is expected to be snubbed by Ferdinand - and possibly other QPR players - during the pre-match handshake.

On top of that, he is likely to be taunted mercilessly by Rangers supporters, something which happened on his last visit there in January.

Manager Di Matteo said: "As a human being, there are certain aspects of life that will faze you.

"But, if you look at his career, he's always got on with it. He's a confident player.

"I played with some great players in my career. There were certain players who were very, very confident."

Indeed, former Italy star Di Matteo compared Terry's mental strength with that of some of the best players he had ever played with - "Paolo Maldini, [Angelo] Peruzzi, [Pierluigi] Casiraghi, [Alessandro] Costacurta, [Alessandro] Del Piero, all players who have spent 15 to 20 years at the highest level, domestic and international football."

He added: "To be able to survive for so many years at the top level in football, at club and international level, you need to be mentally strong.

"That goes for all the players who have had that kind of career, not just JT."

Terry's desperation to play tomorrow has been compared to that ahead of January's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Loftus Road, which saw him aggravate a knee injury, sidelining him for several weeks.

There is a sense of deja vu about the Premier League clash, with Terry coming into the game having only just shaken off an ankle problem.

Di Matteo said: "To be honest, an injury can happen to anybody in the game.

"My assessment is on the fact that if the medical department tells me a player is fine, he's available to be selected. You never know what happens in the game.

"I don't think there are any concerns that he aggravates anything."

It seems certain Terry will start on Saturday but Di Matteo refused to confirm that, claiming he would consider every aspect of the clash - including the handshake - before finalising his team.

He said: "I always consider everything. The internal and external environments, and also the fitness of the team and what's the best team to play against QPR."

Anton snubs JT & Cole handshakes

It was the first time that QPR's Ferdinand and Blues skipper Terry have met on a football field since the England centre-back's race trial in July.

Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October, but remains the subject of a Football Association investigation over charges that he denies.

The QPR defender rejected the offer of his two rivals' outstretched hands before Saturday's game.

No other QPR player appeared to ignore Terry or Cole, who testified as a character witness for his England team-mate at the trial.

QPR fans then began making derogatory chants aimed at Terry and Cole. The pair were jeered every time they touched the ball as the highly-charged west London derby got under way.

QPR manager Mark Hughes said on Friday that he would allow his players to make up their own mind whether to shake hands in the pre-match ritual after the Premier League had declared it must go ahead.

The enmity between Ferdinand and Terry threatened to turn the handshake, which was introduced as part of the Football Association's Respect campaign, into a farce.

Hughes wants the routine to be dropped after complaining that it "ludicrously" overshadowed the build-up to the game.

It is not the first time Terry has been involved in a handshake row. Wayne Bridge snubbed the former England captain following allegations of an affair with the Manchester City defender's former partner.

And Luis Suarez refused Manchester United's Patrice Evra's offer of a handshake, despite the Liverpool forward being found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing him earlier in the season.

Rabu, 19 September 2012

Hoops and Blues share dire draw

Ferdinand: Snubbed Terry and Cole

Both sides failed to ensure John Terry and Ashley Cole's reunion with Anton Ferdinand would not remain the main talking point of the game as the Blues dropped their first points of the Premier League season.

Better finishing from Eden Hazard, Park Ji-Sung and Bobby Zamora might have changed that - as might different verdicts on two penalty calls.

Otherwise, the two clubs simply appeared unable to move the agenda on from what happened at Loftus Road almost a year ago, something that saw Terry cleared in court of racially abusing Ferdinand but blanked by his fellow defender.

The handshake itself went as well as could be expected.

Fears of a mass boycott by QPR's players proved unfounded but Ferdinand made a real show of snubbing both Terry and Cole - who also spoke in court - much to the delight of the home fans.

They, too, made their feelings about the pair crystal clear.

Along with the usual abuse of Terry, came chants of, "Jo hn Terry, we know what you said", and, "Ashley Cole, you're John Terry's bitch".

Terry, who denies the Football Association charge he still faces over last year's altercation, almost silenced them inside two minutes when he just failed to get telling contact on Frank Lampard's corner.

Hazard had no such excuses two minutes after that when he fired Ramires' cross straight at Julio Cesar, who was handed his debut in the QPR goal.

Rangers were far from overawed and, despite their high turnover of personnel since the clubs last met, their players seemed acutely aware what was at stake.

The home side were snapping into Chelsea, just as they had in last season's corresponding fixture, something Ramires took exception to when he tripped Alejandro Faurlin after being fouled himself and was duly booked.

But Rangers were hardly a threat themselves.

Zamora firing too close to Petr Cech was their only effort on target in the first half, while Ch elsea went close again when Fernando Torres blasted straight at Cesar after tricking his way into the box - his only effort of a risible performance.

QPR then lost both Fabio and Andy Johnson to injury in the space of just over 10 minutes, Nedum Onuoha and Jamie Mackie coming on.

Both sides had already seen soft penalty appeals rejected but, in between the substitutions, Chelsea had two that might have been given.

First, Terry went down after being leant on in the box by Ryan Nelsen.

And after Ryan Bertrand was booked for going through the back of Shaun Wright-Phillips, the QPR winger was fortunate to get away with a clumsy challenge on Hazard.

David Luiz sent a free diving header over from Lampard's corner before the game began to drift aimlessly towards half-time.

Even QPR's fans were losing interest in abusing Terry and Cole, although Mackie gave them something to cheer about when he tested Cech at the end of a neat move early in the second half.

