|Hughes satisfied, McDonald plane launched, extra friendly added â diary|
Thu 19th Jul 2012 21:10 by Clive Whittingham
Manager Mark Hughes was satisfied with his QPR team’s first pre-season friendly against a Sabah Select XI after the R’s ran out 5-0 winners.
Hughes told the club’s official website: “It was a very good game for us, perfect preparation. The opposition was good and provided a nice test. It is still very early in our preparations - we have only had six training sessions before tonight so I thought our football was good. There were plenty of goals for the fans and I thought the crowd was great. I hope they enjoyed it, we certainly enjoyed playing in front of them. Hopefully we can come again soon."
Rangers are all set to add Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett to their squad but Hughes has distanced himself from speculation linking the club with a move for Craig Bellamy who he has previously worked with at Blackburn, Man City and the Welsh national side.
Hughes told London24: ““There has been a lot of speculation over Craig. Yes I know him very well. But at the moment it is all speculation.”
Ji-Sung Park captained the side to the delight of the local crowd, and the South Korean international says his signing and QPR’s association with Air Asia is already building the club’s reputation in the Far East. Park also told West London Sport he’d turned down bigger cash offers in that part of the world to sign for the R’s.
Park said: “In Korea they didn’t know much about QPR. They only focus on Korean players playing for clubs like Man United, Sunderland, Arsenal and Bolton. But after the last few days a lot of people in Korea now know about QPR and they’re famous. The media in Korea now talk a lot about QPR.
“They offered more money than QPR but for me Europe is still the best place to play so I wanted that challenge.”
Striker Andy Johnson impressed observers with a sharp display on his first outing in QPR colours, and he has told the Fulham Chronicle he’s hopeful of winning back his place in the England squad after moving to Loftus Road.
He said: “I’ve got to first get into Rangers’ team and hit form. But if I am scoring goals, Roy’s homework on me is already done. He knows he can depend on me. I don’t think it would be far fetched for a forward scoring regularly in the Premier League to get included in the international squad – and we’ll have to see.
“I know the theory is that if I’m in the team, it’s because I will be playing off Bobby at QPR, but I don’t agree. Sure, I know Bob well from our time together at Fulham. But there are so many combinations Mark Hughes has available to him, and whether I’m leading the line or sitting behind linking up play, I know I can do a good job. I’m grateful to Mark for his faith in me. When I was injured at Fulham, he was very careful about bringing me back, and double-checked all the time there were no problems. Believe me, there are plenty of managers out there who would throw players back into the fray before they were ready.”
The first team will play the second match of the tour tomorrow against Malaysian league champions Kelantan at 2.15pm GMT. Striker Jamie Mackie told the club’s official website he was looking forward to playing in front of a capacity crowd of 45,000.
Mackie said: "It'll be a fantastic experience. This is only our second game of pre-season and with that many people watching, it definitely beats playing a friendly against lesser opposition in England, when the crowds are lower. The exercise at the moment is purely to get fit - the rest of the stuff in terms of quality from the lads will get better as people get fitter. I got 45 minutes under my belt. I've got to be honest, the heat is so hard to play in. I asked the other lads and a lot of them said the same thing. It's very humid and hot, and hard to get your breath, but we kept the ball and tried to slow the game down. The lads scored some good goals as well. It would be nice to come out here and be on holiday, but it's football and it's crazy.”
Mackie will get his lesser opposition English friendly upon his return however as the club has confirmed an extra pre-season date with League Two side Wycombe on Tuesday July 31 with a 7.30pm kick off. Wanderers, relegated from League One last season, are managed by former QPR midfielder and manager Gary Waddock.
Rangers are currently travelling between matches in a specially commissioned Air Asia plane that bears the club’s colours and badge and is named after former captain Alan McDonald who passed away recently.
