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Conn trick does the business

PUBLISHED: 13:45 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010

Matthew Connolly in action at Portman Road

Matthew Connolly in action at Portman Road

By Ben Kosky STAND-IN left-back Matthew Connolly admitted QPR were fortunate to escape unpunished from Saturday s late penalty debate at Portman Road. Connolly, who switched to left-back to replace the suspended Damien Delaney, performed well throughout,

By Ben Kosky

STAND-IN left-back Matthew Connolly admitted QPR were fortunate to escape unpunished from Saturday's late penalty debate at Portman Road.

Connolly, who switched to left-back to replace the suspended Damien Delaney, performed well throughout, but was involved in controversy five minutes from the end.

TV replays suggested that Velice Sumulikoski's effort crossed the line and then struck Connolly's hand, but the Rangers defender told the Times: "It was obvious the ref couldn't see it, but we deserve a bit of luck.

"Decisions have gone against us in the past and I think we deserve one going in our favour. I was on the line and the ball just hit me on the knee and came up.

"Ipswich are a fantastic side at home, they created quite a few chances in the first half and I think we should have read the ball over the top a bit better.

"But we sorted things out at half-time and deserved a point. A clean sheet's a good result and we're happy with that."

Connolly had struck up a promising central defensive partnership with Fitz Hall in recent weeks but, despite never having played on the left before, was happy to plug the gap at Ipswich.

"The manager spoke to me on Friday at the hotel. He said he believed I could do a good job at left-back and to go out and do my best," said the 20-year-old.

"I've played the last five minutes of a game at left-back, but never started there. It wasn't a problem, though - I played right-back earlier in the season and enjoyed it."

That versatility should help to make the £1m signing from Arsenal an indispensable member of the squad that Rangers are hoping will challenge for a Premier League place next season.

The top six is all but mathematically out of the Rs' reach, but Connolly still stresses the importance of ending the current campaign on a high.

He added: "The plan since I came to the club in January has always been to win as many games as we can and get as high up the table as possible.

"We've left it a little too late to get in the play-offs, but it's important to try and finish in the top half rather than let the season drift out. We want to set standards for next season and get the winning mentality.

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