The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Joel Lamy

RICHARD DRY­DEN is adamant Alan Smith is still a key part of the Notts County squad,de­spite the vet­eran mid­fielder be­ing heav­ily linked with a move to Ply­mouth.

The Pil­grims have re­port­edly of­fered Smith a deal un­til the end of next sea­son.The 35-year-old was pic­tured with Ply­mouth man­ager Derek Adams in Devon this week, but Mag­pies care­taker boss Dry­den has other ideas.

He said:“Alan is Alan. He comes in and works hard. Peo­ple look up to him as a leader.

“He’s go­ing to be in­volved with us un­til the end of the sea­son, hope­fully. I take it he is still go­ing to be here.”

JIMMY FLOYD Has­sel­baink failed to break his duck as QPR man­ager at the sev­enth at­tempt and lashed his play­ers for ‘not try­ing to score’.

Jamie Ward scored his first goal for For­est past debu­tant goal­keeper Joe Lum­ley thanks to an as­sist from 18-year-old Oliver Burke, the one player to bring a spark to a flat third-round con­test.

The match also marked a first start since Septem­ber 2014 for For­est club cap­tain Chris Co­hen af­ter a third se­ri­ous knee in­jury.

But for Has­sel­baink, de­feat made it a mis­er­able re­turn to For­est – where he was a coach for 18 months – and it meant QPR have still never won at the City Ground de­spite 31 at­tempts.

“The first half we did not look like we were try­ing to score and that’s not us,” said the QPR boss. “The se­cond half, it was like night and day.Their goal­keeper made a good save and we just needed to keep it go­ing.

“We will keep fight­ing and try to put in a 90-minute per­for­mance. That’s our aim now.

“We do have to be­lieve in our­selves, we must feel not feel sorry for our­selves.

“The only way we are go­ing to get that win is work­ing to­gether and stay­ing to­gether and that’s what we’ve seen in the se­cond half.

“We are look­ing at play­ers and yes we do need a lift, but that’s not the big­gest is­sue.We just need a lit­tle bit of luck, and it will come.”

Right wing Burke, who scored his first goal for For­est in his last match against Cardiff, gave an early sig­nal of his in­tent by burst­ing past Clint Hill, and he fol­lowed that up seven min­utes later by lay­ing the ball on a plate for Ward to bun­dle in.

A QPR cor­ner was cleared into the path of Burke who con­trolled the high ball with a de­light­ful first touch be­fore show­ing off his elec­tric speed to burst into the penalty area down the right, from where he sent a low cross into Ward’s path a cou­ple of yards out.

Af­ter a lack­lus­tre first half the match opened af­ter the break, with QPR on the front foot. They forged one open­ing when Jay Em­manuelThomas laid the ball off to sub­sti­tute Tjaronn Ch­ery, who had come on seven min­utes into the se­cond half, who in turn set up Michael Doughty to shoot over.

For­est goal­keeper Dorus De Vries was then called into ac­tion to tip over Gabriele An­gella’s bul­let header, but the match ended on a sour note for the home side as Henri Lans­bury had to be car­ried off af­ter fall­ing awk­wardly. His re­place­ment was left-back Bo­jan Jo­kic, mak­ing his de­but af­ter sign­ing on loan from Vil­lar­real, who helped his new side see out eight min­utes of added time.

For­est man­ager Dougie Freed­man is des­per­ately hop­ing Lans­bury’s an­kle in­jury is not as se­ri­ous as it looked. “It’s a huge set­back,” he said.“If you want to win leagues and get pro­mo­tions you need your best play­ers on the pitch.

“But I’m de­lighted with the win. Our first-half dis­play re­ally showed them how good we are.The se­cond half there was a lit­tle bit of de­fend­ing but we were com­fort­able.”

On the re­turn­ing Co­hen, Freed­man added: “He did al­right. There’s a lot to come.

“He does not quite un­der­stand how I play but he’s im­prov­ing and he’s a won­der­ful foot­ball player.

“You won’t see Chris ev­ery week. I think that’s been a mis­take in the past with him.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BORN WIN­NER: For­est’s Ben Os­born gets the bet­ter of QPR for­ward Jamie Mackey

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