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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ephraim Suspended....Ian Evatt on QPR...QPR on Blackpool...Ainsworth on QPR's Performaces

It's QPR vs Blackpool tonight! Hogan Ephraim - despite his declarations of innocence and expectations of "absolution" appears to be suspended for the next three games after his sending off

Blackpool Gazette - Ian Evatt Perspective
IAN Evatt reckons team spirit will be worth more than millionaire owners when Pool take on QPR tonight.
Pool are paupers compared to a football club that became Britain's richest when Formula One big-timers Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone took over earlier in the season.
They have spent millions on reshaping the side and recruited Luigi De Canio from Italy's Seri A as manager – but Evatt, who left QPR to join Pool last year, reckons that wealth isn't everything.
"It is a bit bizarre to see what's happened there, especially for me because I used to play for them," said Evatt.
"Apparently they are the richest club in the world now ... so it was a great time for me to leave wasn't it!
"But although they might have no end of money, it's sometimes not all about the cash.
"If you look at us at Blackpool we've built a squad on relatively nothing for this division and yet we are still halfway and matching every team in the league.
"So it's not about money, it's all about team spirit and we have that in abundance.
"The lads have got no end of belief in their own ability and we have shown that on countless occasions this season already.
"We believe we can beat every team in this league and we have shown that we can more than match anyone in this division.
"QPR will be tough but there is no reason why we can't get a positive result, add another point or three to our tally and edge ourselves closer to safety."
Boss Simon Grayson is expected to make changes after the lacklustre draw against Southampton on Saturday.
Evatt won't be one of those to miss out – and after being confined to the bench for the reverse fixture with QPR in December because of injury, the defender is eager to show his old club what he can do.
"I wasn't treated the best by QPR," he said. "The club was in a bit of a mess at the time – although thankfully now it is turning around for them – and I am really looking forward to going back there, especially after missing the first game against them.
"What makes it better is that I know I'm going back as part of a very good team.
"We are flying at the moment, we are playing well and that's why we should be confident about getting a good result.
"I might get a bit of stick from their fans but it will be all welcome and hopefully we will go there, turn them over and get the three points."
One thing Evatt is looking forward to is playing in a wind-free environment.
Assuming London doesn't continue to get hit by the gales buffeting the south-west, Loftus Road will be a whole lot calmer than Blackpool was on Saturday.
"We didn't play great against Southampton at the weekend but the wind made it very difficult," the 26-year-old added.
"We like to play good stuff but on Saturday the ball was all over the place and you didn't know where it was going to go.
"Southampton are a very good side with expensive ex-Premiership players, so we have come a long way when we are disappointed at only drawing with them.
"We've got to keep picking up points and not get too disappointed when we don't win." Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Gazette/By Steve Canavan - Manager Simon Grayson Perspective
MONEY can't buy success – that's Simon Grayson's message to anyone fearing tonight's clash with cash-rich QPR.
The Seasiders boss acknowledges that his team face a tough challenge at Loftus Road but he feels that just like at Norwich in the last away game, victory is possible.
"They are a good footballing team and they get the ball down and play – but so do we," said Grayson.
"OK, they've had plenty of money to spend recently but money doesn't buy you instant success.
"However, it will be tough. They had a disappointing result at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday but I watched them last week at Barnsley and saw them against Stoke on TV.
"They gave Stoke a real good game and they have some real talented players.
"They've got a lot of threats around the pitch – Buzsaky, Rowan Vine, Patrick Agyemang – and other quality players, like Fitz Hall, who has come out of the Premiership to join them.
"But although they have talented players, I always trust my players and I'll always back them.
"If we stand up and match them we've got a good chance of winning."
Even the fact that the Seasiders haven't won at Loftus Road for more than 36 years (a 1-0 success courtesy of a Keith Dyson goal in February 1972) doesn't scare Grayson.
"It hasn't been a happy hunting ground for us but there have been quite a few places like that
in the last year or so and we have proved a lot of statistics wrong," added the boss.
"So that's not a reason to be worried or fearful. Why can't we go to Loftus Road and turn a negative into a positive?
"It is a tough venue because it's a tight ground and QPR are aware that they need the points as much as we do.
"But I'm looking forward to another challenge and hopefully we will get a good result.
"We won our last game at Norwich and we go into every game trying to be positive and playing the right style of football.
"If we do that and get on the frontfoot – something we didn't do on Saturday against Southampton – we'll have a chance."
Grayson is set to make a couple of changes after admitting some of his players looked jaded at the weekend.
Paul Dickov could be rested, and Claus Jorgensen, subbed in the second half against Southampton, may be sweating on his place. Blackpool Gazette

