QPR can kick-start new era by breaking cup hoodoo – preview
Tuesday, 11th Aug 2015 09:10 by Clive Whittingham
Chris Ramsey and his new look QPR need a win quick with critics mounting already among the support base. Can Rangers shrug off their lousy recent cup record and get it at Yeovil on Tuesday?
Yeovil Town v Queens Park RangersLeague Cup First Round >>> Tuesday August 10, 2015 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Huish Park, Yeovil
I was rather hoping the comparisons with Gary Waddock’s brief reign in charge of QPR may have started to die away slightly by now. Instead Rangers lost 2-0 to Charlton on Saturday, their first opening day defeat at this level since Waddock’s 2-0 setback at Burnley in 2006.
Really, the current situation at QPR is nothing like it was back then. Rangers are newly relegated from the Premier League, bringing parachute payments and television revenue with them while also boasting several playing assets worth millions of pounds who have been or will be moved on. In 2006 QPR didn’t even have 50p for the meter. Contrary to Les Ferdinand’s protestations, relatively speaking, QPR are still quite well off.
They have also signed some good players this summer. Massimo Luongo, Tjaronn Chery, Ben Gladwin and Jamie Mackie have all already impressed. They should have been good enough for a better result at The Valley on Saturday. Waddock, with severe financial limitations and Gianni Paladini doing the deals through his network of agent bum chums, brought in one half decent player – Dexter Blackstock – but also added Armel Tchakounte, Zesh Rehman, Adam Czerkas and others.
But there are more similarities than simply the meek 2-0 losses both suffered in their first matches. Waddock, like Ramsey, had a period of time in charge at the end of the previous season with an inherited team where results were very poor – Ramsey won two and drew two of his last 13 games, Waddock won none of his final 11 in 2005/06.
Both managers were undermined by shambolic pre-seasons. Waddock’s team spent a week in Sorrento, a non-footballing town carved into the side of a cliff in the South West coast of Italy. Every day they would spend three hours in a bus getting to and from a poorly maintained council pitch in a dodgy suburb of Naples just to train. The friendlies they played, against local sides, were on dreadful pitches and quickly became farcical. Ramsey’s side looked to have an altogether more professional line up for their summer but lost games against Chievo, Shakhtar and Al Ittihad due to no-shows blamed on a mysteriously nameless tour operator. Rangers had a better team than Charlton on paper on Saturday but looked hopelessly underdone.
Both suddenly decided on day one to return to senior professionals who’d had little or no action over the summer. Waddock ostracised a group of senior players when he took over, only to lose faith in his sub-standard new arrivals on the eve of the season and call Steve Lomas, Marc Bircham and Ian Evatt back into the fold despite previously telling all of them they had no future at the club. Ramsey could be forgiven for taking a punt on Charlie Austin at Charlton, but to start Karl Henry in midfield when he’d played none of the summer games seemed odd, and harmed the team’s chances of winning the game.
Both have spoken about a more attractive, passing, attacking style of play. Ramsey’s QPR were well on top of Charlton for the first half on Saturday while Waddock’s wasn’t good enough to get on top in a match with the local Scout troop, but both approaches felt a little naïve in a physical, competitive, cut and thrust league like the Championship. Perhaps that need for grit, and a spine, and some experience, is what led Ramsey to pick Henry having used Gladwin and Ale Faurlin there all summer. He has transfer window left to play with, and there will be funds to come in from sales. It’ll be interesting to see who the club adds to the squad to correct its current issues.
Waddock actually won his League Cup First Round game, beating Northampton 3-2 at Loftus Road - a rare feat for a modern day QPR manager. He was, however, sacked after a shambolic 3-2 loss at Port Vale in the next round. The message board knives have long since been drawn for Ramsey and Saturday did nothing to quell the chronic impatience. He’ll do well to stop history continuing to repeat itself.
Or, you know, we could let the appointment made with a long-term vision in mind play out a little, stop making snap decisions, stop being so blood thirsty, stop believing salvation always lies in another manager or another signing…
Links >>> Sturrock charged with arresting slide – opposition profile >>> Dream becoming a nightmare – interview >>> >>> Beating the cup kings on their own slope – history >>> Langford in the middle – referee
Charlie Austin slams in a late penalty to win the last meeting between these two sides on this ground 1-0. It was only Austin’s third goal since joining from Burnley in the summer in his tenth appearance, but it sparked a run of six goals in six games as Rangers made the early running at the top of the Championship. The R’s won the return fixture at Loftus Road 3-0.
TuesdayTeam News: Chris Ramsey is likely to use this game to get some minutes into players who could become increasingly important over the next few weeks pending departures. Expect Seb Polter to start in attack, and Ale Faurlin to get big minutes in midfield. Grant Hall may make his debut at centre half after signing from Tottenham, youngsters Darnell Furlong and Cole Kpekawa may be considered at full back – although both Paul Konchesky and James Perch looked very rusty at Charlton and may benefit from another run out. Samba Diakite may feature having secured day release from his secure unit. Jay Emmanuel Thomas may start, unless he’s got something else on.
Yeovil are waiting to see if Bournemouth will let them field, and therefore cup tie, loan midfielder Harry Cornick. Alex Lacey pulled up with a knock at Exeter on Saturday but that has been diagnosed as cramp and he’s been told he’s a big tart and should just get on with it.
Elsewhere: A wonderful night for the bookies ahead. Half a million of these half-competitive, half pre-season friendly type affairs on the Tuesday night, many featuring teams that will be odds on favourites, attract plenty of accumulator interest, but turn up fielding a whole load of spotty teenagers against stereotypical lower league centre halves who spend their time during the day bending steel girders they find lying about in abandoned factories with their teeth.
