Cup king Coyle shifts focus

CUP king Owen Coyle Owen Coyle has his sights set on a run in the world's premier knockout competition.

Carling Cup semi-finalists Burnley travel to QPR in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, just seven weeks after winning 2-1 in the league at Loftus Road.

Two titanic clashes with Spurs await, but Coyle doesn't see extra cup commitments as a bind, and would love nothing more than to win a place in the hat for the fourth round.

Coyle said: "QPR are probably the same, they would have loved to have been playing a team from another division, whether it was higher or lower, because there is a freshness about it, rather than another Championship side.

"We've been there on a few occasions and we'll go there again, looking to be positive.

"We've enjoyed the Carling Cup, and it would be nice to have a run in the FA Cup as well.

"But it's going to be a difficult game.

"They are a quality side."

The Clarets will be without skipper Steven Caldwell and Stephen Jordan through suspension, with Caldwell also missing the Carling Cup semi-final first leg at White Hart Lane after his second sending-off of the season at Doncaster.

Coyle, meanwhile, is looking forward to locking horns with two-time Champions League winner Paulo Sousa, the new man at the helm at QPR: "Paulo has come in and made an impression.

"He's a very nice man.

"I met him a few months ago at Gleneagles when we were both on a coaching thing.

"He won the Champions League twice, back-to-back, so that shows you what a good player he was, and I'm sure he'll look to transfer that into management.

"It will be tough, but we're looking forward to it.

"Home or away we go and try and win, and that's what we'll look to do."

Indeed, Sousa, a member of Portugal's "Golden Generation" alongside the likes of Rui Costa, Joao Pinto and Paulo Futre, is the only player to win the Champions League in back-to-back seasons, helping Juventus beat Ajax in 1996, before starring for Borussia Dortmund against Juve the following year.

The 38-year-old was appointed as Carlos Queiroz's assistant with the Portugal national side in the summer, before taking over from caretaker Gareth Ainsworth in November.

After taking his seat in the stands at Watford, where the Rs lost 3-0, he has only presided over one defeat in eight games at the helm, taking Rangers up to ninth, three points off the play-off places.

Come tomorrow, the transfer window will reopen, and Coyle is already aware he will have to wheel and deal to bolster his squad - with Bristol City right back Bradley Orr believed to be on his wish list.

Chairman Barry Kilby admits: "Things are tight. Let's see.

"The Carling Cup money has just gone to mitigate our loss really.

"I can't promise anything on that and I'm not going to."

There has been speculation linking Chris McCann and Chris Eagles with Premier League clubs, and while Kilby admits: "I'd never say (we don't have to sell)," the club certainly want to add to their squad, not weaken it.

Burnley have had a reputation as a selling club in the past, but Kilby feels that isn't as clear-cut: "We've been no mugs on the block in transfers I don't think.

"I'd challenge our record in selling players.

"When you buy players, it's your manager's judgement. But if one of your players goes, it's not always your doing, as it would be in business.

"If you've got a player involved, there's an element that's in there that if he's not happy, you have some judgements to make.

"You might say 'we can't sell anybody', you can turn the offer down but sometimes, in this triangle you have – player, buying club, yourselves – it's not just your own decision, and sometimes you have to make a really hard decision with the hand you're dealt in terms of the best thing to do.

"Would we have wanted to get rid of Andy Gray or Kyle Lafferty? No. But you'd have had a player sulking in a corner, so sometimes you have to sell even though, in your own judgement, you sooner wouldn't.

"I'd challenge anyone to look at our record in transfer dealings, and getting top dollar for players as well."

"We have a lot of experience."