With fellow Championship newcomers Bristol City flying high at the summit of the division, Blackpool's solid season has largely gone unnoticed.
But credit where credit's due, Simon Grayson's squad have exceeded all expectations so far this season and heading into the final chapter of their first campaign back in the second tier for some 29 years, the Seasiders still hold realistic hopes of a top-ten finish.
The Tangerines currently occupy twelfth place in the table, lying nine points adrift of the play-off's and eight points clear of safety.
A surprise opening day victory against Leicester City rather set the tone for their season and in truth, the Seasiders have rarely looked back since then.
Wins against promotion contenders Burnley and Charlton Athletic since the turn of the year provided brief hope of a play-off push, but Grayson isn't about to get too carried away.
"We are still looking over our shoulders," he said recently.
"At the start of the season our target was to stay in this league and that remains the case.
"We're playing well, but all we can do is try to kick on from here."
The arrival of experienced hit-man Paul Dickov in the January transfer window only served to reiterate Blackpool's footing at this level.
The former Manchester City ace, who is out contract in the summer, bagged five goals in as many games last month and was named the Professional Footballer's Association Championship player of the month.
"He's proving to be a good loan signing," admitted Grayson following Dickov's goal-a-game record in February.
"His work-rate, his all-round contribution is superb and he's also getting on the scoresheet.
"He's known as a pest throughout football and he's living up to that reputation. The lads look up to him and we're delighted to have him here."
Whether Dickov's goals will be enough to fire Blackpool to a top-ten finish remains to be seen, but the long term future appears to be very bright for a Club once home to footballing greats Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield, amongst others. QPR

This is Local London - Rangers looking towards safety By Simon Mail
QPR will be aiming to move towards safety in the Championship when they take on Blackpool at Loftus Road tonight.
The R's win over Stoke sparked hopes of a push for the play-offs but one point from away games at Coventry and Sheffield Wednesday has ended all talk of that. Instead Rangers are still only six points in front of third bottom Wednesday having played two more games.
Fitz Hall is set to return to the side in place of Damion Stewart after recovering from his groin injury.
But winger Hogan Ephraim begins a three-match ban after his sending off at Wednesday on Saturday. This is Local London

QPR Official Site - Gareth Ainsworth - GAZ SEEKS HOME COMFORT
Club Captain Gareth Ainsworth says the QPR squad 'owe it to their fans' to return to winning ways against Blackpool tomorrow night.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk following Saturday's disappointing 2-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, Ainsworth said: "The lads were totally gutted after the (Sheffield Wednesday) game, but this fixture, if we play like we know we can, is a great opportunity to get back to winning ways quickly.
"Our home form has been a really big part of our season, as it should be, but away from home - especially against the lower positioned teams - we have struggled.
"The amount of games we have led and lost is amazing. That mental toughness - not letting anything affect you on the pitch - is so important; self belief is a very powerful weapon to have."
Ainsworth added: "We knew March was always going to be a tough month with the amount of fixtures, but I know the boys relish every match, no matter how quick they come.
"It's not only tough on the players physically, but also on the fans - be it financially, socially or mentally - who follow us home and away, through thick and thin.
"I have been here long enough to know they make a big difference and I also know that they are all greatly appreciated by every single player." QPR

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