HARRY’S STAR PLAYERS WILL LOVE BIG STAGE
DERBY may have battered Brighton with fast-paced, freeflowing football, but there’s no chance of them doing that to QPR at Wembley.
Defensively, the Hoops are on a whole different level. They’re well organised, they’ve got players who’ve performed at the highest level. I think it’ll be far more cat and mouse.
If Derby’s wide players play well – Jamie Ward is as good as anyone in the division on his day – and Chris Martin has a good day, then anything can happen.
They’ve also got a fantastic skipper in centre-back Richard Keogh, who I was desperate to sign during my time at Leeds.
I went to the board, said he’d cost about £800,00 and they told me they’d submit a bid to Coventry. They did – but I found out later they’d offered £200,000, which they were never going to accept.
I knew he’d be a leader and he’s shown that this season as the bedrock of a very open team. He’s been a revelation and he’ll have to be outstanding for Derby to go through.
The biggest question, though, is whether Derby’s enthusiasm will wane. During the match, when things aren’t going well for them, will they be able to change gear?
Because, for me, Derby at their best would beat QPR at their best. But the Rams are a lot more hit and miss.
QPR have rarely been spectacular but Harry Redknapp’s got a level of consistency from his side and I think he’ll be confident that his big players will come good on the big stage.
I know Joey Barton has had his critics and plenty of run-ins with me. But as a player, I never had a problem with Joey.
He’s a great talent, and this season he’s got his head down, he’s shown his desire, his passion and commitment. He’s playing 100 per cent for the team and I think he’ll be a driving force at Wembley.
For QPR, players like Joey and Niko Kranjcar will be pivotal, as will Richard Dunne and Clint Hill. At their age, they won’t be intimidated by playing at Wembley. They’ll thrive on it.
Besides, any club with Charlie Austin on the pitch has got to fancy their chances. For me, QPR have to start favourites.
I’VE enjoyed writing about the Football League this season. competi-tion that It’s a
will always have a special place in my heart think and I
it’s still going from to strength. strength
When you look round crowds and see
of 8,000 attending games in League Two, the and at
full-houses for every play-off game, we must the be
envy of every country in the world. Thanks for reading and
I will hopefully see you next