QPR teenager Furlong well prepared for Cobblers debut

HAPPY MAN - Cobblers boss Chris Wilder has strengthened his squad with the loan signings of Darnell Furlong and Shaun Brisley
HAPPY MAN - Cobblers boss Chris Wilder has strengthened his squad with the loan signings of Darnell Furlong and Shaun Brisley

Loan signing Darnell Furlong is set to make his Football League debut for the Cobblers against Oxford United on Saturday - but the 19-year-old right-back isn’t likely to be overawed by the occasion.

That’s because the youngster has already made three starts in the Barclays Premier League for his parent club Queens Park Rangers.

With the Hoops sliding towards relegation last season, caretaker manager Chris Ramsey turned to the club’s youth, and that included Furlong.

He made his debut in a 2-1 defeat at Hull City before starting against the mighty Arsenal at Loftus Road, and then going to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.

That is what you call being thrown in at the deep end, and Furlong admitted: “It was crazy, and the standard was unbelievable.

“It was a shock, but at the same time I thought I would just go in and try to do my best. Some of it ended up alright, so it was good.”

Furlong has found himself out of the first team picture at Loftus Road this season as Ramsey, who is now permanent manager, plots the club’s quest to win promotion back to the top flight.

He has made only one appearance, in the 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat to Carlisle United, and although he was on the bench for the Rs’ most recent Sky Bet Championship game, a 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town, Ramsey has decided the youngster would be better served getting out and playing.

And Furlong agrees, saying: “When you are in the 21s, and are a youngster trying to break through into the first team, you know that a step is that you have to go out (on loan) and learn, so you are kind of ready for it.

“That has happened, I have had to come, and I am looking forward to it. I can’t wait to start.”

And he added: “I think this is going to be a good experience for me.

“I need to get some games and a bit more playing experience, so I am looking forward to it.”

So what can Cobblers fans expect to see from their new player?

“I am going to do what I normally do, and just try and play my normal game and see how it goes,” said the teenager, who is likely to replace another young player in Josh Lelan in the starting line-up for Saturday’s game with Oxford.

“I am a right-back, and I like to get forward and support up the pitch, but I know my job is a defender.

“Defending comes first, but I do like to get forward and I hope this will be an enjoyable experience.”

Furlong is the son of former Chelsea, QPR, Birmingham and Watford striker Paul, who is now on the coaching staff at the QPR academy.

Furlong Snr was no stranger to the lower leagues himself, starting out at Enfield, and then winding down his career at the likes of Southend United, Barnet and Kettering Town.

So has he offered his son any words of wisdom as he prepares for the rough and tumble of Sky Bet League Two?

“He has given me advice,” said Furlong Jnr. “And that is to just go out and play my normal game, and try to do my best.”