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Saturday, April 28, 2007

QPR Versus Wolves

QPR play Wolves today for QPR's last away game of the season and Wolves final home game. Wolves, in 6th place need to win to get into the playoffs. Current Table QPR are without loan keeper, Lee Camp so their goalie options are the inexperienced Jake Cole or the nearing of the end of his career Jones.

QPR Official Site Preview of Wolves Game - Preview

Wolves Official Site Preview of QPR Game - Preview

Wolves Official Site - Mick McCarthy
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Ron Norris & Simon Skinner - QPR Net - Match Preview

Clive Whittingham/QPR Rivals - Wolves Preview

Express and Star
Gregory: It’s no party for us

QPR boss John Gregory today promised the Championship’s Great Race that his team will do their duty at Molineux tomorrow.

Rangers are planning a major party to celebrate their survival, clinched by last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Cardiff, but that won’t begin until after the final whistle of next weekend’s last match of the season against Stoke.

And the former Villa boss, whose managerial career is back on the up after rescuing Rangers from a relegation so many thought a certainty, reckons the spirit that took his team to safety will provide a potent challenge to Wolves tomorrow.

Gregory said: “The relief of staying up meant there were 24 hours of celebration – but we were back to work on Monday and we are very switched on and focused not only for this game but for the week after when we face Stoke City.

“We realise we could have a big say in what happens with the play off positions and we must take a very professional approach to this game. There won’t be any relaxation. I’m confident enough in these lads to know they will be coming up there with a first class attitude.”

That, of course, is what you would expect Gregory to say especially after a week of back slapping for a manager who has fought his way out of the doldrums since leaving Villa in 2002.

He was rewarded for his efforts with a new two-year contract this week while the atmosphere around Loftus Road has been, he says, “as if we had won promotion.”

But Gregory reckons that old Molineux factor will again come into play and raise his team’s competitive edge tomorrow.

“These players have shown to me that they respond to the better stages in the Championship and they have reserved some of their best performances for them,” he said.

“We were narrowly beaten at Sunderland and drew but should have won at Derby. We won at Leicester, Southampton, Coventry . . . they really enjoy the big grounds in this division.

“It seems to get the best out of them and they are really looking forward to playing at Molineux. I know the playing surface there this season is fantastic and I have never been to Wolves and not enjoyed the atmosphere.

“At the same time we know we are playing against a very good team. They were by far the better side against Birmingham – and I mean by far – and deserved to win the game never mind draw it.

“And I think Mick (McCarthy) probably feels he has got the balance of the team spot on with the two wide players doing so well.

“He’s getting the best out of Jay Bothroyd and that’s something which has defeated one or two managers in the past while Keogh is a player I really like and one we had targeted.

“We were desperate to get him but the moment Wolves were in there, we had no chance of competing. We did not have the money to match them.

“They’re a very good side at the moment, there’s no doubt about that.”

Gregory began his rescue act in September after a disastrous start by Rangers but such is the precarious lifespan in his profession he is already ranks No.62 in longevity out of 90 club managers - 28 managers having been appointed after him.

In such a volatile world then he makes no excuses for evading a forecast as to how the Great Race will finish.

“I know you’ll all be thinking about a Wolves-Albion final up there won’t you?” he adds. “That would be something.

“But it’s been an amazing season at both ends of the table. I have been so focused on the bottom six or seven clubs that I don’t think I would be comfortable trying to guess what’s going to happen in the top 10.

“It’s been the sort of season where, in our case, you think you know which teams are fighting for survival when suddenly Leicester drop into trouble and there’s another club in peril.

“What I do know is that one of those top three teams are going to miss out on automatic promotion and that is going to be a massive disappointment to them.

“The next thing they know is that they are going to have to get themselves up for the first play-off game a few days later and that is going to be very, very difficult.

“That’s the team it could be an advantage to be facing.

“On the other hand, if you finish with momentum and in good form, that’s a good weapon to take with you into the play-offs.

“It will be fascinating and I will say this. I think Wolves deserve to be in there. Almost from the day they beat us at the ‘Bush they have steadily climbed and climbed and fought their way into the top six.

“They’ve got a great chance but we owe it to all the other challengers to be absolutely up for it tomorrow - just as Wolves will want us to be bang at it when we face Stoke the week after.” Express and Star

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