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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ex-QPRs: Padula Will Have to Wait.... LeRoy Griffths

Gino Padula who signed for Columbus Crew, this week, now has to wait for a visa (which means he won't get to play in the home opener against another former QPR player, Toronto's Danny Dichio)

MLS: "Gino Padula: After trying out for the team on the trip to England, Padula was signed to a contract just before the start of the season, and should take over the starting left back when he gets his visa. His playing experience includes seven years in England, a year in Spain, time in his native Argentina and most recently France. But until Padula's paperwork is done, anything goes -- with Stefani Miglioranzi, Andy Iro and Ezra Hendrickson all candidates to play. " MLS

"... • In the week leading to the opener, the Crew finalized the acquisition of Gino Padula, last with Montpellier FC in France's Ligue 2. The native of Argentina spent seven years in England (Walsall, Wigan, Queens' Park Rangers, Nottingham Forest), also playing in Spain with Xerez and River Plate and Huracan in his homeland.
• "He is a very good passing outside back," coach Sigi Schmid said. "He is very good with the ball, very calm on the ball and he doesn't panic. He'll get forward, but he picks and chooses the times to get forward a little more than (most)." Schmid was unsure when Padula would receive his work permit and join the team. "At this stage in his career, I think he's looking to settle in. Hopefully, he'll be our left back for a number of years."
• Padula will fit into a back line that includes a significant change from a year ago, where Marcos Gonzalez returned to his native Chile. In his place in central defense to start the season will be Danny O'Rourke, who played 27 games a season ago - all in a central midfield role." . MLS

Gillingham Official Site - Leroy: "Every game is a cup final."
Gillingham striker Leroy Griffiths is looking forward to the remaining seven games.

Griffiths scored the consolation goal for the Gills at Port Vale, and came close to equalising with a karate kick-style snapshot, and the striker hopes to have more shots on goal in the coming games: "The boss told me to stay between the posts, as at times I don't stay between them enough, and if the ball falls to you, you will get a goal. Luckily enough for me, from a corner, everyone missed it and the ball came to me and boom; perfect timing.

"It seems to be that I only score left foot volleys. At the moment, it is working for me so I'll keep working on them. I want to score a few goals off the deck and maybe take a couple around the goalie if I get a chance.

"That karate kick shot was going top bins. I thought to myself the ball is coming down so go for it. Normally, they work as I've scored two at home, one of which was disallowed even though I was miles onside and timed my run to perfection! I'm about scoring goals. Get into the position in the box and when they fall for me, I will take them."

The Gills take on Carlisle United at the KRBS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday and Griffiths admits the mood in the camp is good ahead of a tough game: "Every game in this league is a tough game. We need to get ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start from scratch. Hopefully we'll have a couple of experienced players back for Saturday like Andrew Crofts and Danny Cullip and they will help us with more passion and heart. The young lads that have come in, they have done well in the last couple of games.

"The mood is tremendous. Some players have let the Manager down in certain aspects but the rest of the team are digging in there together. We have got players like Adam Miller playing on an injury. I think playing on a hernia is phenomenal and he is doing the best that he can. Some people might be on his back but you have to understand that the amount of running he does for this team. Stay with us because we can stay up. We have got enough ability and quality in the squad and we just need to have that belief and stay focused.

"It is an old cliché but every game is a cup final. You always want to do better than your last game. With the staff at the club, they can help us stay up. We have got great facilities here and it is time for us to stand up and be counted when we cross that white line. The people here can help us all week long but when the game starts, it is down to us. If we continue to stick together as a team, we can do anything."

Griffiths has been used as more of a supersub in recent weeks and he explains why he can have such an impact coming off the bench: "My recent form has been a bit up and down. One minute I am flying and the next, I have got a little niggle. Now I am back flying, I want to keep that consistency. If I feel something now, I'll just talk to the Manager and he was kind to let me pull out of last Thursday's session with a hamstring injury so I didn't start on Saturday. I was on the bench and he put me on in both games over Easter.

"I am fresh and hungry when I come off the bench. I haven't been running around for over an hour and dogging opposition players. If you see me in a game, I am doing lots of dogging and tracking back. When I come off the bench, the opposition players are tired and I have loads of fuel to run at them. You don't want me running at you at 100 miles per hour if you've just played for sixty minutes! Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a great supersub for Manchester United so if I can have a record like his here at Gillingham, I won't argue with anyone. If it helps get me a new contract for next season, I will be very happy with that."

Griffiths has had a rollercoaster of a season and he explains that now he is playing for Mark Stimson again, he hopes to earn a new contract for nest season: "I started off the season unattached to a club, as I had just left Fisher Athletic, so I didn't have a pre-season. I went to Havant & Waterlooville but the Manager and I didn't get on. He was shouting at me and I am not a person to take abuse. Looking at the size of me, if you were smart, you wouldn't start shouting abuse at me! I didn't want to be drawn into it because it could've tarnished my reputation. If I wanted to get into Management at the end of my career, and I've had rows with Managers, that could go against me. They did owe me money but I thought money doesn't make me so money won't break me. I thought forget it and went down a couple of divisions to get some games under my belt.

"After I left Havant & Waterlooville, I went to Corinthian Casuals. I scored a couple of goals for them but can you picture me in their chocolate and pink kit with navy blue shorts and socks? I know Brian Adamson, the Manager of Corinthian Casuals, as he coached me before and he asked me to go down there and play a few games for them to help keep my fitness up and get me back up the football pyramid.

"I then got offers from Eastleigh and Lewes Manager Steve King. He knew me from before so I went there. I went to Lewes, played a couple of games and the next minute I got a phone call. Luckily enough, the boss saw I was playing and scoring goals so he gave me the opportunity to come to Gillingham. I said I would be over the moon to come down here and luckily enough, I am still here. I owe a lot to the boss and Scott for brining me here after a tough season to play in the amount of games I have and to meet the people I have met. I would rather play for Mark Stimson than any other Manager.

"I don't want to go anywhere. I love it at this club. The fans are awesome and I love them. I enjoy coming in here every day and the staff are brilliant. I've made so many new friends here with the players, the staff and the fans. There are no big time Charlies here and everyone is level-headed. You can go to certain clubs and there will be players who think they are bigger than what they are but everyone is normal here. There is a lot of respect here and I like that. I haven't had any qualms with anyone apart from a couple of tackles flying in on the training ground!

"I feel at home here, I love the club and I like the stadium. The Chairman here is one of only a couple of Chairmen that I have got on with, the other was the Chairman at Fisher Athletic. I've worked with Mark Stimson before and he is a great guy. Scott Barrett and Paul Smith, the physio, are top blokes. Everyone here is good to me and I am good back to them. As I feel comfortable here, it is helping me out on the pitch. I can relax now as I was a bit nervous when I came here. That happens when you go to a new club because you are not sure who is who. Now I am settled here, I would love to be here for another season or two."

Griffiths has been wearing bright orange boots in recent games and he revealed why he wears such rascal footwear: "I am a flamboyant man as everyone knows. I love colours and they make you stand out. If you want to stand out, you have to have something about you. My character and dress sense says it all. I thought I will be the brave one and I'll go buy the orange Nike Mercurial boots. Everyone has got the blue and black ones so I went for the orange ones. They've got red ones too so I'll be getting a pair of them next. Hopefully they will get a few goals as I love scoring and winning. We have to keep winning to get up that table. There are a few tough games coming up against teams up the top and down the bottom, but with the players we have got, we can get the points we need to stay up." Gillingham

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