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Thursday, December 14, 2006

John Gregory on QPR's Defenders & Lack of Alternatives

From LAST week's Ealing Gazette (prior to the Stoke game)

Ealing Gazette - December 11, 2006 -QPRs' fragile defence is shown up again
CHANGES to the back four really cannot happen soon enough for QPR.
Saturday's defeat at Crystal Palace was another defensive horror show, with manager John Gregory conceding that his options are limited for the time being at least.
The Finnish centre-back Sampsa Timoska - who was overlooked by Colchester after a trial at Layer Road - is the man Gregory hopes will shore up what is possibly the worst defence in the Championship.
In fact the combination of Zesh Rehman and Damion Stewart would probably struggle in League One - as Rangers may well find out if that partnership continues much longer.
The arrival of Timoska, 27, from MyPa-47 will offer a much-needed boost
But he will not be available to play until next month and with talented young defenders Dominic Shimmin and Pat Kanyuka out injured, things could get worse before they get better....
And alternatives are thin on the ground for Gregory as far as his defence is concerned - a problem unlikely to change significantly unless he can offload some of his squad.
The injury to Kanyuka, who made a big impact before tearing a hamstring, has been a particularly untimely blow.
"We've got 35 players and that's an enormous amount," Gregory admitted.
"We need to reduce the size of the squad but a contract is a contract and has to be honoured.
"We've got the luxury of a lot of strikers, but in terms of defenders, we're not so blessed.
"The young lads Shimmin and Kanyuka are out and there's not a lot of room for manoeuvre. It is an area we do need to strengthen.
That was underlined when Stewart was twice caught out as Palace raced into a two-goal lead ...
"Damion took a gamble, but a centre-back shouldn't be gambling in those situations," said Gregory.
"He's played well for me and he will play well again. But overall, we're very fragile confidence-wise.
"Michael Mancienne had a fantastic game but he was pretty much on his own."...
Gregory added: "We've certainly got a lot of work to do to stay up.
"But myself and [assistant boss] Richard Hill have been in this type of situation before at Wycombe and certainly aren't giving up hope.
"Wycombe was tough, and if all was rosy here then I wouldn't be in the job now - and I'm enjoying the job
Ealing Gazette

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