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Queens Park Rangers 1 v 1 Nottingham Forest
SkyBet Championship
Friday, 29th October 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Don't get mad, get even - Preview
Friday, 29th Oct 2021 12:00 by Clive Whittingham

QPR are straight back on the horse after Tuesday's brutal injustice against Sunderland, with an important home league game against Nottingham Forest tonight.

QPR (6-3-5 WWLWLD 7th) v Forest (5-2-7 DWWWWL 15th)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Friday October 29, 2021 >>> Kick off 19.45 >>> Weather – Showers and wind >>> Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, Loftus Road, London, W12

Nothing burns quite like injustice and unfairness.

The timing of Tuesday’s scandalous offside call, right at the end of the game, disallowing what almost certainly would have been a winning goal, adds to it. The fact it’s blatant, not at all difficult to get right, and only given after an inordinate delay and some thinking time during which the referee had already pointed that he’d awarded the goal, pastes another layer of pain on top. And, though I accept I’m in a minority here, the fact that it’s in a cup competition really puts the tin hat on it for me personally. I’d rather that happen in some poxy league game every day of the week.

Warbs Warburton has already mentioned several times the various costs to the club. A stellar line-up of mostly London-based Premier League teams await in a mouth-watering quarter final line-up, and there would have been hefty gate receipts and television money to come from whoever we drew in the week before Christmas. There’s also the chance for the players to test themselves and develop further against some of the best players in the land. And, as the manager has also pointed out, the potential for somebody like Rob Dickie, Ilias Chair or Chris Willock to have the game of their lives against a big name and send their transfer market value rocketing into Ebere Eze range – and we’ve all seen how transformative that sale has been on the team short and medium term.

More than that though, for fans like me, who got into QPR in the early 1990s, the lustful hunger for any modicum of cup run is now approaching starvation. I was there for Clive Wilson’s last minute penalty against Millwall, and subsequent quarter final at Old Trafford in 1995, when any other draw from the hat would have given a talented and in-form Rangers team a shot at a very beatable semi-final line up. But before that, and since, less than nothing. Just constant, ritual, early round humiliation. It took me a long time to get over Toni Leistner’s late fifth round FA Cup miss against Watford a couple of years back, and I can now think of little else apart from that fucking evil side-on replay of Mark Dwyer’s Tuesday night catastrophe. That moment, his name, that feeling, will last. Just look at that quarter final line-up mate, just look at it. That could have been us. Should have been. I can’t speyk.

The penalties that followed were fairly hopeless, and have me worried. If the players feel a fraction as lousy as I do this morning, the chances of them getting a result tonight against Nottingham Forest are zero. Less than zero. I never want to see a football game, a penalty kick, or a fucking, bastard, cunting offside flag again as long as I live. I will drag my bum to Loftus Road tonight under the influence of five hours of alcohol and only because that’s just what I do. If QPR are playing, I’m there. I don’t want to leave the house. I’m sitting here now, looking out at the leaves falling, and I don’t want to go out there. It’s a world that offers only cruelty and disappointment. It’s Keith Stroud’s world out there, in here there is warmth and wine.

But that’s no good. Out classed at Fulham, crap and deservedly beaten at Peterborough, cheated against Sunderland, there’s a growing sensation that the smoke is starting to flow in the wrong direction and a season that promised so much could flashover. The penalties are a perfect microcosm – 13 consecutive successful takes, all of them confidently and easily dispatched, against Orient and Everton, and then suddenly that clown car wreck at the Loft End on Tuesday. The carefree, exhilarating, exuberant performances from the end of last season, then against Man Utd and Leicester over the summer, then at Boro and Hull in August are rather at risk of melting away into niggling doubt. There’s a ‘woe is me’ attitude starting to permeate about a string of poor refereeing decisions against us, a constant tinkering of our fixtures by Sky to our disadvantage, the number of games we’re being asked to play in a short period of time. We never win on a Friday. We never do much against Forest. Grumble, mumble.

