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Cole's on a roll thanks to Royce

PUBLISHED: 17:40 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:43 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky FORMER QPR goalkeeper Jake Cole intends to work his way back up the leagues after finally realising his dream of regular first team football. Cole is now comfortably settled between the posts at Barnet, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of

By Ben Kosky

FORMER QPR goalkeeper Jake Cole intends to work his way back up the leagues after finally realising his dream of regular first team football.

Cole is now comfortably settled between the posts at Barnet, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of the man he regards as the main influence on his career during their days at Loftus Road.

Simon Royce was Rangers' number one when Cole (pictured) made his senior debut and, even at the age of 38, is still first choice keeper for Gillingham, who he helped regain their League One status last season.

"I sat on the bench a lot for Simon Royce, but I also learnt a lot from him," Cole reflected. "I think he's a brilliant pro and he helped me so much, so I have to thank him for that.

"I still keep in contact with him and get advice from him. I played against him last season and he got promoted into League One, which is obviously what I want to do this year.

"That's the aim, to play at a higher standard and I think we've got a good chance. We've got off to a good start and I've had a number of clean sheets, which I'm really happy about.

"The gaffer here, Ian Hendon, has signed some good players and we've got a blend of experience and youth that can definitely get into the play-offs."

Cole spent 13 years at QPR but, with only eight first-team appearances to his name, knew he had to leave Loftus Road long before the club released him last summer.

But the 24-year-old is thoroughly enjoying life at Underhill, where he has been an ever-present as Barnet - whose forward line is led by ex-Rangers star Paul Furlong - nestle among the promotion contenders.

"I had a good time at QPR and a few good performances - and I'd like to thank Dave Rouse, he was a really good coach," said Cole. "But I needed to get games under my belt and progress rather than sitting on the bench.

"Being a number one is a nice feeling - you come in to training and know you'll be playing at the weekend, as long as you perform.

"That's what I've been wanting for a long time and working for and I'm really happy to be out there getting appearances under my belt, being seen and learning the game.

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