But it was Terry's attempts at showboating in the Rangers half that really turned up the volume and Rangers responded, captain Park wasting a glorious chance to nod them in front from Esteban Granero's cross.

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo responded by sending on Victor Moses for his debut, in place of Bertrand but QPR continued to enjoy the upper hand, albeit with some wasteful finishing.

Di Matteo tried again, going 4-3-3, with Ramires dropping back into midfield, and it almost had an effect when Branislav Ivanovic nodded Hazard's cross wide.

Djibril Cisse replaced Wright-Phillips for the final 20 minutes, which witnessed an injury scare for Terry when he pulled up clutching his knee.

He was able to continue but was then involved in a comedy of errors that should have seen Zamora score, missing a lofted ball that John Obi Mikel played blind straight to the striker.

Zamora hesitated long enough to allow Terry to get back and block his finish.

Moses tested Cesar at the other end before Daniel Sturridge came on to add the urgency Torres had been lacking.

And with three minutes remaining, Hazard should have won it when he blazed over completely unmarked, as if it was always destined to be about the handshake.

Nelsen vows to carry on for R's

Nelsen: Determined to play on for as long as possible

The New Zealand international joined QPR from Tottenham during the summer and has become an integral part of Mark Hughes' team

The 34 year-old's contract with Queens Park Rangers expires at the end of the season but believes he can remain in top-flight football if his body allows for it.

"I don't know (how long I can carry on). I'll just keep on going because I feel pretty good," Nelsen told Fulham Chronicle.

"I feel better than I did a few years ago because I've worked really hard on my fitness. I'm so lucky to, at my age, be playing at the highest level. I don't take anything for granted and everything is a bonus.

"I always have done extra bits (of work). I love keeping fit and working. I enjoy it so I just go at it and hopefully it helps me in the long run."

Hughes happy with Nelsen display

Nelsen: Enjoyed a productive afternoon against Torres

The pedestrian Chelsea striker concluded a disinterested performance by storming down the tunnel after being replaced by Daniel Sturridge with 10 minutes left.

Sturridge was far livelier in the Premier League clash and Hughes believes 50million marksman Torres struggled against a 34-year-old free signing.

Adding to Nelsen's achievement was that he only returned from Auckland on Thursday, having helped New Zealand win a World Cup qualifier against the Solomon Islands 48 hours earlier.

"Ryan was excellent. You know what you're going to get from him, a consistent level of performance," Hughes said.

"He's gone up against a striker of world renown and really dominated him. Given the week that's he had it's really credit to him.

"I didn't see that part of it (Torres storming down the tunnel) but maybe he was frustrated because he was finding it very difficult to have an impact on the game and that's credit to Ryan.

"Torres is a good player and he'll have better days than he did yesterday, but that was credit to my centre-half.

"I knew what I was getting with Ryan. He's 34 and the only shame is he's not 24 - though possibly he wouldn't be playing for us if he was!"

Hughes teased his former Chelsea team-mate and current Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo over the Torres-Nelsen duel when they crossed paths after the game.

But Nelsen, the All Whites' captain, gave a more humble appraisal of his performance against the Spaniard.

"It was very nice of the manager to say that, but Fernando has had a few over me in his career," the centre-back said.

"Every time I've come up against him he's been unbelievably hard. He makes very late runs, has great vision, and his finishing ability is amazing.

"I doubt he is as quick as he used to be, but while people say you lose speed, you can gain it in your mind.

"I've seen some incredibly fast players be extremely slow on the fiel d because they've not got (that speed) in their head."

Di Matteo had claimed that Nelsen was lucky to have escaped a "100% stonewall penalty" after wrestling John Terry to the ground.

"If you ask John, he just fell down. I was holding him, of course, but he just fell down. He does it to everybody in their box," Nelsen said.

"I said to him 'that was a bit embarrassing John' and he laughed when he ran off. He didn't say anything to me, I think he was too embarrassed.

"It's one of those ones that, when you're there, the ref was smart enough to see it.

"He was nowhere near the ball, was never going to win it, so he just fell down.

"He was just trying to get a penalty and trying to get something for his team to win.

"I'm really surprised Roberto said something like that because, in his day, he would probably have done the same."

The build-up to the west London derby was dominated by the pre-match handshake and, as expected, Anton Ferdinand rejected Terry and Ashley Cole during the ritual.

"Anton didn't deserve this, all the stuff that's gone on. He and his family have had to go through so much. I feel really bad for him," Nelson said.

"If Anton had told us not to do it (the handshake)....but that's the measure of the man.

"He just said: 'This is my personal thing. Whatever you guys do, do it.'

"In the end the Premier League forced everyone to do it, but I don't think anybody in Anton's situation would have done it."

Selasa, 18 September 2012

Nelsen understands Anton snub

Ferdinand: QPR defender refused to shake Terry's hand

The build-up to Saturday's West London derby was dominated by the pre-match handshake and, as expected, Ferdinand rejected Terry and Cole during the ritual.

It was their first encounter since Chelsea captain Terry was cleared in court of racially abusing Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last season, with Cole appearing as a witness for his team-mate.

Nelsen feels sympathy for Ferdinand and also revealed his fellow defender did not ask his team-mates to snub Terry or Cole.

"Anton didn't deserve this, all the stuff that's gone on. He and his family have had to go through so much. I feel really bad for him," Nelsen said.

