|Midweek Diary â Warnock blasts FA, Ephraim scores, weekend tube closures|
Tue 29th Nov 2011 20:06 by Clive Whittingham
QPR manager Neil Warnock has accused the FA of jeopardising the careers of young players after he was refused permission to bring in a goalkeeper on loan prior to the weekend defeat at Norwich.
Warnock lost first choice stopper Paddy Kenny with a side strain and his backup Brian Murphy with a torn calf over the weekend of the Stoke match and then failed with an attempt to sign free agent Richard Wright last Wednesday with the former Arsenal man choosing to re-sign at Ipswich. That left him with only Radek Cerny and his persistent back problem to rely on at Norwich but the FA rejected the club’s pleas for an emergency loan, ordering them instead to bring teenager Elvijs Putnins back from his loan at Boreham Wood instead.
After the 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road Warnock told West London Sport: “We couldn’t sign anyone else and they said it was because we’ve got other goalkeepers on the books. We gave the lad a free transfer last year but he didn’t want to go anywhere. He wanted to train and stay with us. So, to be nice, we said ‘Just train with us if you want, son. You won’t play but we’ll carry on paying you until your contract’s up.’ We’ll now have to pay the lad up in January. We only kept him out of the goodness of our hearts because he’s a good lad and we don’t mind him training with us. They told us that as well as him, we have another kid on professional forms. Well I won’t sign a youngster on professional forms again – and I’m sure that’s not what the Premier League envisaged. Can’t we have commonsense?
“They won’t let us sign anyone unless Radek gets injured. I could tell them he’s injured but I’m not going to lie to them. I think they thought I wanted to sign Jens Lehmann or Petr Cech. We only wanted someone to sit on the bench.”
Warnock was also quoted on the official website saying: “Paddy is going to be out for a while. He injured his side at Stoke, as did Murphy - they're both going to be out for a while. We asked the Premier League for permission for an emergency loan, but they took two days to tell us no. That really disappoints me. Raddy has a long-standing injury himself, which is why he's only played a couple of games for the reserves over the last 12 months. I'm really disappointed with the Premier League to be honest."
And the defeat against QPR’s perennial bogey team didn’t help matters much either. Warnock said: “I’m disappointed we haven't come away with all three points, let alone one. We should've won the game but we've come away getting mugged. Of course the goals we conceded really disappoint me, but I can't be too critical with the overall performance. I thought at 1-1 we were the only side that was going to go on and win the game, but we didn't defend properly and it's cost us.
“The comedy bam-box for the first goal and then our failure to clear our lines five or six times for their second goal is soul destroying. I'm very disappointed and I've told the lads how I feel. Norwich got out of prison today."
Better news from the treatment room though – a scan on Sunday morning revealed that Shaun Wright Phillips hasn’t broken his foot as first feared and could yet feature in the weekend game with West Brom.
Prior to the game at Norwich Alejandro Faurlin gave an interview to The Independent in which he stated his fondness for the club, despite the tribulations he has been through since moving from Argentina. Faurlin said: “You only notice the problems if you have not chosen well. That is when you start to think that the weather is too hot or too cold, when you are not happy. It is hard being so far from home, but if you are playing, it's always the right temperature. If you come for the right reasons, if you make a choice and you are certain you are right, you will not regret it tomorrow. The way my career has gone has taught me to be calm."
“Joey Barton is funny, but I don't always understand him. He's the sort of character it is good to have around. The manager too. I like it here. I feel happy here."
Barton himself was suspended at Norwich but has still attracted plenty of press coverage over the weekend for his Tweets and appearance on the excellent Open All R’s podcast. Following the apparent suicide of Wales manager Gary Speed on Sunday Barton attracted criticism for Tweeting: "Suicide is a mix of the most tragic, most selfish, most terrible (and I want to believe preventable) acts out there. Just didn't seem at all fitting with his character but again, I am in no position to speak. I feel terrible for his kids, family and friends.”