We cannot let this fester. It has to be channelled in the right way. QPR are seventh, level on points with seven other teams. A defence that’s supposedly all over the show, and is certainly scary to watch, has kept three clean sheets in six games and recorded six shut outs already which is many as it managed in the whole of 2019/20. Win tonight and without playing well, without ever once having a fully fit squad to choose from, with a midfield that’s apparently busted, a formation that isn’t working, signings that are letting us down, and we’re fourth in the table. It would be a big statement piece at the end of a horrible week, to the rest of the division playing tomorrow. It would speak to the character, the toughness and the resilience of the team. What’s been and gone has done exactly that, we get nowhere mithering about perceived injustices. We come out swinging now, not writing fucking letters and organising petitions and coating off legends of the club on social media because their form has dipped. The best sides in sport, the ones that succeed, get punched, get knocked down, get back up again and say ‘is that all you’ve got?’ Fulham, Peterborough, Sunderland, Keith Stroud, handballs, offsides, injuries, bad luck, Sky Sports, fixture carnage? Is that all you’ve got?

Don’t get mad QPR, get fucking even. Shirts on, lights off, no talking.

Links >>> Cup finalists downed – History >>> Cooper leads recovery – Interview >>> Davies in charge – Referee >>> Official Website >>> Nottingham Post – Local Press >>> LTLF – Message Board >>> Bandy and Shinty – Fanzine >>> Forza Garibaldi – Blog >>> Matchday with Max – YouTube Channel

Below the fold

Team News: Sam Field came through the U23’s game at Bristol City unscathed as he moves closer to a first appearance of the season. George Thomas also recovered from illness to score twice in that game and could come back on the bench. Lee Wallace remains sidelined. Whether Luke Amos has got another start in him after Tuesday’s exertions is doubtful and Stefan Johansen is certain to return. The increasingly pressing question is whether Rangers can continue to fly by the seat of their pants with Chair and Willock behind two strikers, or whether one of the forwards is going to have to be sacrificed for an extra body in midfield. Expect Sam McCallum to return at left wing back and either Albert Adomah or Moses Odubajo to get a go down the right.

Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu has only played twice for Forest this season since becoming engrossed in a binge re-watch of The West Wing and is unlikely to travel. Loic Mbe Soh hasn’t played for Cooper yet because he says his face looks a bit weird, and that’s unlikely to change in time for tonight. Nobody is really that convinced that Rodrigo Ely exists at all, though there’s some vague suggestion a man of that name may be turning out for the U23s next week. Braian Ojeda finally made the bench for the first time last week following a botched attempt to spell his first name correctly. Mohamed Drager has had a period of quiet self reflection. Steve Chettle and Colin Cooper are fit to return but Des Walker has a hamstring problem.

Elsewhere: With one win from 14 games it’s difficult to see Barnsley manager Markus Schopp hanging on at Oakwell much longer as last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists languish in the relegation area. Tomorrow they travel to Bristol City for this weekend’s exciting fixture between two teams beginning with B, and their lousy form isn’t the only thing coming to a head at Ashton Gate. Forest’s remarkable injury time double salvo at City last week extends the Robins run without a home victory to 17 matches going all the way back to a 2-1 success against Huddersfield at the end of January. Barnsley is one of eight opportunities, including our visit over Christmas, they have to avoid going a full year without a win at home.

That bottom three on the whole is going to have to get its finger out collectively or risk being cut adrift. Cardiff have finally bitten the bullet with Mick McCarthy after a run of eight straight defeats in which they’ve scored once and conceded 19. Naturally that’s come just in time for our visit on Wednesday and they’re surely unlikely to be hanging around fourth bottom much longer with that squad – watch out for first signs of new manager bounce in a tough away fixture against Stoke tomorrow. Peterborough have also climbed clear with a couple of wins ahead of their trip to Swanselona so the pressure is really on third bottom Hull as they face high flying Coventry at home, and Wayne Rooney’s Derby County whose attempt to 0-0 their way to safety isn’t proving a conspicuous success prior to a home game with Blackburn.

Up at the other end Tarquin and Rupert laying out the Fortnum & Mason brunch hamper for West Brom tomorrow is clearly the game of the day. Either way there’s an opportunity for Bournemouth to extend a five point lead at the top when they play Reading at 8pm on a Saturday evening – or so it says here. Whose fucking idea is that? Lutown were a lot of people’s pre-season dark horses and they’ve snuck up into fifth, heading that queue of teams on 21 points, ahead of their extras role in Sean Maguire’s reboot of ER this weekend. Likewise Middlesbrough, whose kind run of fixtures continues with a home banker against woeful Birmingham as the Fourteenth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour extends into the Christmas season once more.

You’d have got long odds on Blackpool being higher in the league than Sheffield Red Stripe at the point of their first meeting this season. And woe betide anybody out and about the streets of Huddersfield without a poppy as the Marxist Hunters head to town to conclude this weekend’s list.