"If Anton had told us not to do it (the handshake)....but that's the measure of the man.

"He just said: 'This is my personal thing. Whatever you guys do, do it'.

"In the end the Premier League forced everyone to do it, but I don't think anybody in Anton's situation would have done it."

Johnson to miss most of season

Johnson: Limped off before half-time against Chelsea

The 31-year-old moved to Loftus Road at the start of the summer after failing to agree a new deal at former club Fulham but now looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Johnson was replaced by Jamie Mackie during the first half of the stalemate with west London rivals Chelsea and Rangers confirmed this morning that the England international will be out for some time.

A statement on the club's official website read: "R's frontman Andy Johnson is set for a prolonged period on the sidelines after scans revealed the 31 year-old suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the goalless draw against Chelsea on Saturday.

"Johnson was forced from the fray in the 33rd minute against Roberto di Matteo's men, and is now likely to be sidelined for the majority of the 2012/13 season."

Johnson has seen the last few years of his career curtailed by injuries and missed a large chunk of the 2009/10 campaign for Fulham after suffering a severe kne e injury.

The former Everton forward, who has amassed eight England caps, was only making his second league start for the club and the severity of the injury will come as a blow to manager Mark Hughes who was hopeful after the game that he would be back sooner.

"AJ felt something in his knee. We hope he's going to be okay, but it's a little bit of worry," Hughes told www.qpr.co.uk.

"You need players like AJ in the squad because they give so much. We'll send him for a scan over the next few days and hopefully he'll be okay."

Hughes' side have collected only two points from their opening four Premier League fixtures but the former Manchester City boss believes his new-look squad are starting to gel together nicely.

"Every time we've played, if you take away the Swansea game which none of us saw coming and we were poor on the day, we've picked ourselves up and each game we've got better," he said. "We're getting personnel back who are fit and at the right level so I can use them so as the games come thick and fast the group will get stronger."

QPR face a tough trip to Tottenham next Sunday as they look for their first league victory of the season but Hughes' squad will also have to deal with the loss of two other players injured in the Chelsea stalemate.

On-loan Manchester United youngster Fabio and defender Anton Ferdinand suffered hamstring injuries and the club confirmed both are set to miss at least two weeks.

It means both will be struggling to return in time for Reading's visit to Loftus Road in the Capital One Cup on September 26 and the home game against West Ham five days later.

Hughes: Johnson can bounce back

Johnson: Set to miss majority of the season

The 31-year-old joined Hoops this summer after his contract expired at Fulham and made an impressive start to life in W12.

However, that came to an abrupt halt on Saturday after Johnson sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the 0-0 draw with west London rivals Chelsea.

It is the latest in a long line of injury blows that have disrupted the former England international's career in recent times, although manager Hughes has backed him to make a successful return.

"He was playing exceptionally well at the time and had been in previous games so to lose his experience and ability is a blow to us," he told the club's official website. "People understood why I wanted to bring AJ to the club. He has got fantastic energy and you need those types of players in your squad.

"He is mentally a very, very strong character. He has been through long-term injuries before and always comes back stronger and I have no doubts that he will do the s ame again.

"He will get the best treatment and best support from the medical staff here and we will make sure we get him back as quickly as possible without ever compromising him.

"We will make sure he is fit and well when he returns."

Gabbidon poised for Palace loan

Gabbidon: Could be on his way to Selhurst Park

Sky Sports understands that Wales international Gabbidon is a free agent after leaving Loftus Road over the summer.

Gabbidon has been training with Palace and it appears he has impressed Eagles boss Dougie Freedman during his stint at the Championship side.

Freedman is ready to offer the former West Ham stopper a short-term deal as he looks to bolster his defensive options.

Palace have conceded ten goals in five Championship outings this season and Freedman sees Gabbidon's experience as a key addition to his young squad.

Minggu, 16 September 2012

Carlisle calls for calm approach

Ferdinand: Refuses to shake hands with Terry

Terry was cleared in court in July of allegations that he racially abused the QPR defender in a match at Loftus Road last season, though he still faces a Football Association charge over the matter.

Ferdinand refused to shake hands with either the Chelsea skipper or Ashley Cole, who appeared as a character witness for his Blues and England team-mate, ahead of Saturday's west London derby at Loftus Road.

Rangers captain Park Ji-sung, a former Manchester United team-mate of Ferdinand's brother Rio, also opted not to shake his opposite number's hand during the pre-match formalities.

The incident overshadowed a goalless draw and, along with Manchester United fans' distasteful chanting about Liverpool in the wake of the Hillsborough Independent Panel's report being released this week, dominates the agenda after another difficult week for football.

York defender Carlisle feels that in the face of the Hillsborough issue, Ferdinand and Terry's feud is an unwanted sideshow.

He told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme: "After all that's happened this week - talking about Hillsborough and a long campaign and justice that has finally come for those families, and the club and the city of Liverpool - it all seems quite trivial."

QPR manager Mark Hughes stated, before and after Saturday's game, his belief that the handshake ritual should be scrapped.

But Carlisle continued: "I'm actually an advocate of the pre-match handshake, I think it's a statement of intent to play the game in a certain manner that's befitting to a professional.

"It was brought in for the Respect campaign so it's trying to tie in that relationship with the officials as well, because both teams have to shake their hands as well.

"I think it's a good thing that's in the game but when you do get a matter like this, a situation that is so personal between two people - or three people - you can't force any human being to shake another person's hand.

