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Friday, March 07, 2008

Snippets: Mancienne on Ben Sahar...Hall Perspective...Bolder Loan Extended...De Canio on Walton...Ecclestone at Chelsea...Preview Sheffield Wednesday

Kilburn Times/Ben Kosky - Mancienne: Sahar's still a threat
MICHAEL Mancienne has warned that QPR flop Ben Sahar could yet prove his worth when Rangers face Sheffield Wednesday this weekend.
Sahar failed to find the net in nine appearances for the Rs earlier this season and cut short his five-month loan from Chelsea, who have now farmed him out to Hillsborough.
But Mancienne - who has played with the teenage striker both for QPR and the Blues' reserve side - said: "Ben's a great lad and I know he's a really good player.
"Things just didn't go his way when he was here. I don't think he settled in properly and, if you don't settle in, you won't be totally happy.
"But you shouldn't underestimate Ben because he can be unpredictable and do something you don't expect. I'm sure it'll be a good game on Saturday."
Sahar has been propelled back into the battle to avoid relegation from the Championship, with Wednesday desperate for victory to haul themselves away from the drop zone.
But Rangers are sailing in clearer waters these days and, after the 3-0 demolition of title challengers Stoke last Sunday, Mancienne feels they are now displaying a more ruthless streak.
He acknowledged: "We're up for every game - people like Gaz and Rowly always get the team going - but I think we got a bit complacent in that game against Burnley, when we were 2-0 up.
"But we've learned from that. Against Stoke, we went 2-0 up and didn't look back, we kept on going and didn't get sloppy, which we knew had happened in the past.
"Everyone was saying to each other 'we can't let this slip now, let's not get comfortable or sit back and let them attack us'. To keep a clean sheet is bread and butter for any defender, so the back four were very happy."
In addition to Sahar, Wednesday have also included another QPR player from this season in recent weeks - Adam Bolder, who was club captain until recently.
Bolder's loan at Hillsborough ends tomorrow and, as the Times went to press, it was not yet clear whether the Owls would try to extend the deal until the end of the season.
Rangers boss Luigi de Canio said: "Bolder will finish his month at Sheffield Wednesday and then if he comes back he'll be more than useful to the squad here."
De Canio also told the Times that he will be keeping an open mind on the future of another of his on-loan midfielders, Simon Walton. The former Leeds and Charlton man broke his leg in pre-season and, once he recovered, was barely afforded a look-in before being shipped on loan to Hull City at the end of January.
"Simon's a young player and we gave him to Hull so that he could get a bit of match fitness and match experience after his very serious injury," De Canio observed. "We will keep an eye on his progress there and eventually decide what happens. - Kilburn Times

Adam Bolder's loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday has been extended by a further month, until Saturday 5th April 2008
Bolder has made five appearances for the Owls to date, but will not play against the R's tomorrow (Saturday) under the terms of his current loan deal.QPR

Ben Kosky/Kilburn Times - Hall in it together
FITZ Hall feels it is not only the back four who deserve acclaim after QPR ground out their third successive clean sheet at Coventry.
Rangers remained 15th in the Championship after Wednesday's turgid 0-0 draw at the Ricoh Arena, but their new-look back four have now not conceded in three games.
And Hall, who joined the Rs from Wigan at the start of January, said: "Everyone says it's the defence that keeps a clean sheet - but it's not just the defence who keep a clean sheet and the strikers who score.
"When we do well the whole team should get praised. At the start of the game, we'd come off a good result at the weekend and we were looking to win.
"But we didn't play the best football, so if we came away with a 0-0, we've got to be happy with that. We'll just look at the next game, then the next and see where we are at the end of the season."
There were few other positives for Rangers on a night where they failed to force a single save from Sky Blues goalkeeper Andy Marshall.
Patrick Agyemang cut an isolated figure in attack as his team-mates dropped ever deeper and absorbed bursts of pressure from a Coventry side hovering just above the drop zone.
After Scott Dann's early volley had been disallowed for offside, Michael Mifsud blazed into the side netting and Leon Best mis-hit a chance over the bar.
Best was foiled by Lee Camp just after the half-hour when he latched on to a long ball, appearing to clatter Matthew Connolly in the process, and raced through, but the Rs goalkeeper spread himself to block.
Camp also beat away Jay Tabb's volley just before half-time and it took Rangers until the 51st minute to muster a shot at goal, Akos Buzsaky's volley grazing the roof of the net.
The visitors briefly threatened to steal all three points late on as Hogan Ephraim played a one-two with Agyemang and wriggled into the penalty area, but was halted by a trio of defenders before he could shoot.
And substitute Dexter Blackstock might also have snatched it with two minutes remaining when he peeled away to chest down Buzsaky's pass, but could not get a clear shot at goal. Kilburn Times

