|Preston North End v Queens Park Rangers|
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
QPR seek home comforts after latest awayday shambles – Preview
Tuesday, 10th Apr 2018 13:32 by Clive Whittingham
QPR are back at Loftus Road tonight against Sheff Wed, and again on Saturday against Preston – a blessed relief after the horror show at Hull on Saturday.
QPR (13-11-17, WWDLWL, 15th) v Sheff Wed (11-14-16, LDWWWL, 16th)
Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Tuesday April 10, 2018 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Dull >>> Loftus Road, London, W12
From 4-1 winners to 4-0 losers in the space of five days is exactly the sort of complete fuckwittery we’ve come to expect from Queens Park Rangers down the years, and Championship football in general. From a swashbuckling second half against Norwich to that pathetic rubbish at Hull, you’d scarcely believe it was the same team playing if you hadn’t seen it so many times before.
At least Ian Holloway, as far as I know, didn’t trot out the old “that wasn’t my team” line afterwards. Because it absolutely was, just like it always was when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink used to claim “that wasn’t us”. When you’re saying it so often it becomes a catchphrase, you’ve got to start thinking that really it might be us after all. For those of us who’ve followed Rangers away this season, Saturday in Hull was very much what we’ve come to expect.
No goals scored. Naturally. Rangers have failed to score in nine of their 21 away matches this season and have managed just a single goal in seven of the others. The only two occasions they’ve scored more than twice they’ve won both games.
Goals conceded. Again, of course. QPR have kept just a solitary clean sheet on the road this season, in a 0-0 draw at Ipswich over Christmas. Even the measly three wins they’ve managed away from Loftus Road have come despite a goal going in at the other end. In fact, we’ve managed just five clean sheets away from home in nearly two seasons now, and just ten in the three seasons since we were relegated from the Premier League. The first two goals at Hull came from ball being turned over too easily in dangerous areas with the team wide open at the back. You cannot be as easy to score against as we are.
Goals conceded immediately before or after half time. Two of them in this case falling in that period between the 35th and 55th minutes in which we have now shipped 26 goals this season out of 61 in total, including six in first half injury time (35, 36, 37, 38, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 45, 45, 45, 45, 45, 47, 48, 48, 50, 50, 51, 52, 52, 54, 55, 55). It points to a lack of concentration coming into and out of half time, a lack of intensity at a key moment in the game, and a lack of professionalism. The two that Hull added to this growing list were absolute gifts.
A random team selection. Now, in mitigation, we are at the point of the season now where you might try one or two things or give some fringe players a chance to impress – although hopefully not in the self-destructive and counter-productive way we did last season. And there was a sickness bug that went through the squad before the Hull match, most crucially taking out Matt Smith just as he’d played so well against Norwich. But Holloway himself admitted afterwards it was a mistake played Ebere Eze up front by himself and not Idrissa Sylla, against whom Holloway seemed to take almost before he’d walked through the door for his second spell in charge for reasons that aren’t altogether clear. It shouldn’t have taken too much thought beforehand to realise that playing a kid like Eze, who’s still finding his feet at Championship level, up front by himself away from home against a pair of centre halves like Dawson and Hector wasn’t the shrewdest move.
A Joel Lynch muscle injury. Hammy is it Joel? Dubai again I suppose. Have a lovely time. Despite improvements in his performances since Christmas, if we’re left relying on him, Grant Hall and Alex Baptiste next season with Onuoha and Robinson gone we will really struggle.
And of course the weird and wonderful after match comments. Holloway saying he was going to “hammer” Josh Scowen for a bad tackle which led to a melee in which Nedum Onuoha was sent off – really? Hammer? Is that helpful?
Then, for the umpteenth time this season, kicking off about comments made by the home fans from behind the dugout. Now I’ve no doubt managers have to listen to some absolutely vile stuff from the terribly brave tossers who think that sort of behaviour is acceptable – Christ Holloway gets enough over the top stuff from his own fans at Loftus Road – but, still, suck it up a bit eh? We’ve had him moaning now about fans at Brentford, Millwall, Fulham and Hull and it’s only going to exacerbate the problem isn’t it? I know we’ve had our moments with Hull fans down the years but the technical area is a mile away from the stand there, the place is mostly deserted and silent anyway because of the Allam situation, can we really not cope with that? It’s the home fans’ job to try and intimidate the away team isn’t it? And Holloway is no touchline angel himself, particularly with referees – he nearly missed Pawel Wszolek’s goal at Fulham because he was busy berating the fourth official about a non-existent foul on Paul Smyth.
I don’t know. Exasperating stuff. And while it’s easy to say the season is over, the team is “on the beach” or whatever, it’s not over for the 700 people who paid to go to Hull and support the team. They deserve better than that, and after looking like we’d finally cracked how to make it better against Villa and Fulham, we’ve now rapidly regressed against two far, far worse teams in Reading and Hull.