"It becomes one of those talking points that right now football can do without.

"When something has been so deep-rooted and has had such a vitriolic response from both sets of supporters, I'm not surprised there are residual feelings that bite into their professional lives.

"But I would hope that at the conclusion of the FA inquiry, that we can put this situation to bed from a media angle and an industry angle and that the message that can come forth is one of education, of how we move forward and ensure something like that doesn't happen again."

There are fears the situation could be repeated next week when Liverpool and United meet at Anfield, with Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra having been embroiled in a race row of their own last season.

Suarez served an eight-match ban after the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Evra, and the Uruguayan controversially refused to shake Evra's hand when the sides met later in the season.

Clarke is hopeful the issue will not rear its head on this occasion and said: "We have tried our best as a union to get all four clubs together.

"With QPR and Chelsea it's very difficult because it's all still ongoing and doing something like that could prejudice any kind of investigation.

"With Manchester United and Liverpool, they as clubs have decided that they want to try and put it to bed and they want everybody else to help them to do that."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes the pre-match handshakes should be cancelled in such instances.

He told Sky Sports' Goals on Sunday programme: "If you know there's going to be a problem, don't do it (handshakes) in the first place. It's just a bit of political correctness.

"Get the two managers together and ask 'are they going to do it? No? Well let's do away with the handshakes'.

"Even before the game everyone was 'let's get all the cameras on this' - it wa s built up to a massive crescendo and we know what we were going to get - so don't do it.

"Conversations before the game can boil over in some instances but overall the fair play and respect side of things is promoted extremely well."

Di Matteo plays down Blues knocks

Hazard: Closely watched by Granero

Anton Ferdinand's pre-match snub of John Terry and Ashley Cole set the tone for Saturday's goalless Premier League draw at Loftus Road, which saw rival players snap into each other from the first whistle.

Ironically, Terry and Ferdinand were among the walking wounded at the final whistle, with both having required treatment in the closing stages.

Chelsea captain Terry typically elected to play on after pulling up with a knee injury, something manager Roberto Di Matteo was keen to play down ahead of his side's Champions League opener against Juventus on Wednesday.

"It doesn't look like we have any major problems," Di Matteo said.

"It was a tough battle for everybody, there were plenty of knocks.

"We'll assess it tomorrow morning and then shift our attention to Wednesday."

Ferdinand hobbled off in the dying seconds with what looked like a hamstring injury but QPR boss Mark Hughes was more concerned about problems picked up by An drew Johnson and Fabio.

Both had to be substituted in the first half with respective knee and hamstring complaints and face scans to determine the extent of the damage.

Terry - who shook off an ankle problem to start yesterday - was not Chelsea's only injury concern, with John Obi Mikel having also taken a knock in the back.

The Blues can ill-afford either to be missing as they open the defence of their European crown this week.

They can also ill-afford Fernando Torres to go AWOL in the manner he did yesterday, the striker producing a performance as bad as any since his 50million move from Liverpool before storming down the tunnel upon being substituted.

Di Matteo refused to criticise the petulance of Torres, who got almost no change out of Ferdinand and Ryan Nelsen all afternoon.

Hughes, meanwhile, hailed the performance of both his centre-halves, Ferdinand for coping with the added pressure of his reunion with Terry and Cole, and N elson for shrugging off a gruelling trip back from New Zealand just 48 hours earlier following the international break.

"I thought Anton was excellent alongside Ryan Nelsen given he (Nelsen) had flown halfway around the world and had only one training session before the game," Hughes said.

The Rangers boss also defended his predictable - but nevertheless controversial - decision to start Julio Cesar ahead of Rob Green.

England goalkeeper Green found himself axed after just three games for his new club and Hughes said: "I spoke to him this week and told him my intention.

"It's difficult for Rob because we have put him in a situation that he didn't feel he would be put under and we are all very aware of that.

"It wasn't something that was pre-meditated, it wasn't a case of getting Rob in knowing we were going to bring Julio into the club. But it progressed and we had the opportunity to bring in one of the top keepers in the world.

"I t hink everybody saw in the manner of his performance today, it was the right decision to bring him into the team."

The game proved to be one for goalkeepers and defenders as QPR remained winless - and in the relegation zone - while Chelsea dropped their first points of the season but held on to top spot.

Neither side deserved to emerge victorious, although either might have done had Eden Hazard, Bobby Zamora or Park Ji-Sung - who also snubbed a handshake with Terry - produced better finishing.

Chelsea also saw two decent penalty shouts rejected but they will be satisfied at least by the clean sheet given the way they were torn apart by Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup last time out.

Terry missed that game and he could miss more to come if the current Football Association charge against him sticks.

With Saturday's match out of the way, attention will slowly begin to turn to his upcoming hearing - which reportedly begins a week on Monday .

Terry was this summer cleared in court of racially abusing Ferdinand during last October's QPR-Chelsea game and he denies the similar FA charge against him.

Sabtu, 15 September 2012

QPR v Chelsea reaction

Ferdinand: Blanks Terry

Ferdinand refused to acknowledge Terry and Ashley Cole as expected during the pre-match handshake at Loftus Road.

It was not known how many of his Rangers team-mates would follow suit but it was still a surprise to see skipper Park do the same, something the midfielder repeated during the coin toss.

Park spent seven years playing alongside Ferdinand's brother, Rio, at Manchester United and it is possible his decision was taken out of some sort of loyalty to his former team-mate.

