One To Watch - DJ Campbell
Self-professed QPR fan DJ Campbell is the one to watch tomorrow as the R`s travel to in form Blackpool.
Campbell started out as a promising youngster at Aston Villa, as he progressed well through the ranks at the Premier League club.
However the spell culminated in disappointment as he was not offered a professional deal at the end of his youth contract. Campbell would have to find his feet again in non-league football and Chesham United was his destination.
A brief spell with Buckinghamshire outfit saw him net 16 goals in 29 appearances, arousing the interest of Conference side Stevenage Borough. However after a couple of years at Broadhall Way Campbell found the going tough, with first team football hard to come by.
He was loaned out to Isthmian Premier League side Billericay Town, where he performed admirably - but eventually he made the permanent switch to a side in the league below, the ambitious Yeading.
The Isthmian League Division One side at last got the best out of DJ Campbell, and it was here that his meteoric rise through the Football League began. An outstanding record with the side based in nearby Hillingdon saw him bag 65 goals in 85 appearances, helping them to back to back promotions and titles.
He plied his trade at Loftus Road for the first time in 2005 as his Yeading side played against Newcastle United in W12. Yeading`s home, The Warren, was deemed unsafe for the level of support the game would attract - this was proved correct as 10,824 showed up for the FA Cup clash.
Brentford boss Martin Allen was a keen admirer of the blossoming forward and gave him a one-year contract, paying Yeading £5k for his services. This looked a snip as the Bees benefited greatly from Campbell`s goals.
Allen was having no speak of the abbreviation "DJ" instead referring to the forward by his Christian name, "Dudley". Whatever you called him his signature was paying dividends as he scored nine goals in 23 appearances for Brenford, this included an excellent goal in the FA Cup against Premier League Sunderland at Griffin Park.
Sunderland`s rivals to stay in the Premier League, Birmingham City, then pounced for the signature of the striker, paying the princely sum of £500,000 for the forward who was out of contract at the end of the campaign. Martin Allen had made Brentford an excellent profit with Campbell moving on to ply his trade in the Premier League.
Campbell couldn`t help the Blues keep their top flight status, as they were relegated without him notching a single goal. The following campaign he had his first goal against Colchester United, and despite being kept out by more experienced strikers his application and work-rate impressed boss Steve Bruce who included him in the majority of games thereafter.
DJ was on his way back to the Premier League as the Blues finished runners up to eventual winners Sunderland, who were resurgent under new boss Roy Keane.
Leicester City put a stop to Campbell playing in the Premier League once again, as then boss Martin Allen signed the forward for a massive £1,600,000. A fee which former QPR boss Ian Holloway described as "absolute maddness" - what irony as Holloway was to take charge of the struggling Foxes, making himself plenty of enemies in the south-west.
With Martin Allen given the chop, Gary Megson followed suit soon after opting to join Premier League Bolton Wanderers with Leicester fans against the former Nottingham Forest boss` appointment. This gave the aforementioned Holloway the chance to save the Foxes - which he could not do. As a result Campbell was in and out the side, without getting a regular place in the first team setup.
Leicester`s relegation to League One prompted the sacking of Holloway and the installation of Nigel Pearson as boss. Pearson has since sent the livewire forward on loan to Championship side Blackpool as they look to emulate the success of Liam Dickinson`s loan spell and bolster their fire power in a bid to secure their Championship status.
So far Campbell has started in positive fashion, scoring two goals from two starts, and he will be looking to add to this against his beloved Queens Park Rangers as the sides meet tomorrow night.
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