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Preston North End 1 v 0 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
History repeating - Preview
Friday, 20th Oct 2017 19:27 by Clive Whittingham

QPR head through the wind and rain to bottom-placed Bolton tomorrow afternoon, just grateful the Trotters finally got their first win against somebody else last week.

Bolton (1-2-9, LLLLLW, 24th) v QPR (3-5-4, DLDDLD, 15th)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday October 21, 2017 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Hurricane Hugo or some such bollocks >>> Reebok Stadium, Middle of Nowhere, near the Pizza Hut

If we weren’t QPR, this wouldn’t be a particularly big match. But we are, so it is.

Setting aside the sheer horrifying amount of football still to be played over the many coming months during which recovery from a poor result in one match in October can easily be made, QPR are currently fifteenth in the league. Now that is the sort of league position that, almost universally, people were saying they would “snap your hand off for” over the summer when the sky was falling in and Rangers were definitely going to be relegated and Ian Holloway was an idiot and Les Ferdinand killed my dog and so on. So it is somewhat disappointing that here we are actually sitting fifteenth, and yet all hands still seem firmly attached, there are no salivating hordes beating the door down to grab them as they promised.

Turns out “I’d snap your hand off for fifteenth” is actually quite like “as long as the players are trying their best and trying to play good football I’m happy whatever the result” i.e. an absolute load of tripe. Are the team trying? Patently, obviously, yes. Is the football good? It’s trying to be. We’re not just hoiking it up to Matt Smith are we? Three ball playing midfielders, no destroyer, trying to play the ball on the ground. Are people happy? No they are not.

The R’s had 12 shots on target at the Stadium of Light and - as we often quote, ironically, Kenny Jacket on - ten shots on target in a game is usually a win. Having surrendered to a draw against a team as abysmal as Sunderland were, while they were being harangued by their own fans, the annual cycle of the modern QPR that we outlined last week prior to the game took another inevitable turn.

The first of what’s sure to be several stories saying Ian Holloway will be sacked appeared in the press soon after. Now admittedly by ‘press’ we mean that unmentionable cuntrag whose previous QPR “exclusive” said we were to be docked 15 points by the Football League and miss out on promotion, precisely eight days before the chairman of the Football League handed over the Championship trophy to Adel Taarabt on the pitch at Loftus Road. Even if you can put the politics, the Hillsborough and the fact the thing exists to give Rupert Murdoch more power and money aside, if you’re a QPR fan still funding that standard and style of “journalism” after that then somebody needs to be having a man chat with you.

The idea that QPR could have had Kenny Jackett a year ago for nothing but went for Ian Holloway instead, but are now going to spend money they don’t have sacking Ian Holloway and some more money they don’t have prising Jackett out of Portsmouth would be very QPR indeed. But we assume, because of where it was published, that’s it’s the usual made-up rubbish.

It does, however, fit the timetable we laid out last week perfectly. As did Tony Fernandes’ subsequent Tweeted denial. A year ago, almost to the day, Fernandes was posting photographs of him and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink together after the win at Fulham, talking about being a family, a long-term plan, standing together etc etc. Few weeks later, after a draw at Nottingham Forest, Hasselbaink was gone. Few weeks after this latest public backing for a manager, QPR are due to be away at Nottingham Forest. With us heading up to Bolton on the day a hurricane is forecast, two years after our last game there was turned into a farce by high winds and lashing rain, you can’t help but feel this is all a bit boring and repetitive even by the Championship’s abysmal standards.

Some of the replies to that Fernandes Tweet were, frankly, depressing: fans saying Holloway should indeed be sacked, fans saying the club should be signing strikers, fans pointing out that Charlie Austin only makes the bench at Southampton so should be targeted as a loan signing. Fernandes courts this attention, and has to take it when things aren’t going so well if he wants the adulation when they are, however unhelpful and unfair it clearly is. But really, seriously?

Many of the replies ignored the FFP situation, the club’s financial situation, the mess that previous regimes and the current board caused that we’re now having to work our way out of, the current transfer market and particularly the current transfer market for strikers. And yet to point that out you’re accused of talking down to people.

Honestly if you think Charlie Austin, Premier League striker on goodness only knows how much a week, is an option for QPR, even on loan… If you think there are strikers of Championship standard out there, affordable to QPR in their current situation and in the current transfer market, but QPR are choosing not to buy or loan them, because they don’t want them or don’t think they need them… if you believe any of that you need somebody talking down to you.

Name me one striker, bought for the combined cost of David Wheeler and Bright Osayi-Samuel, who has moved into the Championship in the last 18 months, and scored as many goals as Idrissa Sylla. Jordan Hugill, who scored the same number of goals as Sylla last season, at Preston, was quoted at £8m when Reading enquired this summer.

