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Queens Park Rangers 0 v 0 Burton Albion
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 23rd September 2017 Kick-off 15:00
QPR need home comforts to continue v Burton - Preview
Friday, 22nd Sep 2017 18:39 by Clive Whittingham

Amidst a defensive injury crisis and worsening away form, QPR need to continue doing the business at Loftus Road to maintain a promising start to the season.


QPR (3-2-3, WLLWDL, 11th) v Burton Albion (2-2-4, WDLDWL, 19th)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday September 23, 2017 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Cloudy, some sun, pretty warm >>> Loftus Road, London, W12

I noticed that Jamal Campbell-Ryce, somehow still only 34, is playing up at Barnet now. That’s our FA Cup Third Round opponent and scorer of the winning goal settled nice and early this season then.

Campbell-Ryce began his career at Charlton in 2000 and has since made 510 professional appearances for 13 different clubs – three of them in two separate spells. During that time he has scored a fairly unremarkable (for a striker/winger) 45 goals – one every 11 and a bit games. Against QPR though, that average goes out of the window – three wins, two draws and three goals from seven appearances against us. He notched when Leyton Orient staged a cup upset against us in 2002, he was part of the Southend team that beat us 5-0 in 2007, and he scored twice when League One Sheff Utd beat Premier League QPR 3-0 in the FA Cup at Loftus Road under Barry Redchapp.

Some players just seem to go well against certain clubs, and Campbell-Ryce is just one of a clutch on the QPR list. Jon Stead – five goals in four games against for Ipswich, one from two for Bristol City at a time when he couldn’t hit a dead cow’s arse with an enormous shovel. Clinton O’Morrsion, seven goals in 11 appearances against us for Palace.

All of which I mention because Lloyd Dyer is in town tomorrow, and while he doesn’t exactly score very often against QPR (or anybody) he did notch in the Brewers’ 2-1 win here last season and he invariably ends up looking like the black Ryan Giggs whenever he comes up against us. However he’s been playing previously, whatever the circumstance, and whoever the opposition full back is, the one-time QPR loanee (we played him left back, typically) suddenly lets rip whenever he catches sight of our blue and white hoops.

Clubs can turn into bogeys as well – let’s not go into that 33 match winless run at Nottingham Forest just yet, more in a month’s time on that – and there’s a danger that Burton could well become that for QPR. Not enough between the sides to justify a History column just yet, but Rangers and Albion have faced each other four times in recent years – one cup, two league, one friendly – and QPR are yet to win one. In fact, they’re yet to even look like they might win one. The 2-1 scoreline at Loftus Road last year flattered the losing team, and the draw up there was only achieved by one moment of Massimo Luongo quality for the assist on the equaliser – Rangers hadn’t looked like scoring before that and didn’t threaten again afterwards. The cup performance under Redknapp, when Burton were two divisions below us, was abject. The friendly draw not much better.


Rangers could well do without that continuing at Loftus Road tomorrow. It’s been a sound start to the season, with some enterprising and entertaining football played and some very good results attained. I doubt many had us down for 11 points and eleventh place at this stage of the season before it started. Another win tomorrow then regardless of what happens in the other two games to come this week, and it’s been a very good start to the season. But moods can very quickly change. Last season we won three times in August then lost 6-0 to Newcastle at this point and it all fell apart from there. Chris Ramsey had started well, scored a lot of goals, kept hold of his best players, then lost 4-0 at Fulham at this point and likewise. Defeat tomorrow against an opponent many QPR fans, wrongly, think should be a gimme, allied with an injury crisis in defence and two more tough games to follow quickly afterwards, and there will be a different complexion on things.

It depends on your outlook whether QPR having all but one of their central defenders injured at once is bad luck or bad planning – the former for me – but what is certain is that it could very quickly become a situation out of control if teams are able to score against us with the ease Middlesbrough did last week. Sure, £25m worth of striker to do it with and not everybody, least of all Burton, will be throwing that at us, but they were basic goals all the same.

Rangers just have to find ways to keep putting points on the board, keep playing the great football we’ve seen so far this season, keep pressing forwards and scoring goals, keep their heads up and the momentum going while the defence is weakened. We saw last season how quickly a losing run can build when circumstances change ever so slightly – we haven’t won a game away from home since February and four of the next six are on the road.

However tricky Burton are, however much we usually struggle with them, however short we are at the back, tomorrow has to rank as a good opportunity to do that.

Links >>> Defying the odds – Opposition Profile >>> Second miracle – Interview >>> Truly, Madley – Referee >>> Mo Farah’s Platypus – Podcast

We usually show highlights of past meetings between the clubs here, but there are none – highlights that is, not meetings. Instead, here’s what Americans think cricket is.

Saturday

Team News: Right lots to get through… Nedum Onuoha is deaded, Joel Lynch might be back from his hammy next week, James Perch’s leg is still on the wrong way round, Grant Hall is ebing trusted on the grass next week (upright and everything), Steven Caulker is otherwise engaged at his favourite Italian ‘The Flying Pizza’. Jordan Cousins (remember him) is back in training and may make the bench. Massimo Luongo is poorly, and doubtful. Josh Scowen and Connor Washington missed out at Middlesbrough but have been training and should both return. David Wheeler has writers’ cramp.