He then told the guys who produce the QPR podcast that his departure from Newcastle was sparked by a row over bonus payments.
He said: “Newcastle, as a playing squad, were the only club in Premier League history not to sign a bonus sheet. It was unprecedented. We refused as a playing staff as they tried to railroad the players into signing a bonus sheet. In their opinion we were paid workforce. They thought we were Sports Direct and we should do what the subordinates at Sports Direct do, forgetting they were dealing with 20-odd egos, probably ten self-sufficient men in a position to make a number of different judgements. Myself and the bigger name players at the time advised the playing staff because we were head of the playing committee not to sign the bonus sheet and that filtered back to boardroom level. It’s no coincidence that I was given away.”
Welsh international Danny Gabbidon paid his own tribute to Gary Speed via the club’s official website. He said: "It's a great loss. Playing alongside him and under him, I got to know him as a player and as a person. He was an unbelievable guy and an unbelievable player as well. Hearing the news left me shocked, like everybody else. It makes football seem so insignificant when something like this happens. It puts everything into perspective. When you are feeling a bit down, and something like this goes on, it just makes you realise there are more important things to life than football. I still can't believe it or get my head around it. It keeps going round in my head why he would do something like that. It's just such a big loss."
Earlier today the reserve team, managed by Marc Bircham rather than Ronnie Jepson, lost 3-0 to Charlton in a behind closed doors game with all three goals coming in the final 15 minutes of the game. Akos Buzsaky, Jason Puncheon and Bruno Perone all played in the game with young Australian keeper Aaron Lennox between the sticks.
Bircham told the club’s official website: “We played well in the first half and should have been two or three up. Their keeper pulled off a couple of really good saves. It was disappointing to concede like we did late on, especially with two of the goals where the marking could have been better. But it was a pleasing work-out. Danny Shittu and Jason Puncheon got an hour under their belts, and Akos Buzsaky played for 70 minutes. Akos looked sharp and played the game at match tempo. That's the whole point of these fixtures, they are put on for players to get match sharpness. There would be no point playing in them if you're not going to put it in. Akos really put it in and that will benefit him. And I was pleased with how Troy Hewitt did up top. He played the full game, looked lively and went close on three occasions, forcing the keeper into two saves."
Elsewhere The Mirror reports that veteran left back Clint Hill could be in line for a contract extension after his recent return to the starting 11. Hill, out of contract this summer, had been loaned out to Nottingham Forest earlier this season but has played in the wins against Chelsea and Stoke since he returned.
Off the field Rangers are set to announce plans for a new purpose built training ground, and a new stadium will not be far behind according to ambitious owner Tony Fernandes.
The Malaysian told The Guardian: “I've built airlines and Formula One teams, but building a stadium is not the easiest thing in the world. There are opportunities in west London we are looking at. The first thing we are going to build is a new training ground and there are two sites in west London, so hopefully we'll announce that soon.The current training ground is really not up to the mark. It has great grounds and we've tarted it up ourselves and got more equipment there, but it's not something for the future.
"Some fans are saying: 'We don't have a fan base bigger than 20,000.' My gut feel is 40,000-45,000. That's double where we are right now, but we're in London and there's a strong catchment area. Of course, there is nothing worse than a half-empty stadium, but I'm the king of sizing. If you start an airline with two planes, and then you buy 150 planes, the same question can be asked. As I say, it's just a gut feel but we'll do some studies first. We can find the space, although it's not easy, and there are lots of things that have to be put into place."
On the training ground CEO Philip Beard told London24: "The main criteria will be which one we can move quickest on, but the most interesting one is within a couple of miles of where we are now. I think if we can secure the land then it might be something we can move very quickly on. Staying within a short distance of where we are now would have its benefits. For one, it would mean the players and coaching staff would already be familiar with the area. If it were possible, we’d like to be there by next season. What I don't want to do is rush it, get in somewhere and then discover we haven’t done what we needed to do. I've been down there with Tony and Neil. The important thing is to show to the current playing squad that we understand we need to do something."
