Burnley Q & A
VITAL QPR speak to Claret fan Matthew Briggs ahead of Saturday's clash at Turf Moor.
1) Burnley have had a similar 'playing' season to ours, what were the expectations at the start of the season, have they been met?
Well we finished 13th last year, so the expectations were to finish above that, and consolidate initially. However, we found ourselves in the playoffs at Christmas after a poor start, so the hope was to then push on and possibly take a playoff place. Unfortunately, that has not materialised, and it seems that we just want to finish as high as possible, hopefully in the top 12.
2) Steve Cotterill is considered a decent manager but the club haven't really pushed on in the last season, languishing in mid-table with nothing to play for what do you hope to find out from the final 5 fixtures?
Five wins hopefully. It was important that we ended our dour run that saw us shoot down. It is disappointing that we had such a run, but when you consider the squad size, and the money our manager has previously had to work with, hes done a very very good job. We just need to rack as many points up as possible, and end the season with confidence to take into 06/07.
3) Ade Akinbiyi was sold, have you missed him and was he really worth the money Sheffield Utd bought him for? Why was Gifton Noel-Williams allowed to leave on loan?
Theres not much doubt that we have missed him, but for that kind of money, you have to sell. He was a good player for us, and we would all wish him well at Sheff Utd. I think we have already used some of the money well, in signing a proven goalscorer in Gray and a creative midfielder in Mahon. It shows Steve's pull in the transfer market, that Gray chose us, as there were other clubs on his trail. As far as Gifton goes, I dont think its worked out for him up here. He is a good guy, but he hasnt played too much football, and this loan move could be just what his career needs.
4) You have signed Alan Mahon from Wigan in March, he's a talented Championship player, how's he settled into the club?
He's looked okay in his first few games. He just needs to settle in, which is what the next five matches, and pre-season will do, and we will likely see him flourish next season.
5) Who have been your stand-out stars and unsung heroes of this season?
For me personally, Micah Hyde has done well. He seems to be Mr. Consistent, and always provides us with good play in the middle. Duff has been brilliant at centre half in the last few weeks, and Ade made a good start to the season. Its been a difficult season, as we have had injuries, both short and long term in an already small squad. McCann has done well since he has broken into the team as well, and looks like a star for the future.
6) What has been your best performance of the season, most exciting match and the one to forget?
Best performance and exciting game would have to be at Luton in November. That was our last win on the road. It was a thrilling game, with our keeper sent off in the first half, with Spicer in goal for more than a half. It was nail-biting to say the least, but Ade scored a brilliant hat-trick and we won it. It was at a time when Luton were going really well as well, which made the result even better. One to forget, well that would have to be somewhere between January and March. One game in particular was Preston at home, we lost 2-0. It was a derby match, and we just were not at the races. Preston were hardly great either, and just took their chances. Never like losing, but to lose to Preston makes it worse.
7) Who will you be looking out for from the Rangers side when we visit?
Gallen is always a danger, and is a decent finisher, so he will need to be looked after. Shittu at the back is a strong defender, and it should be a good battle between attack and defence.
8) What's your opinion on Rangers, Gary Waddock and the R's supporters?
It has been a difficult season for you, with the whole manager situation, and the league table, but I guess that you may have taken a safe position mid-table at the beginning of the season. Waddock seems to have done ok since he came in, but the Crewe result was poor, but they seem to be making a fight of it as they always do. The R's supporters are always in good voice when they come up here, and we will likely have a great atmosphere again on Saturday.
9) Who do you expect to join Reading in the Premiership and who do you believe will be relegated?
Everyone seems to be dropping points at the moment. Its as if the pressure has got to them. I think Sheff Utd will make it, which wouldnt be too bad for us with the Ade sale. Colin (warnock) would also be gone, so thats two birds really, though he will moan even more in the Premiership. The playoffs are difficult. I would like to see Watford go up. Boothroyd has done a great job down there, and there were a few eyebrows raised when they appointed him, but he has proved all doubters wrong, and put together a good attacking side. I think it will be between them and Palace in the playoffs. Crewe and Brighton probably have too much to do, so its between Millwall and Sheff Wed, I think the Owls will probably survive that one.
10) Who have been the best and worst teams you've seen play Burnley this season?
Crewe were dire at the Turf this season. We just contained them, and won 3-0 without breaking a sweat. The best team has to be Reading. They won here 3-0 without playing too well. Its great that they have done so well, with a quality manager winning the league with nothing like a big budget.
11) Are there any players likely to leave for bigger and better things this summer and any early rumours of potential signings?
The only player out of contract is Graham Branch, but I would like to see him get a new deal. He has been a good utility player, and deserves it. I wouldnt envisage too many people leaving, maybe Gifton on a permanent deal. I think we will sign players in close season, we will have to if we want to progress, and the club is clearly showing signs of ambition.
12) Your prediction for Saturday?
Seems to have draw written all over it, with both teams being in the same boat. If QPR play like they did against Crewe, then we could win it, but it is a difficult one to call.
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