Mick Harford appointed Tony Coton as his Assistant Manager last week, following his own elevation to Manager on the sudden departure of Paul Hart. Coton has been working with Harford and our squad for the best part of a week now, and spoke about our players – new and old – and his and Harford`s aim for the rest of this season.
“I`m impressed,” he told QPR Player after today`s training session. “There are some good players. I knew about a lot of them before I came. Mick told me a lot about the younger players in the squad and I`ve been very impressed with some of the younger players.”
Coton, a former goalkeeper in his playing days and the goalkeeping coach at Manchester United until injury forced him out of that role back in December 2007, talked was naturally interested in talking about our current young loan goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme. Coton was at the Blackpool match and he was impressed by Ikeme, as he has been when observing him in training.
“What I`ve seen of him in training with David Rouse (our current goalkeeping coach – yes, he is still employed by us!) and with Radek he`s impressed me a lot. He`s got all the attributes needed. He`s got good soft hands, he`s got the size of course and he`s a good organizer.
“In the Championship it`s paramount that you do have two experienced keepers, and that`s what you`ve got here,” Coton continued. “Obviously with Radek the back-up at the moment, if anything happens to Carl, then you`ve got a ready-made replacement.
“And it`s good for training as well. Anything that Carl wants to learn he can learn from Radek because he`s the more experienced one of the two.”
ow, while I`m all for having two experienced keepers, I would prefer to have both them on our books permanently, and not keep seeing keepers come and go (almost as often as our managers!)
Coton then clarified the theory behind bringing in Nigel Quashie till the end of the season. With Rowly and Mahon out, the management team were looking for experience in addition to Mikele Leigertwood, to bolster the squad in general and the midfield in particular:
“Nigel Quashie`s been there, done it,” Coton explained. “I think with the young squad that we have, it was important that we got somebody into the centre of the park that just adds that little bit more experience, little bit of guile and knowhow. It`s mainly for when we haven`t got the ball – just pulling players into shape, talking and organizing. I`m sure Nigel will be a great addition for that.”
Coton confirmed that the squad were preparing hard for the Forest away trip tomorrow night. It will be a very difficult encounter with a team flying in the Championship at the moment (as if we need to be reminded of that!). But, in true QPR-spin, Coton reassured all fans that the team would be going up north to win:
“I think it`s their home form which is letting them down a little bit. They`re flying, no bones about that, but I think that they`ve lost three at home. We`re hoping to make it four! We`re going there to attack and to win the game, like any game.” Could someone please explain to me, then, why we`ve just sent Patrick Agyemang off to Bristol City if we`re going to attack tomorrow night (or any other time, for that matter)!
Coton believes that the Rs have to approach each and every game with his and Harford`s philosophy – of winning!
“We want to win all the games that we play and we are instilling that into the players – that games are there to be won with the right kind of football and the right kind of players. And the players that we`ve got here then we can win games,”he concluded.
Coton even thinks the play-offs are still attainable: “If we win back-to-back games. If we win Tuesday, win Saturday, albeit we`ll have to wait for other results, we could be fourth and in there and right in the mix. That`s what we`re aiming to do – so let`s hope we do it!” Coton signed off with.
Positive thoughts from Mr Coton – let`s just hope that he and Mick Harford get a fair crack at the whip this time around. The players certainly seem buoyed up by Harford`s appointment – maybe, with time, hard work and a more solid defence (!) the season can be retrieved. Mrs Eternally-Optimistic here would dearly love to believe him!!
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