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Ince On Phillips Return

13 December 2013

The manager speaks ahead of Matt Phillips' return to Bloomfield Road

A familiar face returns to Bloomfield Road this weekend as Pool welcome promotion-chasing QPR looking for a return to winning ways after successive defeats.

After a three-year spell with The Seasiders Matt Phillips opted to move on this summer to join Harry Redknapp's QPR revolution. After recapturing his form under Paul Ince towards the end of last season, in the latter's words it was a body blow when the winger moved down to London in August.

"Matty's a great kid who was a pleasure to work with. He was always wanting to learn and done extra training to try and better himself," said Ince.

"When I first came here last year Matty was a bit down in the dumps. So it was a case of getting his confidence back, but there was a lot of work behind-the-scenes to get him back to the level he was at previously. 

"You could see towards the end of the season that he was getting better and better. When he came back in pre-season he looked like an absolute machine and looked better than I'd ever seen him, so it was a body blow losing him to QPR.

"Last year we had two outlets through Thomas and Matty, but now we obviously only have one so that has affected our creativity in that respect. Now whoever we play they double up on Thomas so it's harder for him and harder for us as a result."

After successive defeats on the road Pool will look for a response this weekend and with opponents Rangers without a win in their last five away games, there could be an opportunity for Pool to seize on.

"We've got some tough games coming up and with it being the Christmas period it's obviously going to be even tougher as any manager will tell you.

"We're playing the top two teams over the next few games so it's going to be difficult. All you can hope for over the Christmas period is that you have a full squad to choose from, but we haven't got that as we have a number of players out injured.

"But it is what it is and after the result at Derby it's great to have such a big game at home and it's one we're relishing."

Despite their indifferent away form QPR remain in the automatic promotion places with goal difference the only thing separating them and Burnley at the top of the Championship, but this isn't something that comes as a surprise to Ince.

"When you've got the players they've got and the budget they have, it should be expected that they will be right up the top of the league.

"They've got a plethora of proven Premier League players in their squad but we don't fear them nor do we fear anyone else in the league. We know we're a match for anyone if we play to the top of our game," he added.

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