Mikele won't Rowl over
PUBLISHED: 12:55 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 24 August 2010
GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
By Ben Kosky MIKELE Leigertwood has warned skipper Martin Rowlands he cannot expect to walk back into the QPR side as soon as he returns from suspension. With Rowlands serving a three-match ban held over from last season, Leigertwood was given the nod to
By Ben Kosky
MIKELE Leigertwood has warned skipper Martin Rowlands he cannot expect to walk back into the QPR side as soon as he returns from suspension.
With Rowlands serving a three-match ban held over from last season, Leigertwood was given the nod to partner Gavin Mahon in midfield against Barnsley and kept his place for the Carling Cup tie at Swindon.
But, with Rowlands available for next week's home clash with Doncaster Rovers and Akos Buzsaky around a fortnight away from returning, the Rs will soon have 11 players contesting the four midfield slots.
"Rowly's the club captain, so you'd think he'd be in with a shout - but I want to play and Gav wants to play as much as we can," Leigertwood told the Times.
"People are probably saying we're just keeping the shirt warm, but we don't look at it like that and no-one in their right mind would give it up easily.
"Last year the team almost picked itself but now, with the quality of competition we've got, you've got to perform well to keep your place and no-one's shied away from that.
"It's up to all of us to do the business on the pitch and, if something's going to change, it'll be because it's beneficial to the team."
Whatever combinations Iain Dowie might select for the Doncaster game, Leigertwood is hopeful of retaining his place for this weekend's visit to his former club Sheffield United.
The combative midfielder left Bramall Lane in an £800,000 move just under a year ago, having represented the Blades 19 times during their recent season in the Premier League.
Suspension ruled him out of this fixture last season - when the Rs were beaten 2-1 despite taking a first-half lead through Patrick Agyemang.
The Yorkshire side finished the season strongly, narrowly missing out on the play-offs, and Leigertwood expects Saturday's game to be a good test of Rangers' own promotion credentials.
"I was disappointed not to be playing last time, but hopefully I'll be selected for this one," said Leigertwood.
"I enjoyed my time living in Sheffield and had a decent season, but there was a change of manager and he wasn't too keen on me.
"Sheffield United have good players - they did last year and it's a shame they didn't do what was expected of them, but this time I think they'll give it more of a go.
"It's going to be a difficult game but if we're looking for promotion ourselves we've got to be beating teams like Sheffield United."
Rangers have tended to find that task difficult in recent years, especially at Bramall Lane, where they have triumphed just once in their last nine visits.
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