Hughes said: "They had the discussion and I was made aware that some were prepared to shake the opposition's hand and some weren't.

"I didn't know which individuals and I wasn't going to push the point.

"It was a personal decision for each and every one of them."

Hughes was hoping talk of pre-match handshakes would draw to a close following today's game.

Reiterating his opposition to the ritual, he said: "For goodness sake, we've been talking ab out it for God knows how long. I think it's done and dusted now.

"It's something and nothing in my view. I thought the game was what was important today and, thankfully, it was played in good spirit."

He added: "You can't get too misty eyed about the old days and how it used to be - a lot of things have moved on for the better.

"But I just think this element of the Respect campaign is something that causes more problems than it solves and I don't think that was its intention when it was introduced."

Opposite number Roberto Di Matteo shrugged off the double snub.

"Listen, we offered and we have done our part and if other people feel differently, that's not our problem," he said, refusing to give a clear answer when asked if he thought pre-match handshakes should be scrapped.

"I think we should shift the focus onto the football side.

"We are here for the 90-95 minutes and not what happens before and after the game."

QPR boss questions handshake

Hughes: QPR host Chelsea

The ritual will become the centre of attention when QPR host Chelsea in Saturday's west London derby in the first meeting between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry since the England defender's race trial in July.

Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October, but remains the subject of a Football Association investigation over charges that he denies.

Ferdinand is expected to reject a handshake from Terry, ensuring all eyes will be locked upon them moments before kick-off.

"The handshake is part of the Respect campaign and we all fully support that. It's done fantastic work and is to be commended," Hughes said.

"But maybe this part of showing respect is fundamentally flawed.

"Should there be a discussion in terms of how we show respect? Is this the best way to do that?

"It's open to debate and that's why I was asking about it at the Premier League meeting. Maybe after the match would be better.

"For our FA Cup match with Chelsea in January, we didn't do it and that helped the situation.

"I've never considered leaving Anton out because of the handshake.

"I'm picking people on their ability and I don't sense it's affecting him.

"If I thought for one moment he was struggling to deal with it, I'd make that decision."

A sizzling atmosphere is expected for a highly-charged derby that will see QPR attempt to seal their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season.

Former Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea, Barcelona and Blackburn striker Hughes admits he thrived amid the hostility of local rivalries.

"I loved derbies. I played in quite a few - the Liverpool one, Manchester one, Real Madrid v Barcelona, Blackburn v Burnley... which was probably the scariest one!" he said.

"Some derbies are more high profile. The Blackburn derby I wasn't really aware of until I went there. Then reali sed I'd been missing out on something.

"Every one is different but the passion and energy generated are the same and that's something special.

"As long as it doesn't go over the edge of acceptability, I'm all for it.

"I enjoyed the emotion of the fans and really used to look forward to derbies. They felt like a part of me.

"Off the field I was quite quiet and introverted but on the field I was a different person and that had a lot to do with my interaction with my supporters and the opposition supporters.

"I used to love helping my team win against fans who didn't particularly want me to win, that was part of my make up.

"The abuse probably made me play better. You knew that if you were getting abuse, you were irritating the fans. That was part of what I used to enjoy and laugh at."

Kamis, 13 September 2012

Blues duo could face Rangers

Terry and Cole: Could feature for Blues

The defenders picked up the knocks on international duty with England, forcing them to miss the 1-1 draw with Ukraine at Wembley in midweek.

Cole also missed the 5-0 thrashing of Moldova but both he and Terry trained at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Thursday and are in-line to feature at Loftus Road on Saturday.

The duo's inclusion is likely to heighten the tension and intrigue surrounding the Premier League clash with near neighbours QPR.

This weekend's encounter is the first meeting between the clubs since Terry was found not guilty of using a racial slur against the Hoops' Anton Ferdinand in the corresponding fixture last October.

Terry remains the subject of a Football Association investigation over the charges that he denies, while left-back Cole was a character witness for Terry in the trial.

With both likely to return for the Blues and Ferdinand recovering well after a shoulder injury, there has been speculation as to wh ether Ferdinand would shake some of his Chelsea counterparts' hands.

That tradition was abandoned in advance of the previous two encounters between the clubs, although, regardless of the tension, the Premier League has no plans to cancel the pre-match handshakes this time.

It is believed the body expect them to go ahead and that QPR and Chelsea are in talks about how to approach Saturday's fixture.

An announcement on the matter is expected before Mark Hughes' pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon and follows warnings made by both club's on Thursday.

QPR published a warning on its official website, www.qpr.co.uk, this morning under the title 'Your Behaviour: A Reminder'.

Chelsea posted their own statement called 'The Right Rivalry' in which the club urged supporters to conduct themselves properly.

"Last January's FA Cup match at QPR and the meeting between the sides in April at Stamford Bridge were good examples of passionate and vocal rivalry with the fans of both clubs recognising that abuse and discrimination have no place in a football stadium, nor anywhere else in society," read the post on the club's official website, www.chelseafc.com.

"Chelsea Football Club wishes to see the level of respect at those games continued throughout this campaign, as it has been in our opening matches.

"Both Chelsea and QPR will work together with the police to ensure that anyone using discriminatory or inflammatory language on Saturday is identified, and that the strongest possible action is taken against them."

On the field, QPR will be hoping to repeat the feat of their famous 1-0 victory over the Blues in W12 less than a year ago.

The hosts' chances will be boosted by the news that Juan Mata will almost certainly miss the clash.