Alan’s widow Tonia said: "On behalf of myself, Joshua and all the McDonald family I cannot thank Mr Fernandes enough for his overwhelming gesture of deciding to remember and honour Alan by naming one of his planes after him. We know Alan would have been so proud and amazed at such a generous tribute. I'm only sorry that we could not be in KL to witness the unveiling, but I feel immensely proud that Alan's name and the QPR colours will jointly become a legacy incorporated in such a wonderful aircraft. Mr Fernandes has already promised me that if ever the plane comes to the UK then we will have the opportunity to see it for ourselves and Joshua and I can't wait for that to happen."
A QPR reserve side lost 1-0 to Barnet on Tuesday in a friendly played at the League Two club’s training ground. Ricky Holmes grabbed the only goal of a game used as an opportunity for both clubs to assess trial players. The QPR side, which will turn out again this Saturday at Woking, included Rob Hulse, DJ Campbell, Tommy Smith and Bruno Andrade.
Despite being snubbed from the club’s Far East tour striker Hulse is determined to see out his contract in W12 according to his agent. Matt Buck told the Fulham Chronicle: “I have spoken to Rob and he's in no rush to leave the club. He's disappointed that he wasn't included in the squad for the tour but he's not actively looking elsewhere. He's also still catching up on his fitness following his hernia problem at the end of the season. There's never been a discussion about him leaving QPR. His family are settled in the area and he plans to honour the contract. We'll see what the next few weeks bring.”
Finally Joey Barton will not face further police action following a fight outside a Liverpool nightclub at the beginning of June. Photographs emerged of Barton, shirtless, involved in an altercation in the city centre during the early hours of the morning on June 4. He was later arrested on suspicion of affray along with two other men from Liverpool and one from Widnes. All four have now been informed they will not be taken to court.
C – Nick McMaster
The new owners of Nottingham Forest have again distanced themselves from any involvement with former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini. Peterborough threatened to report the Al-Hasawi family to the FA over an alleged illegal approach to their manager Darren Ferguson by Paladini on Forest’s behalf, but the new Middle Eastern owners of Forest have been at pains to deny the Italian was working for them.
They told the Nottingham Evening Post: “"We have no knowledge of that. We know Gianni Paladini from the football world. We are approached by many people. People like Mr Paladini do recommend certain names. He is not employed by us at all. We have no involvement with that matter."
One of Paladini’s many less than successful signings at Loftus Road, Fitz Hall, is in talks with Championship side Watford after being released at the end of his QPR contract this summer. West London Sport reported the talks on Tuesday – rumours that the medical examination has been continuing since then were unconfirmed at press time.
New Hornets manager Gianfranco Zola told Sky Sports: “I’m not sure if it’s done and dusted. He is a player we are very much interested in.”
Akos Buzsaky, another leaving Loftus Road this summer, is in talks with Bristol City.
- Tottenham defender Ledley King has retired from the game at the age of 31 because of his chronic knee problems. Spurs are also facing up to the prospect of losing Luka Modric this summer but new manager Andre Villas Boas has warned potential suitors of the Croatian that he will only leave if the club’s £35m asking price is met.
- New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has rowed back from his suggestion last week that striker Andy Carroll could be loaned out this season, but the club is willing to take a £15m loss on the England forward and sell him for £20m with former club Newcastle openly stating their interest. Rodgers said: "To consider a loan for someone the club spent £35m on isn't something we're looking to do at this moment in time." Another climb down at Anfield today saw the club’s American owners remove an article from their website stating they had signed Fulham’s Clint Dempsey for £10m. That deal is hotly tipped to go through this summer though.
- Swansea have had a £2m bid for midfielder Michu accepted by Spanish club Rayo Vallecano.
- Southampton have completed the signing of Crystal Palace right back Nathaniel Clyne on a four year deal. The 21-year-old’s fee will be decided by a tribunal as his contract at Selhurst Park had expired.
- West Ham have signed Mali striker Modibo Maiga from French club Sochaux on a four-year deal for a fee of about £4.7m.
- Reading have signed 25-year-old Watford defender Adrian Mariappa on a three year deal for an undisclosed “significant” fee.
- Arsenal’s Mexican striker Carlos Vela is in Spain holding talks with Real Sociedad, where he spent last season on loan, over the terms of a permanent transfer.
Pictures – Action Images
Sketch – Nick McMaster