Vital QPR has singled out Plymouth loanee Paul Gallagher as the One to Watch at Loftus Road this weekend.
The 24 year old forward from Glasgow is currently on loan at Home Park from Blackburn Rovers, a place where he has failed to make an impact on the first team set-up after bursting onto the scene in 2002 as a sprightly 18 year old.
Paul was plucked from local schoolboy football in Scotland to play in Blackburn Rovers` academy, and in March 2003 he made his debut in an excellent home win over title hopefuls Arsenal, coming on for former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke.
The following season Gallagher was given far better scope for appearances by boss Graham Souness, and it wasn`t long before his first goal came. St Andrews was the destination as Rovers demolished Birmingham City 4-0, with the teenager rounding off the scoring two minutes from time.
Further goals against Newcastle and Chelsea propelled the youngster into the Scotland squad for his one and only appearance to date. It wasn`t all happy memories however as the Scots were taken to pieces by Wales in a 4-0 defeat.
Three goals in three games for Gallagher at the start of the 2004/05 season against Bournemouth in the League Cup, then Birmingham City and Fulham in the Premier League, promised much for the youngster. Indeed he coasted past now R`s defender Zesh Rehman who was playing for Fulham at the time.
But that was as good as it got for the youngster being reduced to bit part appearances for the remainder of the campaign.
Gallagher went out on loan to Stoke City for the 2005/06 season to get some games under his belt and he certainly got his wish making 40 appearances for the Potters, scoring 12 goals from a wide right berth, including a brace against Luton Town. It had been rumoured that he turned down QPR to go to the Potteries.
He met the R`s for the first time in March 2006 as Stoke City beat Rangers 2-1 in W12 with Rangers one up and Gareth Ainsworth missing a spot kick. He got back to Blackburn in time to play in their 2-0 win over Manchester City.
In 2006/07 Gallagher stayed at Blackburn and made a contribution to their UEFA Cup effort appearing against Salzburg, Basel and Nancy, helping Blackburn to three wins and a draw. In 18 domestic appearances, the forward scored twice against Manchester City and Everton.
Last season the 6″1 forward divided his loyalties between Preston North End and Stoke City. He made 19 appearances for the Lilywhites in the first part of the season scoring against Sheffield Wednesday.
However when Preston met Mick Harford`s QPR at Deepdale, Mr Kettle said absolutely no penalty, then saw his linesman flagging the duly pointed to the spot, how`s about that for authoritative refereeing!
Gallagher stepped up against Lee Camp, and the R`s stopper saved his spot kick to the delight of the travelling few.
In the new year Paul made 8 appearances for Stoke City, helping inspire the Potters to promotion, getting the last laugh on QPR, after seeing his side run out comfortable 3-0 winners at the Britannia Stadium
There was rumours that Stoke were lining him up permanently, but they proved unfounded as the perennial loanee was shipped out once more to Plymouth Argyle where he currently resides. He has made 37 appearances for the Green Army scoring 13 goals.
green giant 12: “Gally is clearly a Premiership striker now doubt about that, he’s got everything for me, got very good feet he’s quick has a eye for goal, always gives 110% and wants to score goals, we are benefiting greatly from him, hope we can sign him but might cost 1million plus..!”
plimuff: “His best position is playing just off the front striker where he can drop deep and get hold of the ball and bring others into play. He’s also been used on the left wing where he cuts inside but Gallagher admits that playing in the hole is his best position.
“At the moment he is the only player likely to score, so mark him well and we will struggle.”