The midfielder scored the decisive goal in January's FA Cup tie and has been given some additional time off after not being called up by the Span ish national team.

Rabu, 12 September 2012

Terry hearing date set - report

They claim that there has been a delay in putting together the three-man Independent Regulatory Commission for 'what is an extremely sensitive case'.

Terry is accused of using 'abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour' towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in October 2011, including 'a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race'.

Terry was found innocent in a court of law but the FA have pressed ahead with their case, which is likely to take place at a secret location over two or three days.

The pair will meet this weekend at Loftus Road if Terry recovers from the ankle injury that kept him out of England's 1-1 draw with Ukraine on Tuesday night.

Granero confident of success

Granero: Moved to England from Spain

Granero joined Rangers on a four-year deal from Real Madrid at the end of the summer transfer window and made his debut in the 3-1 defeat by Manchester City.

Granero is well aware of the quality in the Premier League, but also believes he can flourish in the hard-hitting environment.

"I am an aggressive player and I will mix very good with this type of football," he said in the Daily Express. "I am very aggressive but in a good way.

"The Premier League has always impressed me and I like this kind of football a lot; the strength, the way they play, I really like.

"How I have been received at QPR has been great. London is a very multi-cultural city and the people are very respectful.

"The first 20 minutes against City was not the best. We showed them too much respect. After that we matched them and played better.

"I'm very fit and feel good. I like the rhythm of the Premier League and I like to play this way."

Selasa, 11 September 2012

Hulse on Crewe radar - Davis

Hulse: Gresty Road return possible

Davis has a headache in attack after learning on-loan Manchester City youngster Harry Bunn has suffered cruciate and lateral ligament damage, while fellow forward Mathias Pogba also has a knee injury.

Hulse began his career with the Railwaymen, scoring 51 goals in 131 appearances between 1999 and 2003, and was recently linked with a loan switch to Brentford after being left out of QPR's 25-man Premier League squad.

When asked if a move for Hulse would interest him, Davis said: "Possibly, yeah. I know Rob and I know Rob is a local lad as well.

"He's a quality player who's done well for Crewe in the past. He's not played a lot of football lately but, certainly with the position we're in, he'd be a decent acquisition for us."

Hulse has also been linked with Brentford and Davis added: "Brentford's wage budget would be a lot higher than ours, they might be able to afford him, so we'd have to do some clever wages with him."

I let myself down, admits Joey

Barton: His inner chimp went bananas

Barton was banned for 12 matches by the Football Association following his red card and subsequent violent conduct in Queens Park Rangers' defeat at the Etihad Stadium on the last day of last season.

He has since been loaned out to Marseille and is looking to get his career back on track during his stint in France.

Reflecting on his actions in the match against City, Barton concedes that he handled the pressure of the occasion badly.

"I completely let myself down but it's not a rational situation. I knew we could be relegated, they could win the league and I'm captain," he told GQ Style.

"There's a bit of a media spotlight on me so if we go down, I'm going to take a lot of s***.

"I was already getting it on Twitter so pressure started building and I didn't handle it well.

"My inner chimp doesn't work well with injustice, it reacts too quickly. Tevez has done what he's done, I have reacted and the aftermath is..."

Barton recognises there is no justification for what he did but says the incident has focused his mind to try and improve as a person.

He explained: "I look at it now and it's almost like it's not me. I'm like 'What the **** were you thinking?'

"At the time in some weird way I thought it was the correct way but, looking at it now, I know it wasn't.

"I've got to learn a lesson from that. The thing it reiterated to me was just how far I am from the person I want to be."

Minggu, 09 September 2012

Clubs to discuss spending limits

Whelan: Wants to see limits put in place

The league's top executives have produced a discussion paper on financial controls for the chairmen to consider which could eventually lead to clubs being forced to break even every year - or face sanctions.

It would mean a serious blow to clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea who have return significant losses in recent years.

There is strong support at other clubs for such controls - Wigan chairman Dave Whelan on Wednesday said measures to cut spending were needed urgently, while Manchester United originally sparked the move at the league's meeting earlier in the summer.

No decision will be made on any measures on Thursday - instead two groups of 10 clubs, each with clubs mixed up to reflect size and region, are to be formed to discuss the options in more detail.

Whelan's own club Wigan have also operated at a loss - the Latics returned a net loss for the year ending May 2011 of 7.2million - but even he is in favour of the controls.

Whelan said: "This proposal has come from Manchester United - I think City haven shaken them up a little bit - but I think there should be some controls on spending.

"Some clubs are spending way more than they can afford and get into trouble - look at Portsmouth.

"The Premier League is so big and powerful and there is so much money around that the clubs try and chase it. Something has to be done so we will support these measures."

United's chief executive David Gill has been one of the driving forces behind European clubs accepting UEFA's financial fair play rules for clubs in the Champions League and Europa League to only spend what they earn, and he wants the Premier League to follow suit.

The Football League have also introduced a similar system into the Championship and Gill believes the top flight should bring in similar measures.

Gill said last week: "A lot of clubs would be happy just to introduce the financial fair play regula tions into the Premier League now, some wouldn't, but that's a debate that has to have happened. And it will happen.

"If you look at it we've got financial regulations in the league below us, the Championship, and the competition above us, the Champions League, so we need to do it.

"The Premier League being the best league in the world, the most commercially effective league in the world, I think there's a real opportunity to introduce some sensible rules that effectively improve and enhance the long term or medium term financial stability."