Luckily it’s two home games on the spin now, starting tonight against Sheff Wed. Wins against both them and Preston and Rangers would have a 12-5-5 home record which is almost identical to Villa in fourth and Middlesbrough in sixth, better than Derby in fifth and one win more than Fulham in third. In a way, that would only make the ongoing shambles away from home more frustrating still.
One of Ray Wilkins’ finest QPR goals came in this fixture back in 1991, although David Hirst equalised in injury time and the match finished 1-1. Loftus Road will stand to remember the former QPR player and manager prior to tonight’s game following his death last week.
Team News: Lynchinio’s latest hamstring issue means he’s probably done for the season now and quite possibly on the Emirates Airline booking website as we speak. Nedum Onuoha’s brain fart at the end of Saturday puts him on the naughty step for three matches so we’re back down to Alex Baptiste and Jack Robinson for the next week or so with Grant Hall long term injured. David Wheeler and Jamie Mackie are back in training but someway off a return. Idrissa Sylla will likely start up front if Matt Smith hasn’t recovered from the illness that kept him out of the game at the weekend.
Sheff Wed have had horrendous injury problems this season but may have star man Fernando Forestieri back for the first time since August. Barry Bannan (small man syndrome) is a doubt.
Elsewhere: The final full round of midweek fixtures this season is a bill topped by The Eighth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour travelling to Big Racist John and the Boys. Villa really need a win if they’re to stand any chance of overhauling Cardiff and claiming an automatic promotion spot, with their season’s form falling apart at just the wrong time. We’ll see what mental damage the two missed penalties in injury time against Wolves have done to Warnock’s side.
Tonight could be the night the Millwall Scholars, on a club record unbeaten run, crash into the top six for real. They’ll fancy their chances at lowly Bolton and the teams directly above them have tough games – Middlesbrough at Sheffield Red Stripes and Derby Sheep at Sporting Wolverhampton tomorrow. Tarquin and Rupert in third host Reading.
Down at the bottom, Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion host Allam Tigers and Birmingham travel to Bristol City in this week’s exciting clash between two teams beginning with B. Barnsley are away to Ipswich Blue Sox. Sunderland are at home to Borussia Norwich – perfect midweek fixture that one, well done again Football League.
Midtable sludge other than our own includes Preston Knob End against the Champions of Europe and Nottingham Trees welcoming Brentford, who will almost certainly be one of the best teams they’ve played this season.
Referee: Three QPR games and three QPR defeats for referee Oliver Langford so far this season. Hopefully that changes tonight. Full details on him and his recent stats available here.
QPR: Rangers have won at least two more home matches than anybody else in the league from tenth down, and have an identical home wins record to Derby in fifth and Bristol City in eighth. Nevertheless, the 4-1 win against Norwich here last time out was the first time Rangers have scored more than two in a home game this season. The R’s have won four and drawn one of their last six home matches.
Sheff Wed: Things looked bleak for Sheff Wed when they went on a run of five straight defeats through February and March but they rallied with ten points from 12 prior to Saturday’s win against Fulham and are now safely stuck in the lower midtable area with ourselves, Ipswich and Norwich. Away from home they’ve won their last two at Sunderland (3-1) and Leeds (2-1) and lumbering target man Atdhe Nuhui has suddenly scored five goals in his last four games – as many as he’d managed in 29 appearances all season prior to that. Overall on the road Wednesday have won five, drawn seven and lost eight this season.
Prediction: After leading the Prediction League all season, Elliott42 was finally usurped by JB007007 after Saturday’s loss at Hull with the finishing line in sight. If you’re not in the running you can browse the QPR Collection at competition sponsor Art of Football and purchase something instead. This week our reigning champion Southend_Rsss tells us…
‘I don’t think anyone would have seen that Hull result coming before the game, especially after how we took apart Norwich so easily on Easter Monday. It’s so Championship though, they then go and beat Villa 3-1 and we lose 4-0 at Hull. I just don’t get how inconsistent we have been this season. The away form we all know about and next season we will really need to address the situation as yes we are safe, but without our decent home record this season, we would have been right in the mire.
“Sheffield Wednesday could prove to be an interesting game. They’ve picked up recently after a poor run of form, albeit losing to a Fulham side that I can see in the playoff final this season. Us on the other hand, well it all depends if we turn up for this. Both teams with nothing to play for and minds elsewhere.. I’ve got no idea what to predict for this, as the way results have gone recently in this league, anything can and will happen..
“I’ll go for a Desmond again and hope for a more entertaining game that it should be for two teams with nothing to play for.”
Craig’s Prediction: QPR 2-2 Sheff Wed. Scorer – Mass Luongo
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 2-2 Sheff Wed. Scorer – Idrissa Sylla
The Twitter @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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