Referee: When he’s not injured we often get quite a bit out of referee Andy Davies, one aberration at Sheff Wed not included. Hopefully some respite here after the horrors of Stroud on Tuesday and with Chuckles Woolmer to come at Cardiff next week. Details.


QPR: Let’s start with the positives, because there are still plenty of those for Queens Park Rangers who are currently seventh in the Championship, one of seven clubs on 21 points. A win tonight would put Rangers fourth in the table ahead of the weekend games, when the general consensus is we’re not playing particularly well. They have won their last three games at home in the league – Birmingham 2-0, Preston 3-2, Blackburn 1-0. The clean sheets against Blackburn and Birmingham, along with the 0-0 against Sunderland, means Rangers have registered shut outs in three of their last six games at a time when the defence is copping a lot of criticism, and six matches overall this season which equals their total for the whole of 2019/20. Only Bristol City have left W12 with a win this season from ten league and cup games played here so far. Although a run of 28 consecutive scoring games came to an end in controversial circumstances during the week, still only Fulham with 33 have scored more than Rangers’ 25 league goals this season. Only Cardiff, Peterborough and Reading have conceded more than our 22 goals however – all of the bottom three have a better defensive record than us. Having scored 13 consecutive penalties without a miss against Orient and Everton in the League Cup, Rangers suddenly missed three out of four in hapless circumstances to crash out against Sunderland. They are yet to be awarded one in open play this season. Ilias Chair has five goals in his last five league games. Having started the season unbeaten in eight in all comps, QPR have now lost five and drawn two of the last ten.

Forest: It’s very much With Hughton and Without Hughton for Nottingham Forest this season. They began with six defeats and a draw from their first seven league games, scoring five and conceding 12. If you include the League Cup win against Bradford and subsequent 4-0 shellacking by Wolves then their start to the season went 1-1-7 with seven scored and 16 conceded. At that point Hughton was sacked and since then they have won five, drawn one and lost one under first caretaker management and now Steve Cooper. The 4-0 loss to high flying Fulham last weekend ended an unbeaten run of six in which they’d scored 14 and conceded just four. They come to Loftus Road having won their last four consecutive away games – Huddersfield (2-0), Barnsley (3-1), Birmingham (3-0) and Bristol City (2-1, both goals in injury time). Lewis Grabban top scores here with five and is the Championship’s most efficient striker statistically – with 38% of his shots resulting in a goal. Lyndon Dykes is third with 24%. It infamously took QPR 35 attempts to win at The City Ground for the first time, but their 2-0 win in this fixture last season also halted a worrying trend of Forest getting good results in W12 as well – the Trees had won their previous three visits to this ground, scoring ten times and keeping two clean sheets. Forest have won here five times in 12 visits with a couple of draws chucked in for good measure.

Prediction: We’re indebted to The Art of Football for once again agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. You can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Here’s last year’s champion Mick_S and his thoughts on Forest…

“Still very confused by it all. Forest have been in very strong recent form, bar Fulham, which is fair enough. How will they react, how will we? Head says we lose 1-2. My hopes are for a 2-2, so perhaps naively, I’ll go with that. Please lads, it’s on telly again. Dykes to score our first.”

Mick’s Prediction: QPR 2-2 Forest. Scorer – Lyndon Dykes

LFW’s Prediction: QPR 1-2 Forest. Scorer – Lyndon Dykes

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stainrods_elbow added 13:17 - Oct 29
Good preview - let's hope the players are listening. After Fulham, Peterborough and that shhootout fiasco, they and the manager got a lot of work to do to win me back over.

MartyMortyMilker added 15:35 - Oct 29
Great as always, Clive - batten down the hatches at home and power through this bullsh*t tonight

sinceApril66 added 15:35 - Oct 29
Just bought our train tickets from the same QPR fan, who sold us them on Tuesday, before going to the game, himself. Of course, talked about the mad need to re-examine Stroud's finest hour... and then happy to hear he's a big fan of this website. What you say about watching the leaves fall, not wanting to go out into the cruel world is genius... and brings back the acute agony of the Cup Final replay against Spurs, convincing me there can't be a god!

TacticalR added 19:34 - Oct 29
Thanks for your preview.

Yes, let's hope our season isn't going off the rails. We didn't play well against Fulham and haven't played that well since. I feel we are struggling to get the balance of the team right. Tonight will be an interesting test against a team that we have tended to end up in mid-table with in recent years (although they are one of the form teams at the moment).

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