Gaz supply may run out
By Ben Kosky GARETH Ainsworth admits he will leave QPR to further his playing career if he fails to break into Jim Magilton s team during the coming months. The Rangers veteran, who filled in as caretaker boss twice last season, has not played a competiti
By Ben Kosky
GARETH Ainsworth admits he will leave QPR to further his playing career if he fails to break into Jim Magilton's team during the coming months.
The Rangers veteran, who filled in as caretaker boss twice last season, has not played a competitive first-team game since May 2008.
And League One side Millwall, who are managed by former Rs number two Kenny Jackett, are believed to have expressed their interest in borrowing the 36-year-old winger this season.
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But Ainsworth is determined to prove his worth at Loftus Road after being reduced to the ranks in Magilton's shake-up of the coaching staff.
"It's early days and the idea of being involved in some capacity on the pitch is fantastic," he told the Times. "But if that doesn't happen maybe it will be elsewhere and I'll make that decision when it comes.
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"I want to do my best and see if I can get in the QPR squad. The lads and the fans all just treat me as Gaz and they know what they're going to get - whether I'm player, manager or kit man, I'll be giving 110 per cent and then we'll see what happens.
"But I'll definitely be playing this season. I pride myself on being fit and I hope that'll stand me in good stead.
"I might not have the skills of Hogan Ephraim, Rowan Vine or Akos Buzsaky, but I graft and put tackles in or get crosses over and I've got a few more years left of doing that."
Ainsworth's playing days appeared to be drawing to a close when he was appointed reserve team manager a year ago, subsequently taking charge of the first team for six matches after Iain Dowie was sacked in October.
He filled the role again when Paulo Sousa suffered the same fate at the end of last season - but Ainsworth's managerial ambitions are now on hold and he turned down the opportunity to return to former club Port Vale as assistant to Micky Adams this summer.
And, with the twin milestones of 500 appearances and 100 goals within sight, the winger hopes to emulate two former team-mates who have continued to play into - and beyond - their late thirties.
"I'm very flattered that Micky Adams, who I've got massive respect for, put me in consideration for the next step in my managerial career," Ainsworth added.
"But every manager I've spoken to said 'play as long as you can, do not hang those boots up until you cannot go any further' and that's what I'm going to do.
"I look at people like Paul Furlong, and Graham Alexander at Burnley, and feel I can do that. Age is a preconception for a lot of people - I think you need to watch someone and make your judgment on that.
"Last year was a very confusing situation for everybody and going into management wasn't my ideal choice. In hindsight, maybe it was a bit early for me.
"I've got plenty more running and crossing balls to do until people tell me I can't do it any more.