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Gaz fire still burning

PUBLISHED: 17:26 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky QPR boss Jim Magilton has refused to call time on Gareth Ainsworth s Loftus Road career despite allowing the veteran winger to join Wycombe on loan. Ainsworth, who is Rangers longest-serving player and filled in twice as caretaker manager la

By Ben Kosky

QPR boss Jim Magilton has refused to call time on Gareth Ainsworth's Loftus Road career despite allowing the veteran winger to join Wycombe on loan.

Ainsworth, who is Rangers' longest-serving player and filled in twice as caretaker manager last season, has seen just half an hour of first-team action over the past 18 months.

But he made an immediate impact after linking up with former Rs boss Gary Waddock at Wycombe, helping the League One side to wins over Millwall and Brentford that lifted them off the bottom of the table.

"The gaffer and John Gorman said they'd like me to go out on loan and play some games as we don't play any of the top teams in the reserves," Ainsworth told the Times.

"But they made it clear that the door's definitely not closed. Jim's said from day one that being in the QPR team is on merit and it'd be great for me to get some games - that might open a door.

"The fact is that I haven't had much first-team football for a while. The squad at QPR is very strong now - it's the strongest I've ever seen - and, after getting over my injury, I've been sat on the bench.

"This is just for one month and after that we'll see what happens - if QPR want me, great and if Wycombe want me, great.

"Waddo rang me, said Wycombe were interested and could I come along - he was a big factor in my decision to go. He knows what I can give and obviously feels it can help Wycombe as well."

Despite his recent lack of games, the 36-year-old - who captained QPR during Waddock's tenure as Loftus Road manager - is within striking distance of two long-held personal targets.

Ainsworth is close to achieving 500 career appearances and 100 goals - and, having appeared to veer towards a coaching role after taking charge of Rangers' reserve side last season, is now focused on extending his playing career.

"Those milestones would be nice, but I'd sacrifice them for a few more years in the game," Ainsworth admitted. "I want to keep playing as long as I can and that's what everyone's been telling me I should do.

"The management thing is on the back burner for now. I'm well pleased with the way things went in my first game, although recovery afterwards is getting a bit tougher!

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