Beat around the Bush

By Sandy Lerman SO we finish August undefeated, top of the league, with a goal difference of +9, bucket loads of self-belief and oozing confidence. And what happens next? There s an international break. Now I m as patriotic as the next fan. I want to see

By Sandy Lerman

SO we finish August undefeated, top of the league, with a goal difference of +9, bucket loads of self-belief and oozing confidence.

And what happens next? There's an international break. Now I'm as patriotic as the next fan. I want to see England dominate the football pitches as we used to dominate the seas, (unlike in South Africa this summer!).

But, from a "keep the momentum going" QPR point of view, this current break couldn't have come at a worse time.


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In the past, when we've had a mini-run, propelling us up the league table, and then there's been one of these international breaks - boom! We combust, the run ends, and the descent of the table begins!

At the start of this season there were obscure international friendlies played around the globe. Adel Taarabt flew out to Morocco; Heidar Helguson jetted off to Iceland and Kaspars Gorkss found himself in the Czech Republic.

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Akos Buzsaky would at least have stayed at home as Hungary faced England at Wembley, if he hadn't been injured; his call-up didn't materialise.

And when they came back, inevitably they were tired and not quite up to their best (although Taarabt didn't look affected by his international experience against Sheffield United, did he?).

Players are disrupted by air travel and time differences. They have to adjust to different training routines and formations in a very short space of time. And, of course, there's the problem of injuries. It was while representing Republic of Ireland last season that Martin Rowlands suffered yet another season-changing injury - and he's not fully back from it yet.

I am sure our representatives were proud to play for their respective countries. I know the international managers would argue that such friendlies are vital for preparation. But even Neil Warnock bemoaned the fact that the season was barely five days old when he lost three of his first-teamers.

The sarcasm simply oozed in Warnock's post-Port Vale-debacle interviews. Yes, the team chosen for that game raised many eyebrows. But I was left wondering how much Warnock's hand had been forced by these - quite frankly - meaningless friendlies.

We now say adieu to our internationals, and wish them well, as they join up with their respective countries for Euro 2012. But personally I will be keeping my fingers very tightly crossed that not one of them comes back injured or fatigued, because to me, QPR's season is far more important than anything else!

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