Finally QPR are ball umber 33 in the FA Cup Third Round draw which takes place on Sunday – my money is on us getting Coventry away.
Hogan Ephraim marked his home debut for Charlton with a goal in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield on Monday night that brought the Terriers’ record breaking 43 match unbeaten league run to a shuddering halt and extended the Addicks’ lead at the top of League One.
Ephraim told the Evening Standard: “It was a good way to introduce myself to the fans. Even nicer is getting a first start and to win a massive game. There were a couple of Championship clubs interested in me but they weren't right. It wasn't a case of me just going anywhere, if need be I would have stayed at QPR if the right club hadn't come along. I said to my agent, why don't we see if Chris Powell was interested? We called them and they said they were, so that was great. It's nice to contribute something to this team."
Elsewhere in League One there was bad news for Martin Rowlands who faces a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury picked up in Wycombe’s 4-3 home defeat by MK Dons. Rowlands had trained for two days prior to the game with no reaction to the injury but was forced off midway through the first half. Manager Gary Waddock said: “It backfired because he’s had to come off. He’s trained Thursday and Friday without any reaction. Games like this will test anybody if they have got a slight weakness. He’ll be out for a few weeks.”
Yeovil continued their impressive recent run, making it seven points from nine with an away win at Hartlepool in which Max Ehmer played a full 90 minutes. Lee Cook lasted for just over an hour on his Leyton Orient debut as they lost 1-0 at high flying Sheffield Wednesday.
Barnet are also in decent form all of a sudden, recording a third consecutive win at home to Macclesfield at the weekend to move still further clear of the League Two drop zone. No action for Gary Borrowdale though as he continues to nurse a groin problem. Michael Doughty was an unused sub for league leaders Crawley as they won at Rotherham.< No action either for Peter Ramage at Crystal Palace, he’s injured too.
Tamas Priskin got his latest loan spell off to a flying start with a fine goal for Derby at West Ham on Saturday evening, but was left disappointed after finishing on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. Priskin, who endured a torrid loan spell in W12 the season before last, told Sky Sports: “West Ham are one of the best teams in the Championship and I thought we matched them for the majority of the game. It was good to score on my debut, I just wish it could have helped us to a point or win. I think it will be a good game against Brighton and hopefully we can get a result. I felt good and sharp. I got the goal as well which boosted my confidence. To play 90 minutes was good, I've not done it anywhere near enough in the last year.”
- Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is apparently on the verge of leaving the club after the weekend defeat by Wigan. Bruce was barracked by the home fans after the late defeat but insisted after the match that he would stay. He said: "It's not easy when your family are here and you're abused like that. But it's the game we're in and I've never walked away from a challenge. I won't be beaten with it. If others see fit to make a change then so be it but I'm ready for the challenge ahead." That situation is rumoured to have changed in the early part of this week.
- Things are also not going well at Blackburn who will be without midfielder Steven Nzonzi for three matches after he was suspended by violent conduct. Nzonzi appeared to elbow Ryan Shawcross in a 3-1 defeat at Stoke on Saturday, an incident missed at the time by referee Mark Halsey.
- Chelsea defender John Terry has been interviewed under caution by police investigating the alleged racial abuse of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during the match between the two at Loftus Road earlier this season.
- West Brom will be without crowd favourite Zolton Gera for the “foreseeable future” according to manager Roy Hodgson after the winger suffered a serious knee injury in the weekend home defeat by Tottenham.
Saturday tube closures ahead of this weekend’s match against West Brom at Loftus Road:
- The Circle Line is suspended between Hammersmith and Moorgate.
- The Hammersmith and City Line is suspended between Kings Cross and Barking.
- The Metropolitan Line will not run between Baker Street and Aldgate.
- The Northern Line has no service on the High Barnet branch after Camden Town until about 8.30am on Saturday morning.
- The Waterloo and City Line is closed all day.