Cup success can spill over into league, says former QPR star

Former QPR midfielder Gary Waddock believes cup success can bring about an upturn in league fortunes as the Rs prepare to face West Brom on Saturday.

Rangers’ increasingly forlorn battle for Premier League survival is likely to remain uppermost in their minds as Albion – who won 2-1 at Loftus Road on Boxing Day – return to west London in the FA Cup third round.

But Waddock – a member of the QPR side that beat West Brom in the 1982 semi-final – told “When there are problems, the best way of putting them right is by winning games.

“The FA Cup is such a special competition and if you get a run going it can have a knock-on effect to the league because it breeds confidence – players go into games believing they’re going to win.

“For the team I played in, getting to the final was a fantastic achievement and there’s no doubt that it helped us to go on and gain promotion the following season.

“People were always saying the artificial pitch was an advantage, but what they overlooked was that we had to adjust every other week to a grass surface – and we went up with a good away record.

“Both sets of players and staff, at QPR and West Brom, will probably look at how the league game went and make one or two adjustments, maybe set-pieces and so on.

Most Read

“But ultimately it’s about how you perform on the day – what happened last week isn’t going to have much bearing on Saturday’s cup game.”

Waddock, who spent eight seasons at Loftus Road after emerging through the youth set-up and also had a spell as Rangers manager in 2006, retains fond memories of the 1982 semi-final at Highbury.

He recalled: “Even though we were a Second Division team, we felt we had a chance – we were underdogs but we had a group of players that were well-organised.

“The fans we took to Highbury were very noisy and passionate, as always. After Clive Allen scored, the famous clock seemed to go so slowly – I thought it had stopped at one point!

“For most of us, it was the first bit of success we’d had in our careers and the thought of getting into an FA Cup final, where millions would be watching, was incredible.

“Nobody expected us to be there – the pressure was all on West Brom and we felt excitement rather than pressure. That only came after Clive scored and then we realised what a fantastic chance we had.”