Matt's the man, says rival Ramage

By Ben Kosky PETER Ramage has tipped the man who kept him out of the side for two months to be QPR s player of the year. Matthew Connolly s form at right-back left Ramage kicking his heels on the sidelines until defensive absences elsewhere brought the Ge

By Ben Kosky

PETER Ramage has tipped the man who kept him out of the side for two months to be QPR's player of the year.

Matthew Connolly's form at right-back left Ramage kicking his heels on the sidelines until defensive absences elsewhere brought the Geordie back into favour in recent weeks.

Connolly, meanwhile, has been filling in more than adequately at left-back and centre-back, and Ramage admitted: "I think Connors has arguably been our player of the season so far - the last couple of weeks he's played in every position but goalkeeper.


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"Damion [Stewart] and Kaspars [Gorkss] formed a formidable partnership at the back and that was only broken because of injuries.

"I think it's testament to the back four that Radek Cerny's had hardly anything to do in the last couple of weeks, he's been a virtual spectator.

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"We've got one of the best defensive records and that was one of the reasons I couldn't get in the team. It was frustrating on my part, but I could have no argument - the lads were playing well."

The summer signing from Newcastle was virtually an ever-present in the side during Iain Dowie's brief reign and continued to feature in the majority of matches until Rangers' FA Cup third round tie with Burnley.

But, with Connolly switching to right-back to accommodate the Stewart-Gorkss axis, Ramage found himself out of the picture until an injury to Damien Delaney indirectly opened the door at Doncaster earlier this month.

"You try to keep your head right and keep right physically as well," Ramage recalled. "We've got a great bunch of lads who keep everyone's spirits up - there are a few jokers, even the lads that aren't in the team.

"It's been frustrating for Fitz [Hall] as well. Both of us have played in the Premier League, we've come down and wanted to play week in, week out. Now my aim is to stay in the team and help the team to the play-offs."

That target still remains just about feasible following Rangers' back-to-back wins over Swansea and Bristol City, but it would take an incredible extension of that form to haul them from 11th place into the coveted sixth.

Even optimistic observers admit the Rs would have to win at least five of their remaining six games to have a chance, but Ramage insisted: "If we keep winning, we can go up there - there's no reason why not.

"That's what we were aiming for at the start of the season and just because we're a little behind, I don't see why we can't still achieve it. Saturday was a very good win and it was important to carry on the form we showed against Swansea.

"We've just got to concentrate on what we do and if we don't do it this season, I've every confidence we can really put a challenge in next season.

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