Step on the Gaz
PUBLISHED: 13:44 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 24 August 2010
PRE-SEASON S been very tough, but it seems to have flown by and now I can t wait for our first league game. There s a real buzz around Loftus Road and the lads are really going into the new season with optimism. Barnsley are a team we finished above last
PRE-SEASON'S been very tough, but it
seems to have flown by and now I can't
wait for our first league game.
There's a real buzz around Loftus Road
and the lads are really going into the new
season with optimism. Barnsley are a team
we finished above last year and, at home,
this is a great opportunity to kick off with
Last season this division was incredibly
tight all the way through and I can't see it
being quite as close this time.
As always, you can't write off the three
teams who came down - it makes a big
difference when you've got that parachute
money from the Premier League - so I'd
imagine Reading, Birmingham and Derby
will all be there or thereabouts.
This time last year, not too many people
were tipping Stoke or Hull for promotion,
so there might be a few outsiders again.
Cardiff seem as if they're going for it this
year and Nottingham Forest, even though
they've just come up, are showing their
intentions to recreate the glory days.
Hopefully QPR will be up at the other
end of the table compared with the start of
last season and pushing for promotion.
We've got a number of players capable
of playing in the Premier League - and
quite a few who have - but I think one of
our most welcome additions this summer
is a player who didn't have that great a
time in the top division.
What Lee Cook's done for QPR in the
past is well-documented - he creates goals
out of nothing and I think his assists for us
a couple of seasons ago were unmatched in
Because of his injury problems last
year, Cookie hasn't played a run of games
for quite a while, but I'm pleased to say he
looks very sharp in training.
He always feels at home when he's at
Loftus Road. I'm sure we'll get the best
out of Cookie again and the Rangers fans
must be licking their lips at the prospect of
seeing him back in a blue and white shirt.
Last time he was a star in a team that
survived in the Championship - now we
want him to be a star among stars and the
aim is for the whole team to be shining this
If I'm called on to play, the gaffer knows
what he's going to get from me, but I've
got a massive new challenge anyway in my
role as player-coach and I'm enjoying
every day of it.
I know a lot of the lads and of course I
want to stay involved on the playing side,
but the gaffer's gradually weaning me on
to coaching and it's a pleasure to learn
He understands the transition can be
difficult - he was a player here himself -
and I must admit I was a bit apprehensive
when I took charge of the reserves for the
first time at Windsor & Eton recently.
But I hope the younger lads can look up
to me as an older pro. Everything seemed
to come naturally in the end and, while the
gaffer wasn't looking over my shoulder as
such, he did give me a few pointers at the
end of the game.
I've also been to do a bit of scouting on
Swindon, our Carling Cup opponents next
Tuesday, and I can see they'll be hard to
We'll have to be on our mettle, but the
good thing is that our squad's now strong
enough that, if the gaffer makes changes,
it'll still be a QPR first team.
Compare that with last season, when we
had a lot of lads who hadn't been involved
in the first team playing against Leyton
Orient, and you can see how things have
changed in a short space of time.
Get right behind the lads on Saturday
and let's make this a season to remember!