LYNCH’S MOB ON THE UP AT LAST

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Daniel Black­man

WHEN Joel Lynch was un­veiled by Queens Park Rangers man­ager Jimmy Floyd Has­sel­baink in the sum­mer, he joined a team many were tip­ping for pro­mo­tion. It’s funny how things can change in six months. With Ian Hol­loway tak­ing over from Has­sel­baink fol­low­ing a bleak start to the cam­paign, and most QPR fans look­ing war­ily over their shoul­ders at the rel­e­ga­tion zone rather than up at the top six, life is prob­a­bly not what Lynch ex­pected af­ter join­ing from Hud­der­s­field. Iron­i­cally, the Ter­ri­ers – with whom the 29-year-old de­fender faced his fair share of rel­e­ga­tion dog­fights – are now fly­ing, set­tled in the play-off places with just 20 matches to go. As a foot­baller, it’s easy to hide be­hind the old clichés, put on a media-friendly smile and say ev­ery­thing is go­ing swimmingly. But Lynch is in no mood to do that as he re­flects frankly on the sea­son to date for the Rs. “We haven’t done as well as peo­ple pro­jected we would,” ad­mit­ted Lynch. “With the new man­ager com­ing in there have been a lot of changes and we haven’t re­ally got go­ing.

Strug­gled

“There have been a lot of ups and downs with all the changes, but re­cently we’re start­ing to im­prove the way we play.

“We’re a club in tran­si­tion, es­pe­cially on the pitch. We need to keep prov­ing that we are a top Cham­pi­onship side, which is what Queens Park Rangers are

“We need to prove that point, get to that stage be­fore the end of the sea­son and take it into next sea­son.

“At Hud­der­s­field, I was there and there­abouts in rel­e­ga­tion bat­tles. We strug­gled a lot, so I’m used to being in that sit­u­a­tion.

“But here, we’re play­ing in games where we’re still play­ing well. We’re not in a sit­u­a­tion where we’re won­der­ing where the points are go­ing to come from.

“We know we’re able to win games so we def­i­nitely shouldn’t be wor­ried. We need to be pos­i­tive and start look­ing up the league.

“We lost in the FA Cup but, with a cou­ple of good re­sults in the league, we’ll push right up the ta­ble.”

Lynch suf­fered a stop-start be­gin­ning to life at Lof­tus Road as he strug­gled to break into the side un­der Has­sel­baink fol­low­ing an ab­dom­i­nal strain.

Arm­band

He ex­plained: “It was dis­ap­point­ing com­ing to a new team, want­ing to prove a point and set­tle in but get­ting a few in­juries.”

Af­ter Hol­loway was ap­pointed, he won the first game in charge be­fore over­see­ing six con­sec­u­tive de­feats – yet the in­stal­la­tion of their quirky new boss marked a real turn­around for Lynch.

Sud­denly, he was a main­stay of the back four and even found him­self pulling on the skipper’s arm­band just a few months af­ter mov­ing to Lof­tus Road.

Due to an in­jury to club cap­tain Ne­dum On­uoha, Hol­loway named Lynch as skipper for the clashes with Wolves and Ip­swich over the New Year – the R’s go­ing on to win both games.

That was fol­lowed by Thurs­day’s heart­en­ing 1-0 win at Read­ing.

“It was a great hon­our and priv­i­lege com­ing into the dress­ing room, being one of the new lads and being named cap­tain,” Lynch ex­plained.

“I wasn’t re­ally play­ing much un­der Has­sel­baink, but since the new man­ager has come in I’ve played ev­ery game I’ve been avail­able for.

“That gives me be­lief and al­lows me to step on to the pitch and have con­fi­dence in the way I play.

“I was dis­ap­pointed to get in­jured early on, but I got my­self back in con­tention and into the team. I’m still get­ting fit, so I just want to try and stay in the team as long as I can.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

BID: Jor­dan Hugill TOPSY-TURVY: QPR’s Joel Lynch has ex­pe­ri­enced a range of emo­tions SMILES BETTER: New QPR man­ager Ian Hol­loway is lift­ing spir­its

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