At least 12 of the 20 top-flight clubs ended the 2010/11 season in the red with Manchester City's losses of 197million dwarfing even Chelsea's 68million and Liverpool's 49million.

Critics of financial fair rules argue that it will forever favour those clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal who make a profit and rule out wealthy benefactors such as Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour putting money into clu bs.

Sabtu, 08 September 2012

Barton to serve remainder of ban

Barton: Forced to miss nine games for Marseille

Barton was issued with the ban as a result of his actions on the final day of last season, when he was sent off for a clash with Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez and responded by lashing out at City players Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany before attempting to confront Mario Balotelli.

He was frozen out upon Rangers' return for pre-season training and was not even offered a squad number for the new season, prompting his move abroad.

But any hopes that he might avoid serving his ban after moving to a new country have been dashed by a statement from the French League, the LFP, tonight.

The statement, published on both the LFP and Marseille's websites, read: "Upon the transfer of Joey Barton from Queens Park Rangers to Olympique Marseille, the English Football Association transmitted to the French Football Federation the disciplinary sanction he was subject to in the English league.

"In accordance with article 12 of FIFA's Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players, the sanction is applicable in France.

"Consequently Joey Barton, having served three of his 12-match suspension [in England], is suspended for the next nine games in domestic competition (Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue)."

The FIFA regulation cited in the statement reads: "Any disciplinary suspension imposed on a player prior to a transfer must be enforced or applied by the new association at which the player is registered.

"The former association is obliged to notify the new association of any sanction in writing and upon issuing the ITC (International Transfer Certificate)."

October 7's grudge match with bitter rivals Paris Saint-Germain is the highest-profile game Barton will miss.

He will also sit out Ligue 1 games against Nancy, Evian, Valenciennes, Troyes, Lyon, Ajaccio and Nice as well as OM's entry into the Coupe de la Ligue in the last 16.

But he will be available for Europa League grou p games against Fenerbahce, AEL and Borussia Monchengladbach twice in the meantime.

Jumat, 07 September 2012

Diakite: I'm not depressed

Diakite: Is not depressed

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Samba Diakite has returned home to France suffering with depression.

The 23-year-old started QPR's first two Premier League games of the season but missed last weekend's defeat to Manchester City without any explanation.

Diakite has made 11 appearances for the Hoops since arriving on loan in January before the club completed the permanent signing of the former Nancy man on a four-year deal in June.

It is thought the Malian international has been given a ten-day leave of absence by Mark Hughes and it is not yet clear whether he will be available for his side's clash with Chelsea a week on Saturday.

Depression in football has become a major issue with a number of players and managers battling the problem in recent years.

Diakite returned home to France nearly two weeks ago and on Friday it was suggested that his absence was due to his battle with depression.

However, the 23-year-old Mali internatio nal had been granted compassionate leave to deal with a delicate personal matter and has already resumed training with QPR.

"Frankly, I do not understand why some people start rumours like that," Diakite told RMC Sport. "I was a bit tired in the last few days and my club allowed me to spend three days in Paris. But I am not depressed.

"My club are my employers and I was in contact with them every day.

"All of a sudden I wake up this morning, open the newspapers and learn that someone has said that I am depressed. This is ridiculous and disappointing.

"I am currently in London and I have been to training, so this is amazing.

"It saddens me because I received calls from concerned members of my family.

"Fortunately I am a strong character as this could have had serious consequences for someone who is weak.

"I want to assure my friends and fans of QPR that I will be at training on Monday with the rest of the group and all is well. "

Diakite played in the opening two matches of the season, but missed Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Manchester City.

QPR manager Mark Hughes announced in a statement released last Thursday that Diakite had been given some time off.

"We hope he can overcome this very quickly and get back to being the outstanding player that he undoubtedly is," Hughes said.

"In the meantime, we are giving him the time and help that he needs."

Diakite arrived at Loftus Road on loan from Nancy in January and helped QPR avoid relegation by scoring the winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Arsenal in March.

The transfer was made permanent in June with the defensive midfielder, who was born in France but has won five caps for Mali, costing in the region of 3.5million.

Kamis, 06 September 2012

QPR have high target - Beard

Beard: With QPR owner Tony Fernandes

Manager Mark Hughes bought enough players to field an entire new team before the August window shut after Rangers avoided the Premier League trap door by the skin of their teeth last season.

The recruits included several big-name players and Beard told London 24: "We haven't made the investment of this summer to simply compete at the same level as last season.

"The investment has been made so that we feel we are a club which can compete against - and beat - every club we play.

"We all believe that the squad we have now should be able to get stability in the Premier League - not fighting for survival."

Beard played down fears QPR had spent beyond their means, especially on wages.

He said: "Some clubs have spent 12million or 15million on one player. You would struggle to get that sort of number for all the players we have signed.

"What we have done is strike a balance. I have looked at it long and hard, and there are some very t alented young players we have brought to the club who I think will be available for a long time to come."

The summer transfer window was QPR's third in a row that witnessed a huge influx of players but Beard was confident such a turnover would not be repeated.

He also defended the decision to sign goalkeeper Julio Cesar from Inter Milan barely two months are recruiting England's Robert Green.

"The club now has two very strong goalkeepers, and Mark will decide which one plays when," he said.

"It wasn't something in his mind, that Julio Cesar could come to the club a very sensible way, and we decided to take that opportunity. The best teams have strength in every position."

