This year's been the pits for Pat
By Ben Kosky WHAT a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago Patrick Agyemang couldn t stop scoring – now he s just thankful to be playing again. The QPR striker made an unexpected return to the ranks against Plymouth last weekend after nursing a torn t
By Ben Kosky
WHAT a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago Patrick Agyemang couldn't stop scoring - now he's just thankful to be playing again.
The QPR striker made an unexpected return to the ranks against Plymouth last weekend after nursing a torn thigh muscle for the best part of four months.
But Agyemang admits that, apart from a brief period under former coach Paulo Sousa, the whole season has been something of a write-off for him - an assessment that could arguably be applied to the club as a whole.
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"Even before the injury I was only playing here and there," Agyemang told the Times. "We had different managers coming and going and we were only playing one up front.
"This season has been so stop-start. It was only when Paulo Sousa arrived that I started playing regularly and playing well - the only thing was that I wasn't scoring.
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"Even though I wasn't scoring, the team were and we had a good unbeaten run. I really did feel Paulo liked me as a player and that helps, it gives you confidence even though I wasn't getting the goals I wanted to get."
The 28-year-old - who last season rattled in the best run of goals at Rangers since Rodney Marsh - made just nine appearances under Sousa after picking up the injury in training at the beginning of January.
That meant Agyemang joined some of the treatment room's longest-standing residents - Akos Buzsaky, Rowan Vine and Martin Rowlands - and having some company played a big part in keeping him focused.
"Most of the stuff you do when you're injured is so boring, to be honest," Agyemang recalled. "When you're in there every day, watching other people playing outside, it's very frustrating and you can just lose your head.
"It happened to me a couple of times, but because there were quite a few of us, we tried to help push each other. It helped speaking to someone like Viney, who had been out a lot longer than me.
"He'd be saying 'I know what you mean, it was like that for me too' and you'd realise it wasn't as bad as you thought."
With Vine making his long-awaited comeback at the beginning of April, Agyemang ploughed on with the routine of treadmill work and leg weights for a few more weeks.
And, having completed an hour against Plymouth, he is now keen to feature again in the Rs' final game of the season - back at Deepdale for the first time since leaving Preston in a �350,000 transfer at the start of 2008.
"The muscle's not going to be perfect for another few months, but it's not bothered me when I'm running or striking the ball," added Agyemang.
"That was my fear, really, when it came to striking the ball. When I got injured we had shooting practice in training and the pitch was frozen. All of a sudden it just popped and I knew there was a problem.
"It'd be nice to play against Preston - they'll need to win and I'm not sure what sort of reception I'll get from their fans. But I haven't done anything bad to them so far."
A goal to end the Lilywhites' play-off hopes might ensure his unpopularity with the Preston faithful - but it would probably make Agyemang's season seem a little more worthwhile.