Barton: We’re stronger now

first_img Barton spent the campaign on loan at Marseille as Rangers finished 15 points adrift of safety in 2013 and paid the price for a lack of cohesion on and off the field. Harry Redknapp was unable to rescue the west Londoners after taking over in November that season but his side have made a positive start to their return to the top flight. Rangers’ impressive form at home is in stark contrast to their results on the road where they have lost to Tottenham, Manchester United, Southampton, West Ham, Chelsea, Newcastle and Swansea this season. Redknapp’s side are the only team in England’s top four divisions yet to register a single point away from home and Barton admits it’s a problem that needs addressing. “We have lost seven out of seven on the road but without making excuses, we haven’t been to the easiest places,” Barton said. “We haven’t played teams in and around us. That will be the test for us. We’ve been to some of the tougher places in the league. “I think everyone we’ve played away has been in the top 10 at the time we’ve played them. “We’re very mindful that we’ve got to improve our away form.” Rangers’ awaydays do not get any easier as they travel to Everton and Arsenal before the end of the year either side of home games against West Brom and Crystal Palace. The bottom half of the table remains congested ahead of the busy Christmas calendar with only five points separating QPR in 17th and Aston Villa in 11th. “If you string back-to-back wins together in this league you can propel yourself up the table,” Barton said. “That’s how tight it is. That’s why people tune in. The Premier League is so competitive. “Chelsea’s “Invincibles” all of a sudden go to Newcastle, Newcastle with their eighth-choice goalkeeper or whatever – and all of a sudden he comes on and they go on and beat Chelsea. “There’s not many other leagues where that happens. I’ve just seen on the TV, Real Madrid (have recorded an) 18th straight win. “Arsenal went unbeaten for a year but I can’t see anyone banging 18 wins out on the spin, not in this league, not with how competitive it is. “There’s a different element here, which is why people tune in from all over the globe.” Second-half goals from Leroy Fer and Charlie Austin ensured Rangers took maximum points against Burnley but there was disappointment too as Austin was sent off and will subsequently miss next Monday’s match at Everton. “He’s our top scorer, he’s been the difference for us at various times this season,” Barton added. “To be without him is going to be a massive loss.” QPR midfielder Joey Barton believes this current Rangers side is “poles apart” from the one that finished bottom of the Barclays Premier League two years ago. A 2-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday – their third win in four games at home – saw Rangers climb out of the bottom three for the first time since September. “The performances we have put in at Loftus Road have been exceptional, even in defeat sometimes,” Barton said. “The team spirit and togetherness of the football club is poles apart from that side which went out of the league with a whimper. “We came up and we want to give a good account of ourselves. Slowly but surely we are doing that.” Barton continued: “To look at the table and see yourselves not in the bottom three is always heart-warming. “Hopefully at the end of May that’s the case because that will be job done and goal achieved. There’s a long way to go. This is the 15th game. “After the defeat at Swansea the other day I asked our analyst to pull the table up from the year that QPR went down, the year I was in France. “After 14 games we only had five points and I think it took them 16 games to win a game. So comparatively we’re light years ahead.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Daniels delivers all-around performance for Syracuse in Seton Hall series finale

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 22, 2013 at 1:27 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Standing over the left side of the batter’s box in the bottom of the third inning, Shirley Daniels used the top of her bat to draw a cross in the dirt, the letter “D” in the top-right corner of it. Just two weeks ago, Daniels’ friend died in a car crash. The cross and “D” is a way for her to remember him before each at-bat.Daniels fouled back Seton Hall pitcher Danielle DeStaso’s first offering, then used the second one to honor her friend in an even grander way. Daniels smacked a solo home run that cleared the netting of the outfield wall and landed well behind the fence in right.“I always play for God,” Daniels said. “But today was also in remembrance of him.”After dropping both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, Syracuse (17-24, 5-9 Big East) edged Seton Hall (16-24, 4-10) 4-3 at SU Softball Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Daniels’ speed is what makes her a recognized name throughout the Big East, but she showed Sunday she can do more than just run. She delivered not only with her legs but with her bat and glove, as well, to help the team avoid a weekend sweep.Her routine has been one the Orange can rely on.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDaniels led the game with a walk after an eight-pitch at-bat. She then took head coach Leigh Ross’ sign from across the diamond and readied herself to run. When DeStaso tossed her first offering to Veronica Grant, Daniels flew toward second and slid in way ahead of the throw.Safe and untouched.“Shirley comes everyday and wants to produce for us, and today she did a good job,” Ross said. “To know that she can always take second base and we don’t need to give up an out helps our offense out so much.”She’s attempted 26 steals on the season and has been safe every time. Her steal in the first inning on Sunday added to her Big East-leading total, and helped her pass former SU speedster Stephanie Watts for fourth on the program’s all-time, single-season list.“I didn’t know I had that many steals,” Daniels said of her stolen base mark. “26, really? I guess it’s pretty cool to be leading the conference in something.”After starting the game with a walk and a steal, Daniels displayed sure-handedness in the field and a versatile skill set at the plate.“We need someone to step up, and it’s nice to have her doing it,” Grant said. “We definitely needed a spark and she provided that today.”After Kuwik walked Seton Hall shortstop Brittany Hammer with two outs in the top of the third, DeStaso slowly walked to the plate. DeStaso owned SU on Saturday, grabbing a win in game one of the doubleheader and collecting four RBIs on four hits in the two games, including a home run in each.She took the first offering from Kuwik and drove it deep to right field. Daniels tracked the ball while running backward, but it seemed like it would easily clear the fence. Then, she jumped up and grabbed it out of mid-air, pulling the would-be home run back into the field of play just before DeStaso gave the Pirates a two-run lead.As Daniels used the fence to push herself up, the SU crowd erupted and her teammates waited for her at the first-base line.But there was no time for celebration. She was due up first in the bottom of third and hastily grabbed her bat and helmet so she could time DeStaso’s pitches in the on-deck circle.She put the Orange on the scoreboard with her fourth home run of the season.“That catch that she made was incredible,” Ross said. “And then for her to quickly run in and get focused on hitting was even better. Showed how tough she is.” Commentslast_img read more