IT’S a glorious morning at Queen’s Park Rangers’ west London training ground and Kevin Doyle looks fit and sharp as the club prepares for a couple of weeks that will define their season.
The Wexford man was signed on loan from Wolves in January by QPR boss Harry Redknapp and after missing a few weeks through injury he’s ready to score the goals that could fire Rangers back into the Premier League.
“It’s an exciting time because we know that it’s a maximum of three games and at the end of it there could be something for everyone here to shout about,” says Doyle.
“I have been in them before, with Reading, and it was a good experience, though we were beaten by Burnley and it was a bit of an anti-climax then. Burnley went and won it and we were out.”
QPR’s squad is brimming with internationals and will be tipped by many to seal their return to the top flight by winning the playoffs this month.
Doyle continued: “I have really enjoyed it here, it’s a different experience for me, totally different. I had never played for a London club before and it’s something I have really enjoyed.
"It was a pity I got injured early on here, that put a dampener on things for me for a while, but I’m back now, up to match fitness and ready to go.
“Hopefully I will have some part to play in the last couple of games of the season now. It’s a very exciting time.”
Doyle’s QPR loan may be his first time playing for a London club, but he was quickly made welcome by fellow Ireland star Richard Dunne.
He added: “It was lovely to come here and know someone straight away. Richard is superb and Brian Murphy is here too [QPR’s reserve goalkeeper]. When you move clubs it’s nice to see friendly faces and the lads have all been brilliant here, to be fair, very welcoming. It was great having Dunney to show me around the place on day one.
“Now I want to kick on and make an impact in the playoffs. The fans here deserve something to shout about at the end of the season.”
Doyle is also hopeful of a recall to the Ireland squad for the May friendlies, at home to Turkey and against Italy at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on May 31.
“If I’m picked it will be great to finish the season back in an Ireland shirt. My aim will be to get on and show what I can do. Being out injured was hard, but I’m fit and ready now.
"I played in the first two Ireland games [under the new management] but missed out against Serbia because of the knee injury. I will use it as a chance to impress.
“Our management team now [Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane] is a big-name partnership and they bring a lot of attention and expectation to the international team, which is a good thing. They are top names in the game, they have been there and they have done it. Hopefully we can all push on towards qualification now for the next Euros.”
Ireland’s group for Euro 2016 sees the Boys in Green face Germany, Poland, Scotland, Georgia and Gibraltar.
Doyle added: “It’s a competitive group, but we’ve a great chance. We haven’t been in a group with Scotland for a long time, so the fans on both sides will love those games. Apart from Gibraltar, all the countries will be thinking to themselves that they can finish in the top two and qualify.
“We’ve no divine right to be at the next Euros, but we are confident in our own ability and we will do everything we can to reach them.”
Doyle plied his trade in the League of Ireland for four years before earning a move to Reading and making a name for himself in English football and the international set-up. He said that reports of Damien Duff moving home and playing in the League of Ireland would be ‘fantastic’ for Irish football if they materialise.
“It would be very good for the league. Lads don’t seem to do it, I mean move home and finish their careers in the LoI. I played there for four years and I learnt so much, it really helped me.
“I don’t know what it would be like to play in now, but if Damien does go home and play I think people would want to go and see him because he’s a fabulous talent. And all the best to him if he does.”