Minggu, 02 September 2012

Platt: City yet to hit stride

Platt: 'There are players here still in the pre-season phase'

City are yet to hit their stride but have still collected seven points from the opening three games of their title defence.

Their latest victory, a 3-1 success over QPR at the Etihad Stadium, was far less convincing than it threatened to be as City dominated the first half.

Roberto Mancini's men created a multitude of chances but were wasteful in front of goal and endured a nervy finish until Carlos Tevez scored their third in injury time.

First-team coach Platt said: "We are not over-happy in terms of performances at this moment in time but we are happy it is balanced out by the points we have got on the table and that we are scoring goals.

"It's not that we are not playing well but I don't think we are playing as well as we were at the start of last season when we were blowing teams away.

"We are not quite there with the squad in terms of fitness, because of the European Championship people coming back.

"We are almost using these games to get minutes into people's legs.

"I think after the international break Gareth Barry will have played another reserve game and had another couple of weeks' 'pre-season' training, Sergio (Aguero) will be there or thereabouts and we have got the new faces coming in.

"The international games will give David Silva another couple of games.

"There are players there almost still in the pre-season phase but playing games for real.

"You'd like to think by the time we get back through the door in 10 days' time we'll be in position to kick on as a squad."

All City had to show for their first-half dominance was a Yaya Toure strike but they continued to threaten after the break with QPR goalkeeper Robert Green kept busy and Pablo Zabaleta hitting the bar.

But as with last season's dramatic climax at the same stadium, QPR hit back as Bobby Zamora pounced from close range after Joe Hart kept out a fine effort from Andrew Johnson.

Edin Dzeko put City back ahead almost immediately but the hosts were made to sweat before Tevez struck as Ryan Nelsen twice had opportunities.

Platt said: "We perhaps didn't have enough energy in our side to open them up on a conclusive basis.

"When we did that we weren't ruthless enough. To go in 1-0 at half-time we felt quite comfortable but at the same time knew the game was always open, which proved the case in the second half."

Having signed 12 players since their last visit to Eastlands 16 weeks ago, QPR were a much-changed side from the one which narrowly avoided relegation in May.

They are still to win a match this term but after causing the champions some difficulties, manager Mark Hughes is convinced progress is being made.

The former City boss said: "We have to remember we were in the backyard of the champions.

"We came and pressed and we imposed ourselves on a very good team. I'm pleased with that.

"It is someth ing we can build on and take comfort from. It is important we keep on building and progressing in the right way.

"That's what happened here and we'll be better for it.

"I was encouraged by what I saw. It is progress from what we have produced so far this season."

Midfielder Esteban Granero, signed from Real Madrid in midweek, made an impressive debut while other recent recruits Julio Cesar, Sam Magri and Stephane Mbia should be available after the international break.

Hughes' squad has swelled so much he could not find places for Clint Hill or Adel Taarabt at City.

Hughes said: "We've got a lot of guys in the squad and everybody's fit at the moment. It's hard to fit everybody on the bench.

"We had to legislate for the fact we had two guys in the middle of the park who might have to be changed. I had to cover myself in that regard so unfortunately they didn't make the bench.

"But that's healthy. It shows we have more strength i n depth in the squad than we had last year."

Defender Anton Ferdinand was substituted in the second half after earlier landing awkwardly on his shoulder.

Hughes said: "He was a bit shaken up at the time and landed on his shoulder.

"It might have popped out and popped back in but we don't think it is too serious."

Sabtu, 01 September 2012

Hughes: Green could leave

Green: Set to lose his place

Hughes surprised many when he pulled off the signing of Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar from Inter Milan this week.

The 32-year-old will now become first choice at Loftus Road, relegating Green after unconvincing displays in his first two games for the club.

Green, who signed on a free transfer from West Ham this summer, is likely to fear his for his international career if he cannot wrest the number one jersey back from Cesar.

"In the future if any of my keepers came to me and said they felt their future lay elsewhere then we can have a conversation about that and make a decision that benefited everyone," Hughes said.

Green, who has represented England 12 times, may well feel aggrieved that he is second choice a few weeks after arriving to replace Paddy Kenny, who left for Leeds.

But his performances in the 5-0 defeat to Swansea and 1-1 draw against Norwich were way below par.

Hughes insists that Green fully understands the dec ision to sign Cesar and claims it was always his intention to bring in another goalkeeper before the transfer window shut.

"It's important that Rob doesn't feel that this was a knee-jerk reaction," Hughes said.

"I was told there was a possibility that Julio Cesar would look favourably on coming to Queens Park Rangers so we tried to pursue it.

"We managed it and that will obviously have some impact on Rob because there will be competition for him.

"He understands that but he has been a top keeper for a long time and I'm sure he will be ready for that challenge. Whoever is out of the team knows he will have to work hard to get back in the side.

"Rob fully understands the thinking behind what we have done although it might impact him throughout the season."

Green will at least start Saturday's game against Manchester City because Cesar has not received international clearance to play.

One man who is available is Esteban Granero, who signed from Real Madrid on Thursday night.

Hughes was happy to snap up the 25-year-old midfielder and revealed the club were close to signing the player in January.

"He wanted to come in January but Real Madrid got an injury a couple of days before we were supposed to conclude it so they didn't let him out," Hughes said.

"He's going to be a good player for us. He has been brought up at a top club since he was nine and having been at Real Madrid has values and standards."