Date:Thursday January 8 2009
Vital QPR outlines Coventry forward Clinton Morrison as the One To Watch this weekend.
Morrison and QPR meet once again in W12, and it is the Irish international who has had the last laugh on numerous occasions, making him a tough prospect for a resurgent Rangers defence.
The Tooting born striker burst onto the scene as a sprightly youngster, scoring a late winner from the bench against Sheffield Wednesday four days before his 19th birthday. He replaced Neil Shipperly in the forward line and it took him only eight minutes to hand the Eagles the win.
The following season Morrison was a shining light for Palace both on and off the field. 13 goals in his first full season, culminated unfortunately for him in one of the R`s greatest days in W12, the 6-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace to keep them in the division.
Morrison won many admirers among Palace fans after agreeing to play for free while the club was in administration. While the following season there was more joy infront of goal as Morrison added to his growing reputation.
Fourteen goals for the fiery forward included the winner at Loftus Road, as he exacted revenge for the prior drubbing. The strike in the 68th minute was enough to beat Gerry Francis` men.
In the R`s relegation season Morrison scored another 14 goals, and another in W12, but this time it was only enough for a draw. It was the equalising goal after Peter Crouch had handed Rangers the lead.
It was the next season that Morrison exploded into life, for both club and country. The 6" forward was selected for the Republic of Ireland due to qualifying through a grandparent. He doubled Eire`s lead over Croatia in a friendly at Lansdowne Road, before Croatia came back to draw in the final minute.
Back to the league and braces against Stockport County, Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford City, Norwich City, Gillingham and Leyton Orient in the League Cup helped propel the growing reputation of a prospering forward.
The prospect`s frosty relationship with Trevor Francis prompted a move to Premier League Birmingham City. The Blues paid £4.25m with Andy Johnson going the other way in a part-exchange deal.
Only six Premier League goals for Morrison followed, which included a brace at Anfield as the Blues drew 2-2 with Liverpool. Another goal for Ireland followed in a 4-2 defeat away at Russia. Four goals in the following season started to make the £4m+ price tag look rather weighty.
After a spell on the sidelines Morrison found himself out the team due to his poor goalscoring ratio in the top flight. However upon his return he linked up well with forward Emile Heskey as the Blues fought for their survival.
Birmingham stayed up in the end, but could ill afford Morrison`s poor goal ratio and managed to recoup £2m from Crystal Palace for the forward. He stated ironically that his affection for the club and his desire to work with Andy Johnson as the reasons behind his return.
He scored 13 goals in 41 appearances on his return to the Eagles, as he fought for his place alongside Johnson with Rangers youth product Dougie Freedman. This included another goal against QPR at Selhurst Park, as he grabbed the opener in the third minute, a match culminating in a 2-1 win.
The following season he was at it again scoring in both games against the R`s. He put Palace in front at Loftus Road with a goal up the Loftus Road end, but the Eagles were on the end of a glorious 4-2 beating. He exacted revenge later that season scoring again in a 3-0 Palace win at Selhurst Park. 12 goals in another excellent season for the Irishman.
He made a personal landmark against Rangers the following season, as he scored his 100th Crystal Palace goal in the draw at Selhurst Park. Rangers dominated proceedings against Neil Warnock`s men but didn`t take their chances. Morrison bagged the 88th minute equaliser after Scott Sinclair had given the R`s the lead. Need I tell you who grabbed the winner in W12 that season? Morrison on target as Palace turned the game on its head to win 2-1.
After playoff heartbreak against Bristol City, Morrison saw his contract out at Selhurst Park with a view to a fresh challenge. QPR and Coventry City vied for his signature, but the Sky Blues won the tussle as he accompanied Chris Coleman`s men on the pre-season tour of Switzerland.
He already has ten goals this season, but stunningly didn`t score against QPR - but made sure he celebrated infront of the away supporters as Elliott Ward`s penalty barely beat Radek Cerny in a 1-0 defeat.
Totting up the totals and he has scored seven times against QPR in 11 appearances, making him the logical and adequate choice for this weeks choice as the one to watch. Here`s to hoping he draws a blank in W12 this weekend.
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