So, we return to league football tomorrow after a fortnight`s absence – and it can`t come quick enough for me! I was relieved that our “Internationals” came back from their respective countries in good working order! I was not surprised that England proved to be a complete waste of space on Wednesday! But, most importantly, I was delighted that the two-week break afforded our injured players valuable time to ensure complete recovery from their respective injuries.
So it was with a great deal of interest that I tuned in to Neil Warnock`s interview with local radio station BBC London Sport today, ahead of another vital game at Loftus Road tomorrow. Whilst the interviewer thought that the International break may have disrupted Rangers, Warnock was more relieved than frustrated by it! “I definitely needed a break. I think I needed a few days switching off. It`s been a long haul so far since pre-season so I was glad to get a few days away,” he admitted.
“I think we were all delighted to get it. To get four, maybe five, players back into the squad is a massive lift for us at this stage,” he added with a huge grin.
Warnock explained that some of those returning may feature tomorrow, but would definitely feature this week – as we face the daunting prospect of travelling to Swansea on Tuesday followed by Bristol City on Friday night (for the Sky cameras). “It`s going to be a hard week but we`ve got these players coming back, which will give us a lift.
“You want the difficult problems in football of who to leave out not who to bring in,” Warnock acknowledged with another smile. He went on: “We haven`t had a full squad since I`ve been here but basically we`re not far away now.” Obviously, Peter Ramage is out for the season, but otherwise, Warnock reassured that “they`re all training hard and some may be involved on Saturday, some definitely next week, so it augurs well.”
Warnock was highly complimentary about Paul Lambert, Norwich`s current manager. He compared Norwich with QPR in that they try to win their games, they are organised and he is anticipating a really good game. He then turned his attention to the round trip to the West country.
“If the last few years are anything to go by at Bristol City, then I`m in for a tough night. Three years on the trot, circumstances have gone against my teams,” warned Warnock. With Swansea playing good football, in Warnock`s opinion, he observed: “I don`t think there`s an easy game. There`s no such thing as a straight forward game. We`ve had some tough games so far this year and I expect every one to be tough.
“It`s going to be tough for the teams we`re playing against as well!” he added. “Being at the top gives you a little bit more confidence. You know you can make a mistake and have one or two bad results and still be able to turn it round. There`s no lee-way when you`re down at the bottom. You have to get results so it`s a different type of pressure,” Warnock explained.
“I`m enjoying it,” he continued. “I think the players are enjoying it. Bring it on!” he implored cheekily.
So, 10 games in and, in Warnock`s opinion, the time when the league starts to take shape. So, he was asked, when does an “excellent start become a genuine push for promotion?”
“You say 10 games, but I think we`ll know in 15 or 16 games. I didn`t think we`d have the points we`ve got, at the start of the season. If we were down where Norwich are now, for example, I`d be more than happy with the start we`d made. So, to get the extra bonus of points is superb for us. The lads have deserved it. But we want to take that on board and push on now and try to get as many as we can on board before the winter sets in,” he concluded.
Throughout the interview, Warnock, wearing his white training t-shirt, sat relaxed and with a big, happy grin on his face. Well, he can grin, can`t he – just look at the table. And I dare you not to grin as well!!
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