BBC - Hall not worried about play-offs
Queens Park Rangers defender Fitz Hall says the team have not pinned their hopes on making the play-offs.
Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Coventry left Rangers 10 points behind the top six.
Hall told BBC London 94.9: "It's not beyond us but I don't think we are looking for that [the play-offs]. It's probably going to change every game.
"We had a good result on Sunday and everyone was talking about the play-offs, now we're talking about just keeping a steady ship."
He added: "We'll just go into every game and try to win and see where we end up at the end of the season." BBC

Daily Mail/Charles Sale - Not the right road to go down
Grand prix ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire owner of QPR, would not have impressed the club's fans on Wednesday when he chose to watch Chelsea in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge rather than journey to Coventry to support his Championship team. Mail

South Yorkshire Times - PREVIEW

While the situation regarding new owners is still up in the air, one thing is certain for The Owls and that is every point is vital if they are to stay in the Championship.
If the recent talk of a multi-million pound takeover comes to fruition, Wednesday may be joining Rangers in the rich club and splurges like the one Luigi de Canio enjoyed in January could be happening at Hillsborough.
A plethora of quality Championship stalwarts arrived at Loftus Road in January attracted by the prospects of new success as well as the money of Britain's richest man and a pair of F1 magnates.
On the field however, Rangers are a highly inconsistent side with their 3-0 win over high-flying Stoke and a 4-2 home defeat to Burnley perfect examples of their recent turbulence.
The West London side are unlikely to go down but that threat still exists and the comfortable finish to the season that many expected after the influx of wealth probably will not happen.
Winning on Saturday is highly important for The Owls as they head into two away games against teams around them in the table but with the rollercoaster ride of both sides' seasons, the result is anyone's guess.
The skilful Hungarian playmaker has the ability to change a game with a flash of brilliance and is already proving his worth since joining the club in January from Plymouth.
His outstanding individual ability caught the eye of Jose Mourinho who paid £400,000 to take him to Porto but he failed to make the grade in Portugal and eventually landed on the south coast.
After a superb season at Plymouth, the 27-year-old moved on loan to QPR scoring six goals in 11 appearances before signing on permanently in January.
South Yorkshire Times

Yorkshire Star - Laws: We can't dwell on defeat

BRIAN Laws today ordered his players not to sulk and had them in for training in a bid to put last night's calamity against West Brom out of their minds.
The Owls manager began preparations for Saturday's home clash with QPR straight away instead of giving the team the day off that they would normally have after a midweek match.

But it was not a punishment and the players will get a break tomorrow instead - with Laws just wanting to stop them from dwelling on last night.

Wednesday were on course for a point but had Jermaine Johnson sent off and were hit by a Kevin Phillips winner after five minutes of injury time.

Johnson was dismissed for lashing out at Jonathan Greening, who was booked for retaliation. He could be banned for four games after being sent off earlier this season.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

Laws said: "We could sulk for days and use the referee as an excuse - or we have to move on. We have moved on.

"I don't want us to dwell on this game. I want us to concentrate on the next one and make sure we get ourselves ready for QPR."

Neither Laws nor opposite number Tony Mowbray felt that the sending-off was justified, at first glance, but the Owls boss was planning to watch film of the incident before passing a final judgement.

He felt that the result was harsh: "We deserved more. Nobody can question the drive, the commitment." The Star

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