Football: NATIONWIDE LEAGUE: Francis warns rising Rangers

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The Independent Online
GERRY FRANCIS, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, has warned his side they are not out of trouble yet - despite their fine recent run of results.

Francis won November's First Division manager of the month award after QPR, who host their fellow strugglers Port Vale today, won four and drew one of their last six matches.

Even so, they are still just one point outside the relegation zone and Francis said: "We're still in the bottom four. People were writing us off before and we've turned that round, but a couple of defeats would put us back to square one."

The injured Portsmouth captain, Adrian Whitbread, has urged the club's fans to come to the rescue of the hard-up club.

Pompey are facing a relegation battle as well as a financial crisis, and Whitbread said: "I can understand how frustrated the fans must be, but we need them more than anything now."

Whitbread is one of seven absentees for today's home game with Crewe, but Portsmouth hope to welcome back their 17-goal striker John Aloisi for the visit of the Railwaymen, who are bottom of the table.

Birmingham travel to their promotion rivals Ipswich, who will give a first game to Samassi Abou, signed this week on loan from West Ham as cover for the injured David Johnson.

Barnsley may deliver debuts to two new strikers, Deon Burton and Mike Turner, in the absence of Ashley Ward, Bruce Dyer, Georgi Hristov and their player-manager, John Hendrie, at third-placed Watford.

Burton has joined Barnsley on loan from Derby while Turner has arrived from the Dr Martens League club, Bilston Town. The Nigerian international, Ben Iroha, could make his debut for the Hornets.

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