Entering into evidence Accrington v Tigers Tigers Rah Rah Rah, The Mad Chicken Farmers at home to Shrewsbury Town, The Abacus at home to Oxford United and Birmingham going to Bristol Rovers. It continues in a similar vein as we read down the list – talk amongst yourselves – Wimbledon at Cardiff, Dagenham at Charlton, Colchester hosting Reading, Notts County at Huddersfield and Stevenage going to Ipswich. Bristol City could do without a trip to Luton (couldn’t we all?) in the midst of a difficult summer following promotion.
And so it continues… Barnet at Millwall, Orient at Franchise FC, Walsall at Forest, Mansfield at Sheff Wed, Newport at Wolves. All played in front of two men and a bored dog.
Gareth Ainsworth has his weathered eye on Rupert and Tarquin and Burton Albion against Bolton Wanderers will be pitched as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink against Neil Lennon by over-worked, under-paid local journalists in both towns. Three games on Wednesday, including the Sheep at Portsmouth, and then Doncaster host the Champions of Europe on Thursday.
Have a toke and pass it round.
Referee: Oliver Langford from the West Midlands, a notoriously lenient referee (famous last words) is the man in the middle for this one. He has experience of QPR’s hideous early round League Cup performances having been in charge for a 2-0 defeat by Rochdale at Loftus Road in 2011. His last Rangers game was the 5-2 victory at home to Nottingham Forest in the promotion season. His full case file, stats and news of appointments elsewhere is available here.
FormYeovil: Yeovil were relegated from League One with four games to spare last season and worked their way through three managers so it stands to reason their form, home and away, was pretty lousy. They won just five of their 23 home matches and lost 11, finishing with nine defeats from their last 13 games. Mind you since then Jack Compton (Hartlepool), Matt Dolan (Bradford), Jordan Gibbons (QPR), Ben Tozer (Northampton), Marc Laird (Tranmere), Shaun Jeffers (Newport), Omar Sowunmi (Ipswich), Ryan Dickson (Crawley), Jamie Burrows (Rangers), Ryan Bird (Cambridge), Wes Fogden (Portsmouth), Alex Lacey (Luton) and Iffy Allen (Barnet) have all come in on free transfers. James Hayter, Adam Morgan, Sam Foley, Nathan Ofuri-Twumasi, Nathan Ralph, James Berrett, Joel Grant, Gareth Stewart, Liam Davis, Craig Eastmond, Alex Smith, Gozie Ugwu, Fergus Bell, Joe Edwards, AJ Leitch-Smith, Sam Hoskins and Keiffer Moore have all left. Mark Beck (Carlisle), Harry Cornick (Bournemouth), Connor Roberts (Swansea) and Stephen Arthurworrey (Fulham) are all in on loan. Quite a change around. So far they’ve lost 3-2 at Exeter in League Two having fought back from two goals down to level the game at 2-2 in the second half. In pre-season they beat Championship new comers Bristol City 1-0, Swansea’s U21s 3-2, Torquay 2-1 and Truro 1-0 but lost 3-0 to Bournemouth.
QPR:QPR’s 2-0 loss at Charlton on Saturday was the first time they’ve lost on the opening day of a Championship season since Gary Waddock’s side were beaten 2-0 at Burnley in 2006. A dozen games played, a dozen games lost and only six goals scored under Harry Redknapp, Rangers went on to win two and draw one of the last seven on the road last season scoring 13 in the process. They did, however, lose the last two road matches of last season by an aggregate score of 11-1. Their form in cup competitions is notorious, and they’ve lost to lower league opposition in the first two rounds of the League Cup in four of the last five seasons (Burton, Swindon, Rochdale, Port Vale).
Betting: Professional odds compiler Owen Goulding tells us…
“QPR travel to Yeovil for what many fans will fear is likely to be another early cup exit. A mediocre performance at best greeted the QPR faithful at The Valley on Saturday, and Yeovil will have visions of a cup upset here.
“With Rangers unlikely to risk Matt Phillips or Charlie Austin for this one, it is likely to resemble more of the side we are going to see in the coming months representing the Hoops. I was very interested in the price of Yeovil at 4/1 initially and in truth, it appears too big. Yeovil have put together an almost entire new team for this season, and started with a high scoring narrow defeat at Exeter. They will offer a decent physical test, with an attacking line up. However, it looks as though Harry Cornick on loan from Bournemouth, may be denied permission to play in this one and that’s a blow for the Glovers after an excellent debut from the young attacking midfielder on Saturday.
“It’s easy to think QPR will roll over as in recent years in every cup competition going, but don’t forget this is a squad made up of players who are more used to performing for lower league sides in cup shocks rather than being on the end of them. It looks a close game on paper and the prices have QPR a best priced 5/6 which does seem a little short. If I was forced to have a bet on the match winner, at the current prices I’d be a backer of Yeovil at 4/1, but I'm hoping that unlike some of our previous recruits, players such as Luongo, Chery, Gladwin and Mackie won’t roll over so easily.
“With two generous defences on offer, and attacking line-ups likely from both sides, it looks like a potential goalfest here. I suggest a small bet on Over 3.5 goals at 13/5.”
Prediction: It’s a brave man who predicts anything other than a humiliating defeat in the early rounds of the cup for QPR, particularly with the team in its current state and changes sure to be made to the starting 11. I’m going to be that brave man today. Yeovil have had a summer every bit as tumultuous as our own with only five players kept on from the previous season after relegation. Their pre-season results are encouraging for them, but they lost at Exeter on day one to three defensively shambolic goals and are bedding in an entirely new back four. Pending Ramsey picking the entire youth team, I think QPR should have just enough. They need a win to calm everybody down and I think they’ll make sure they get it here.
LFW Prediction: Yeovil 1-2 QPR. Scorer – Jamie Mackie.
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