But as with political discourse these days, to point out known, provable facts that contradict somebody’s point of view is to “scaremonger” or “preach” or “talk down to people” or “talk down” the situation. The Financial Fair Play rules are fact, they’re written on the league’s website. Where QPR are in relation to them is fact, the club’s accounts are readily available online and from Companies’ House. The transfer market for strikers is fact, look at what is being spent. But if you think Holloway is shit, Ferdinand is shit, QPR are shit and you want change and you want strikers and you want this or that it’s acceptable in today’s world to just go “don’t agree with those facts, I’m maintaining my point of view” and angrily campaign for whatever unrealistic utopia you think lies for free just the other side of the fence if only the people in charge weren’t so stupid and cowardly not to see it.

And so we all know what the reaction will be tomorrow night, if QPR don’t beat the worst team in the league, in a game likely to be turned into a bit of a lottery by the weather. And we all know what our board do once that’s happened. And we all know what comes after that, and after that, and after that.

So yeh, Bolton’s a pretty big game.

Links >>> Hill controversy – History >>> Linington in charge – Referee

Highlights from QPR’s 1-0 win on this ground in 2013/14 when Andy Johnson (yes, remember) scored the only goal of the game off a fine Clint Hill assist.


Team News: Bad news, Grant Hall’s knackered knee is knackered again. A set back following a couple of tentative reserve comebacks means he’s back on the long term list – not that he’s ever off it for very long. Did Stannah Stairlifts ever replace Thora Hird as their campaign frontman? Or what’s that company that does the baths with the walk-in door that leaks and sends water dribbling in downstairs through the kitchen light fitting?

Better news, the lesser spotted Jordan Cousins is in the squad having barely featured at all during 2017. Jack Robinson’s run of starts was never likely to last and sure enough, tragically just as he was playing really well, he’s fallen over his own face or some such bollocks and broken his hand which will no doubt fail to heal, turn septic, require amputation and rule him out for the rest of the season. James Perch's knee has been relocated and he’s three weeks away. Nedum Onuoha’s hamstring still looks like the scene of some hideous explosion – six more weeks.

Kazenga Lua Lua played for the U23s on Friday, spending the majority of the game falling over and miscontrolling the ball into touch, so he won’t feature. Nor will Steven Caulker who, fresh from the Thirsty Thursday two-for-one spectacular down at The Cross Keys, got rinsed by some child in Ipswich’s youth team for the first goal in that game.

Bolton have Will Buckley (hamstring) and Aaron Wilbraham (flirtation with the Mormon Church) back in training. However, defender Derik Osede (wants to catch up on The Apprentice) and Stephen Darby (vague excuse about some of his girlfriend’s family visiting) are unavailable.

Elsewhere: The Mercantile Credit Trophy wibbles back into life this weekend with an enticing Old Farm Derby between the Ipswich Blue Sox and Borussia Norwich on Sunday. If Everton v Lyon has whetted your appetite for people tearing into each other for no real reason at all and you can’t wait that long, Sky have very kindly shifted Millwall Scholars v Birmingham Bad Knees to 17.30 on Saturday for you – I bet the Metropolitan Police were absolutely jumping for joy when that request came through.

That leaves a veritable torrent of liquid shit to flow forth at 15.00 as through the teeth of the gale come such classic encounters as Barnsley v Allam Tigers, Brentford v Sunderland, and the Sheffield Red Stripes against Reading.

Sporting Wolverhampton are starting to look the real deal but will have it tougher than they expect if Preston Knob End stay true to form. Middlesbrough are under achieving in eleventh and another notch on the bedpost for the Eighth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour maybe Smooth Jimmy Apollo’s lock of the week at the Riverside.

Following last week’s row about who loved Brian Clough the most (Derby Sheep on this occasion), this week it’s Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion breezing into the City Ground with some salt for the wounds. Derby meanwhile face Sheffield Owls fresh from them becoming the first team to lose in the league to Relegated Bolton this year.

Unless I’m forgetting anything that just leaves Bristol City v Champions of Europe for you to moisten up over.

Edit - I am forgetting one. Big Racist John and the Boys v Tarquin and Rupert. What a time to be alive.

Referee: James Linington from the Isle of Wight gets this local game, his second QPR appointment of the season so far. The last time he refereed Rangers, against Hull, we won 2-1 and the last time he was in charge of Bolton, at Reading two seasons ago, they lost so… You know… Details here.


Bolton: Praise Jeebus they actually broke their duck a week before QPR arrived for the thirteenth match of the season. Until last week this was the most nailed on home victory of the entire Championship season with Bolton drawing two and losing nine of their first 11 games this season having been promoted against a backdrop of financial issues. They went into last week’s game with Sheff Wed on a run of eight straight defeats in all comps during which they scored none (zero, in eight games) and conceded 19. Up rock Sheffield Wednesday and lose 2-1, meaning it mercifully won’t be QPR repeating their many previous acts of getting clubs like Swindon and Rotherham off their long losing runs. Sheff Wed also lost here 3-2 in the League Cup earlier this season. So far at home Leeds (3-2), Derby (2-1), Middlesbrough (3-0), Sheff Utd (1-0) and Brentford (3-0) have all won here this season with the two Wednesday games the only other results.

