|Blackpool 2 v 0 Queens Park Rangers|
Tuesday, 25th September 2018 Kick-off 19:45
In search of excitement by the sea - Preview
Tuesday, 25th Sep 2018 15:11 by Clive Whittingham
QPR can move into the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time since 2008 tonight, if they can win at League One side Blackpool.
Blackpool (3-5-1, WDDWWD, 8th) v QPR (3-1-5, WWDWWL, 16th)
Zenith Data Systems Challenge Trophy >>> Tuesday September 25, 2018 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Overcast, damp >>> Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
Rarely has a match preview had more appropriate headline than our ‘demon hope’ effort for Norwich at the weekend. Just as you think we’ve got it, just as you think we might be onto something, just as you think the corner has been turned, just when you dare to allow yourself to dream of one day moving north of sixteenth in the league again, they do that to you. Not only lose, but absolutely bore you to death doing it.
Back in the days when my job/life meant long hours spent trekking up and down the east side of this country on motorways, it used to do my head in listen to Alan Green describe one football match after another as “boring”, “turgid”, “wretched” and “awful”. There I was at the very bottom of the career ladder, consuming so much petrol each week that I was actually operating at a financial loss just by going to work every day, abjectly miserable and regretting my life choices. And here was a man paid handsomely out of the license fee to watch football matches, moaning about how bored he was.
Now a bit older and wiser, and no longer dreaming of doing his job myself one day, I often see where he’s coming from. Two games already this season, Birmingham and Norwich, have been stupefying dull.
Norwich was particularly soul destroying. You could perhaps forgive a safety first approach from a team low on confidence at Birmingham, but we’ve stuck ten points on the board in double quick time and played brilliantly against Millwall on Wednesday. You’ve got the players confident, Nahki Wells even talking about a surprise promotion push, and then you play like that. We shouldn’t be surprised, but still after all these years it was bitterly, bitterly disappointing.
One of a number of reasons why tonight represents a massive opportunity for this club. Not a gimme by any stretch of the imagination, a tough fixture against a club unbeaten in ten games with the best defensive record in the division below, played in a uniquely odd atmosphere and no doubt with a raft of changes to our first team. But we haven’t been in the fourth round of this competition since 2008 and we have a game here against League One opposition to make it happen. Look round Loftus Road at the moment, at the empty seats, and tell me it’s not a place crying out for some sort of excitement, some sort of big home game under the lights, some new memories so we’re not forced to constantly look wistfully back to the 1980s and 90s. Imagine what a shot in the arm getting, and beating, a sizeable Premier League club at home would be for us in a season that’s already stretching out far ahead of us in bland beige.
The 11 changes, and apparent ambivalence about whether we won the game or not, against Bristol Rovers was perhaps forgivable when it looked like our league season was falling apart. But we’ve recovered that situation well now and for me this game tonight is the priority this week. Football is sport and sport for spectators is supposed to be entertaining, not the grind its becoming where so many clubs seem to exist purely to reach the safety mark each season, and happily destroy the last half an hour of their games with gamesmanship and time wasting to get there.
Really go for it tonight Rangers, please. We – the club and its supporters – need this.
Geoff Cameron facts #4 – Geoff started his senior career at the Rhode Island Stingrays. Geoff befriended the stingray that the club was named after, and they correspond via letter to this day.
Team News: QPR made 11 changes to their starting 11 for the first time since the war years when they played Bristol Rovers in the last round, and are likely to field a far different line up from the Norwich game here with matches coming thick and fast at the moment. That might not necessarily be a bad thing with many keen to see more game time for the likes of Bright Osayi-Samuel and Paul Smyth in particular. I strongly suspect we’ll see Ebere Eze, Tomer Hemed and Nahko Wells all rested at least, and a change of goalkeeper back to Matt Ingram if we stay true to form. Angel Rangel and Geoff Cameron haven’t travelled, Darnell Furlong and Mide Shodipo are the long term absentees. Maybe tonight’s the night for Sean Goss? We’re offering an all-expenses-paid holiday for two on Steve McClaren’s hair island for a successful sighting of him.