Burton spent a club record £500,000 to bring the SPL’s top scorer Liam Boyce down from Ross County in the summer but he’s found the climate too warm and quickly ruled himself out for the season. Defender John Brayford was cup tied at Man Utd during the week but returns. Tom Flanagan, Tom Naylor and Hope Akpan all got rare starts at Old Trafford and will hope to hold onto starting slots. Stephen Warnock and Ben Turner also got 45 minutes each. Expect a 3-5-2 set up that recently frustrated a 0-0 out of Norwich at Carrow Road.

Elsewhere: The big debate of the Championship weekend is what exactly we call the Birmingham Bad Knees now old Candle Face has hobbled off into the night, surely to fucking goodness for the last time now. We will, of course, being going to town on that chancer all over again in the opposition profile when the appropriate fixture rolls around, but for now I enjoyed this one from last week…

"Redknapp’s dismissal was announced 50 minutes after the end of his post-match press conference, during which he spoke to the written media for 13 minutes. In that time he made 19 references to his position being “difficult” or “hard”, mentioned injuries 21 times, pointed to individual mistakes by his players over which he had no control 10 times and intimated once that they failed to follow his instructions."

Birmingham left to pick up the pieces of half a squad of players he alienated entirely, and the 15 new players he insisted they sign because the others were all “shit”, as they play away to Gary Rowett’s Derby Sheep this weekend – and I can’t imagine why Rowett would want to push the knife so much further in it pops out the other side there can you?

Will Steve Barnes be following him out of the door soon as well? Natives resteless after another midweek defeat for Big Racist John and the Boys and a tough Saturday evening TV game with the Nottingham Trees this weekend. What with that and the by Steel City derby between Sheffield Owls and Sheffield Red Stripes on Sunday and it’s actually a decent weekend for televised Championship football.

Elsewhere the Champions of Europe at home to the Ipswich Blue Sox is a top six encounter owing to their respective surprise starts while Brentford away at Bolton is a relegation six-pointer for the same reason. Sporting Wolverhampton can continue their good start at home to Barnsley while Tarquin and Rupert welcome their friends from the north as Middlesbrough visit.

Plenty of stodge for those desperately short of something to do with their Saturday afternoon – Borussia Norwich v Bristol City, Preston Knob End v Millwall Scholars, Reading v Allam Snow Leopards and Sunderland the latest stop on the Eighth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour.

And we’re doing it all again in three days’ time.

Referee: Andy Madley is in the middle for this one, his first QPR appointment since a 1-0 home win against Bristol City getting on for a year ago. His brother Robert is on the Premier League list this season. More info here.

Form

QPR: QPR have won four and drawn one of their last five at Loftus Road, scoring two goals in each. They haven’t scored more than two in a game this season, a run that extends back to the 5-1 win against Rotherham here in March. Obviously the problem is the away form where QPR haven’t won since February, and are now three defeats and a draw into this season following the loss at Boro last weekend. Four of QPR’s next six games away from home, though with Bolton and Sunderland among them they’ll be hopeful of changing that run soon surely. Luke Freeman has registered eight assists since signing for QPR in January, more than any other Championship player in that time. Rangers have kept just four clean sheets in 38 games since Ian Holloway returned as manager.

Burton: The Brewers have beaten Birmingham and Fulham at home 2-1 this season for their only two wins of the league season so far. Away from home they lost heavily (4-1 and 5-0) at Hull and Leeds and 2-0 at Middlesbrough before holding Norwich to a 0-0 draw in their last away league match. They’ve failed to score in four of their games so far this season and notched just one goal in three others. They haven’t scored at all in their last three away league games and have allowed 150 shots on their goal this season – a league high.

Prediction: Prediction: The predictions have been worryingly good of late – let’s hope we’re both right today. If you think you can do better you’re in with a chance of winning prizes from the sponsor of this year’s Prediction League, The Art of Football. We’ll be handing out prizes from their QPR Collection at the end of October, January and to the overall winner. Last year’s winner Southend_Rss tells us…

"An unlucky result against Boro, considering our defensive problems - also the controversial 'was the ball out of play' for their winner. The team still gave a great account of themselves in the circumstances, even I thought we wouldn't stand any chance. It just goes to show that we will give any team a game, no matter what our problems, over the course of the season.

“Burton, a game that we should win, the emphasis on 'should'.. A tricky side, who although lost against Man United midweek, still done the business over Rupert and the gang last weekend. Seems like we need to score a few goals in each game right now in order for us to have a chance of winning games, such is the problems with injuries at the back.”

Craig’s Prediction: QPR 2-1 Burton. Scorer – Jamie Mackie

LFW’s Prediction: QPR 3-1 Burton. Scorer – Luke Freeman

The Twitter @loftforwords

Pictures – Action Images

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enfieldargh added 22:10 - Sep 22
3 goals Clive? That birthday bubbly must be going down a treat
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francisbowles added 10:40 - Sep 23
So Brum showed Harry the door last weekend, to avoid the owners embarrassment this weekend, as the one they quickly sacked is around to haunt them.
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TacticalR added 14:57 - Sep 23
Thanks for your preview.

We all want to see a win but it would be foolish to underestimate Burton.
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