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U18 SEMI-FINAL SHOWDOWN

PUBLISHED

10:01 2nd May 2013

by @OfficialQPR

Gallen previews Saturday's trip to Leeds ...

QPR UNDER-18s battle it out for a place in the Professional Development League 2 play-off final when they face Leeds United on Saturday.

Steve Gallen’s youngsters - runners-up in the South division - travel to Yorkshire for a one-off encounter with the winners of the North section.

Rangers booked their play-off berth after a remarkable run of 12 successive wins secured second spot behind Charlton Athletic, who host Huddersfield Town in the second semi-final.

“We’ve been talking about the play-offs for a few weeks now so it’s great that they’re finally here,” Gallen told www.qpr.co.uk.

“We always wanted to extend the season by getting to this position and we are looking forward to it. 

“The boys are really, really up for it and obviously really excited about it.”

Rangers have enjoyed a three-week break since sealing their spot in the top two by signing-off the regular league campaign in style with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Swansea City.

Gallen admits he has been impressed with his side’s preparation, including a useful friendly against Oxford United.

“The lads have been excellent in training, the mentality in the last week has been fantastic,” he added.

“I was delighted with the performance [against Oxford United] and it was a good way to just keep them ticking over ahead of the trip to Leeds.

“We had a few knocks at the end of the season and there was a bit of tiredness so the boys needed a bit of a rest which we’ve given them so they’re in good shape ahead of Saturday.”

Saturday’s showdown marks the R’s second knockout bout this term after Norwich City – who have since reached the final – edged out Rangers in the FA Youth Cup in a tightly-fought contest at Carrow Road.

Despite defeat, Gallen insists Rangers can hold their heads high and is confident his young side's recent history of performing under pressure will stand them in good stead come Saturday.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” he said. “We were in this situation against Norwich. They’ve made the final now so it was certainly no embarrassment for us to lose narrowly to them. 

“But we’re in a much better place now and I’m really excited and looking forward to Leeds.

“In the last two years we’ve also gone into the last game or two knowing we had to win the game to win the league. It feels in some ways like that again on Saturday; win this and one more and we’ve won the league, that’s how we’re approaching it. 

“It’s a one-off, winner-takes-all so we have to go there and win. It certainly should make for a really exciting game.”

Saturday’s semi-final is taking place at Leeds United’s training ground at Thorp Arch, kick-off 11am.

Follow the action via the R’s official Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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