Donervan Daniels is on the naughty step for the hosts, but the commentator’s friend Armand Gnanduillet is pushing for a start.
Elsewhere: Obviously Manchester United Reserves v Big Fat Frank’s Big Fat Derby is the clear and obvious tie of the Third Round, with neutral television viewers across the land desperate to rush home from work and salivate over this terrifically interesting battle between a Jose Mourinho second team and a midtable Championship side. So that’s on Sky, and rightly so, it’s going to be absolutely fucking incredible. Liverpool Reserves v Chelsea Reserves is the TV match tomorrow, because we don’t really see enough of them either.
Tonight we have Bournemouth Reserves v Blackburn and Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion v Burnley Reserves in this week’s clashes between two teams beginning with B. Fulham Reserves are at Millwall in a London derby and Man City Reserves go to League One Oxford United. Wolves Reserves are playing Leicester Reserves in another match between two teams from The Best League In The World (Richard Keys stopped talking about “hanging out the back” of women long enough to tell us to cap that up). Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe might fancy their chances at home to Borussia Norwich while Crystal Palace Reserves are at West Brom.
Tomorrow it’s Brentford negotiating a strike on the Piccadilly Line to get up north and see them play Arsenal Reserves. Macclesfield get to rattle round in an empty stadium against West Ham Reserves. Tottenham Reserves are playing Watford Reserves in Milton Keynes – work that one out. Nottingham Trees v Stoke shouldn’t really be allowed.
QPR: Rangers could be in the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time since 2008, when they beat Swindon 3-2, Carlisle 4-0 and Villa 1-0 under Iain Dowie before losing 1-0 to Man Utd under Gareth Ainsworth, if they win tonight. QPR lost 4-1 at home to Brentford in round two of this competition last season. In 2016/17 the R’s overcame Swindon on penalties after a 2-2 draw and beat Rochdale 2-1 the round after before bowing out to Sunderland. That was the first time they had reached the third round of the League Cup since being knocked out at that stage as a Premier League side by Reading in 2012 and followed three successive seasons of second round exits at the hands of Carlisle (1-2), Burton (0-1) and Swindon (0-2). It was the first time since 2009 that Rangers have made it to a third tie in this competition (Exeter 5-0, Accrington 2-1, Chelsea 0-1). The last time Rangers were in round five was a 5-2 loss at Nottingham Forest in 1988/89, two years after they’d been beaten in the final by Oxford. The 1-0 defeat to Norwich at the weekend brought to an end an unbeaten run of five games that included the 3-1 win against Bristol Rovers in round two.
Blackpool: Despite manager Gary Bowyer resigning after just one match this season (a draw with newly promoted Wycombe), and subsequently defeat in their first home match against Portsmouth (1-2), Blackpool have been in very decent touch of late. They’re unbeaten in ten in all competitions since that Pompey game, winning five. They beat Barnsley 3-1 at home and Doncaster 2-1 away to reach this stage of the competition. They haven’t conceded a goal in their last two matches, and in the two before that they scored twice in injury time to salvage a 3-3 at Macclesfield in the farcical Football League Trophy and three times in the last six minutes to recover from 2-0 down at home to Bradford and win. They have the joint best defence in League One with five conceded, but weirdly also one of the worst attacks with only eight goals scored, and three of those were against Bradford. They’ve failed to score in five games already this season and been part of four 0-0 draws.
Prediction: No prediction league for the cup games of course so we’ve given Elliott the night off. I’m keeping faith, I was surprised how poor the League One teams looked in the previous two rounds and how professionally QPR dealt with them. There will be changes but several of the players will be keen to impress, Bright Osayi-Samuel chief among them, and that should give us enough. Hopefully.
LFW’s Prediction: Blackpool 1-2 QPR. Scorer – Matt Smith
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