Cook: I'm here to stay
PUBLISHED: 13:33 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 24 August 2010
GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
By Ben Kosky LEE Cook is looking to pick up where he left off when he pulls on the blue and white hoops once more against Barnsley this weekend. The fans favourite is finally back at QPR after a year down the road at Fulham – during which his old club tr
By Ben Kosky
LEE Cook is looking to pick up where he left off when he pulls on the blue and white hoops once more against Barnsley this weekend.
The fans' favourite is finally back at QPR after a year down the road at Fulham - during which his old club tried to re-sign him on several occasions.
Now the winger, whose year-long loan is all but certain to become permanent next summer, is set for his third Rangers debut when the new Championship season kicks off on Saturday.
"I'm hoping I can play against Barnsley, even if I blast 75 or 80 minutes," said Cook, who celebrated his 26th birthday by returning to the club he supported as a boy.
"It's a long season and everyone will be getting used to the tempo for the first two or three games anyway. I want to perform consistently as I did in the last season before I left.
"I'm happy to be back - I didn't want to go to any other club but QPR and in my eyes I'm here now for the next three years.
"When I came back with Charlton at the end of last season, my dad and grandad were up in the stand and had tears in their eyes at the reception I got.
"It was emotional hearing 17,000 people chanting your name. I've got a special relationship with the fans and I want to entertain them again this year."
Cook's £2.5m move to Fulham a year ago quickly turned sour - although he made an appearance in their pre-season defeat by Rangers, a botched knee operation scuppered his chances of first-team football.
By the time he regained fitness, Craven Cottage boss Lawrie Sanchez had been sacked and replaced by Roy Hodgson, who decided to send Cook on what proved to be an indifferent loan spell at Charlton.
"It was pretty much a write-off season for me and it was always going to be difficult to go back and try and break into the team," Cook reflected. "He [Hodgson] had got his own players in and I wasn't going to be given a chance. I was getting vibes from the management that I wasn't in their plans.
"I was saying to my agent 'if things don't happen at Fulham, there's only one place I want to go. I don't want to go to any team in this league other than QPR."
Fortunately, new QPR boss Iain Dowie was a confirmed admirer of Cook - who had been highly recommended by his brother Bob, a team-mate of the winger during his days at non-league Aylesbury United.
He failed to persuade Cook to move to Coventry in 2007, but finally got his man last weekend, just before the Rs also secured the loan signing of Real Madrid youngster Daniel Parejo.
"They're two quality acquisitions," declared Dowie. "Cookie will add something different to our game and Dan's the same. What I've seen already on the training ground excites me."
Parejo, 19, has also agreed a one-year loan deal - brokered as a result of QPR chairman Flavio Briatore's friendship with Ramon Calderon, the president of the Spanish giants.
A regular for Real's reserve team Castilla last season, Parejo is a Spanish under-19 international and also scored in last weekend's 2-1 victory over Hamburg in the Emirates Cup.
Should they be promoted to the top flight this season, Rangers will have an option to sign the midfield playmaker on a permanent basis next summer.
And Cook - who consistently stated his desire to represent QPR in the Premier League even at a time when the club were battling to stave off relegation to League One - is confident of realising that ambition in the near future.
He added: "You've got to believe it, otherwise it won't happen. Even before, I used to think it, but now that dream is closer, with the money the owners are pumping in and what they've done to the ground.
"This team is made for the Premier League, they deserve another crack at the big time. Hopefully I'll be a part of it because that'd be the ultimate dream.