Writer: Flying Eagle
Date:Thursday April 8 2010
In the first of what will hopefully be a regular feature, Vital Palace previews this Saturday's visit of Queens Park Rangers by chatting to Vital QPR editor Boxer.
What did you make of the appointment of former Palace boss Neil Warnock?
'I don't think it's a secret that the vast majority of Queens Park Rangers supporters wanted Warnock and was delighted that he opted to join the R's. I am no different in that respect, it is the manager that we all craved and we know now that we are on the right path.
'A lot has been made and some ill-informed media comment has asked why he would join a club like QPR - but it's clear to see from his comments alone that it is a very different club under the guidance of Mr Saksena and Mr Bhatia.
'I think there is a genuine air of compassion regarding the way he departed Palace, and it is clear from his comments that it was a decision made with a heavy heart owing to what he described a needless decision to go into administration.
'Warnock is, as you well know, a manager that has his club at heart first and foremost and in my opinion his appointment only spells positive things for the future of Rangers. We're going in the right direction and next season will be a positive one.'
How important is Saturday's game in terms of how the bottom three will shape up come the end of the season?
'I don't think I can describe how massive this is in every respect this weekend if only to stop the rot and pick up a positive result. A London derby is keenly-contested at the best of times, but this one will have that extra bit of spice.
'Warnock returning to Selhurst Park, Paul Hart facing the club he walked out on after a few weeks - no animosity on our part by the way - and a relegation six-pointer thrown into the mix, making this a very special game to attend.
'The R's manager has played it down already but deep down I'm sure he knows what it'll mean to the fans given our current form, our position in the table and the plight of his former club Palace.'
Without a win in seven league games now, including a 4-0 thrashing at Leicester last time out - does that put extra emphasis on QPR to win?
'It certainly means it's a game we cannot afford to lose and given not only the defeat but the manner of defeat at Leicester there is extra incentive to go out and put things right against Palace this weekend.
'We haven't won in seven games since the victory over Plymouth Argyle, and that is something that isn't ideal when you consider the precarious position of the club and beating a relegation rival would be the kick-start we require.
'The major problems have been the simplicities of football - defending and finishing - we're creating chances and not finishing them, while leaking nonsense goals at the other end in what Warnock cites as a lack of physical presence.
'The positive to take from these games however is that Warnock believes that we were capable of winning every one and still has the confidence in the present side to turn it around and clamber away from the drop zone.'
You currently sit 18th, three points above the drop zone and with three of your remaining five games at home, do you think you'll stay up?
'Personally, yes. Relegation I fear would have been a formality under Mick Harford, which is sad in all honesty because I think he's a top bloke and would have liked nothing more than for him to be a success at Rangers.
'Now we have a manager like Neil Warnock and despite our recent mediocre form we haven't had a boss of this calibre in years, and I have full faith that he can turn it around and accrue the required points.'
Finally, who do you think will finish in the bottom three?
'Peterborough evidently will go down, but I do think they've made a shrewd appointment in Gary Johnson - perhaps not 'shaking the world of football' as Barry Fry rather laughably described, but nevertheless a good one.
'At the start of the season I said Watford and while understandably my opinion has wavered a tad they are now having a wobble at the wrong time, and with little money to fund their progress I can't look beyond them for the drop - sorry 'Orns!
'Finally, I think, as I have for a while now, Crystal Palace will stay up. You've got the quality, the desire and the passion for the game and you'll probably do it in spite of Brendan Guilfoyle who in my opinion hasn't got the ability to run a football club - ask Luton fans.
'It will be Sheffield Wednesday I think. They have an unenviable run-in and losing at home to Bristol City will have hit their survival chances hard. Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, Cardiff and you guys - all have something to play for and I can't look beyond the Owls.'
Date:Thursday April 8 2010
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