QPR: QPR’s attack isn’t really good enough – they’re yet to score more than two in a game this season. Their defence is leaky, and injury hit – they’ve kept two clean sheets in 12 league games so far. When you need to score at least twice to win, and you struggle for goals, that often means lots of draws, and sure enough four of the last six games involving Rangers have finished level, including last week’s total domination of an abject Sunderland side that somehow only yielded one point. That was only the second point achieved on the road this season where QPR have lost three and drawn three so far. They have dropped ten points from winning positions away from Loftus Road this season – a division high. There has never been a goalless draw in 30 meetings between these sides.

Prediction: Spot on again last week at Sunderland. 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. Our reigning Prediction League champion Southend Rsss tells us…

“Well well well, LFW strikes right again with another correct result. I went optimistic with mine and really we should have sealed our first away win of the campaign. It just seems to be typical QPR right now that we can't take most our chances. Someone surely soon will take a hiding from us.

“Onto this week… Yes, Bolton got three points last weekend, but I do believe we will get the result here. Surely we'll need too, as after that we have two tough fixtures where we will have to be at our best to pick up points. Every time I think of Bolton away, I remember the ludicrous disallowed Hill goal and consequently every time we go there, I want us to turn them over big. On this occasion I'll go for a cut and paste from the last game…”

Craig’s Prediction: Bolton 1-2 QPR. Scorer – Idrissa Sylla

LFW’s Prediction: Bolton 1-1 QPR. Scorer – Idrissa Sylla

The Twitter @loftforwords

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TacticalR added 22:26 - Oct 20
Thanks for your preview.

I feel somewhat insulated from what's going on as I don't really know what the Twitterati are up to, and there hasn't been that much discontent on this board about Holloway. Perhaps the only debate is that whether our lack of goals is an objective problem (due to limited striking options) or is down to Holloway's managerial decisions. I get the impression that most people know that we will have to soldier on with what we've got.

It's Fernandes' responsibilty not to get carried away by Twitter. We have seen that his votes of confidence don't mean anything, and I honestly wonder if even he believes his own annual fanciful announcement that 'the squad is good enough for promotion'.

timcocking added 02:50 - Oct 21
Well personally, if the team are playing good football and trying their best, i am perfectly happy with that, whatever the result. Assuming we haven't been cheated.

timcocking added 02:53 - Oct 21
And i am very happy so far this season. Enjoying it so far, apart from the constant Brentford and Fulham humiliations, which Ollie seems not to mind.

Churchie added 04:11 - Oct 21
It is what it is,and better than it was. Lets get behind Ollie!

Antti_Heinola added 09:55 - Oct 21
Superb preview at the top Clive, love it.
With that and your post about the journalist who looks at Twitter for stories, it still amazes me that Twitter yields so much power compared to how many people are actually on it, and the even smaller number that are on it and post regularly, and the even smaller number that are on it, post regularly, and are not either 12 or a total moron.

HastingsRanger added 10:01 - Oct 21
Holloway is getting a team playing together to his style (with some nice football thrown in), whilst I was never convinced Hasselbaink had the know how of doing either. Holloway's team will earn their results whilst Hasselbaink's was dependent on other teams having an off day. As you have said, our strikers are not the best (but at least doing their best) and the average defence has its injury issues.

I think you rightly have said that draws are most likely, which of course is not good for the league position. Today, with all this wind surely is the much sought after 0-0. Everyone's favourite.

As for Charlie Austin, why don't we sign Edin Dzeko - he appears on form at the moment.
(check out this commentary ) plus his Champions league experience for 3 years time.


francisbowles added 11:26 - Oct 21
Now that Sylla has stated consecutive games we have to keep him in the side and hope he can keep his goals to minutes ratio going. The key is who to play with him. Maybe Greco-Cox should get a chance.

snanker added 13:24 - Oct 21
Phew decent catharsis that effort Clive.I feel better that you feel better for sure ! Encapsulates the current R's conundrum spot on as ever a sense of foreboding undercurrent about to bite us you know were this match. Not being able to put away that woeful Sunderland side by squandering opportunity after chance fills me with trepidation for this arctic weather trip up north. Should be straightforward 3 pts. but conjuring something bad out of the blue is our specialty......

Wren67 added 14:37 - Oct 21
V good review. Am not filled with gloom and despondency about our present team. We are rebuilding and that takes time. A change of manager now, even if we lose at Bolton, will not promote team confidence.

I hope Holloway takes us to the end of this season and beyond.
I have seen 2 away games this season at Wed. and Sun. we made enough chances in both to win easily. In both games the team played some really good football in spells.

Last week when I saw Robinson missing from the team sheet I was disappointed and worried about our defence but Baptiste and Bidwell had excellent games.

Pleased to see Sylla start but he needs a hardworking partner, Wheeler perhaps.

We will win today urrrrrrs

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