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A cold (warm) Tuesday (Wednesday) night in Barnsley - Preview
Tuesday, 16th Aug 2016 20:24 by Clive Whittingham

QPR, surprising even themselves with two wins from two games, go to newly promoted Barnsley tomorrow night.

Barnsley v Queens Park Rangers

Championship >>> Wednesday August 16, 2016 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather — Warm, sunny, no really >>> Oakwell, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Well this is all going rather well isn’t it? Shut up you might jinx it. We all know the old saying: pride comes before a meek 1-0 midweek defeat at Barnsley.

How wonderful it is for Yeni Ngbakoto to get a nice early cold Tuesday night in Barnsley under his belt. Welcome to England Yeni, here’s a big, hairy arsed, veteran, Yorkshireman to brutally boot you into the third row of the stand. Of course the game is actually on Wednesday, and it’s forecast to be warm, and Barnsley’s big centre half is 22 and from Hillingdon (denseness of anal thicket to be confirmed) but we don’t let facts get in the way of lazy stereotypes easily here at LFW. Never have, never will.

Anyway two wins without conceding a goal, or even allowing a serious shot on target, while scoring five of our own through four different scorers (seven from six if you include the Swindon game) is a near faultless beginning.

Optimism suddenly abounds, probably too much in fact. Imagine, four weeks ago, the suggestion that Charlie Austin may be available and open to a return to Rangers from a stint at Southampton which hasn’t ever really got going being met by a fair number of supporters on our message board and the Twitter with “do we really need him?” “where does he fit in the team?” and so on.

Now come on kids, play nicely or we’ll take the sand pit away. Any team in the Championship would sell their own grandmother into backbreaking slavery to have Charlie Austin in their team. We live in a world where Dwight Gayle, and his middling goal record, costs £10m. Charlie Austin has proved over a prolonged period of time that he’s pure goals at this level and while I buy the arguments about money, wage structure, FFP, team spirit, dressing room dynamic and our current team shape, if there was a chance — which there’s almost certainly not — we’d be mad not to take it.

Moot point really, because it’s never going to happen. Austin would have Premier League suitors, Everton chief amongst them, even if Southampton were willing to let him go, and they’re already light up front as it is. One brief mention in the Standard is about as reliable as the clickbait bullshit churned out by the likes of Tribal Football — this the paper that once said QPR were about to sign Roberto Baggio lest we forget.

Still, it’s nice for people to be getting carried away like this, as opposed to a couple of weeks ago after a midweek draw at Burton Albion in pre-season had the cloak and scythe brigade suiting up and tolling the bell.

Now there are a small group of football fans at most clubs, and certainly QPR have their fair share, who seem to quite like it when it goes wrong for their team in a sadistic way because a) it gives them something else to moan about and b) it makes their previous moans right. Almost like the “I told you so” is more satisfying than the feeling of seeing the team win. QPR also have the additional “jobs for the boys” faction of the support, with all the vile, loathsome undertones that opposition to Les Ferdinand’s director of football position barely conceals. This makes the reaction to any little setback over the top — hell, even in victory against Leeds there were people Tweeting at half time “should have finished them off, no goals in this team, typical QPR” and during the win at Cardiff on Sunday “1-1 then” after Steven Caulker had given Rangers the lead.

The Burton friendly — if not the result, which wouldn’t be a bad one when we go there during a crowded September schedule — gave them plenty to go on, and the rest of us lots to be concerned about. QPR were, technical term, absolute crap. No idea, long balls up to Washington, no shape, no verve, no vigour, no tempo, no nothing. If you’d said after that match that we’d be two from two in the league and considering whether or not Charlie Austin is needed I’d have laughed so hard in your face your ears would have rung.

If this two game start teaches us anything, it should be about pre-season. After all, that’s all it is, a start. Two games out of 46, we might not win any of the other 44. We won four matches in August last season, including two away, and sat fourth going into September, and we all know how we finished, and how many away games we won in total. But one thing we can say is that we were prepared well and ready for the first game following the summer.

The problem with us football supporters and pre-season is, apart from the harmless ground ticking and meeting up with mates again bit, we view it all wrong. QPR struggled to score all summer, looked leggy in games, looked absolutely shagged out at Burton where three players suffered muscle injuries in the first half bringing to mind the criticism of outspoken Dutch coach Raymond Verheijen who mocks the British and their fascination with flogging players to death during July. But none of it was relevant — they were ready for the first week of the season. It's vital to get pre-season right, but getting it right isn't judged on results in the friendlies.

If I went to the training ground every day and did a match report on the session you’d all wonder what the hell I was bothering for. Who won the sprints? Who led them out on the lap of Harlington? Who scored the most free kicks in the shooting practice? Who the fuck cares? And yet we go and pore over the pre-season friendlies and work ourselves into a panic about the perceived flaws we see. We used to write previews and match reports and all sorts on the summer matches on LFW — this year I went to Italy and sat in the sun drinking my body weight in red wine instead.

It may all go tits skywards, that may start on Wednesday, we’re still more likely to be a steady midtable team than anything else. If we’re completely physically shot by October and hanging out of our arses 60 minutes into matches then maybe we’ll look back and reassess. But at the moment, at the very least, it seems like we the club got the summer right this time.

Links >>> Taking care of business — History >>> Bouncing back — Interview >>> Mr Bond, licence to ref — Referee >>> Gift of the Gab — Podcast

QPR won 3-2 at already relegated Barnsley when these sides last met at Oakwell in May 2014. The game served as a warm up for Rangers’ successful play-off campaign.


Team News: QPR have Jamie Mackie and Ariel Borysiuk on the long term injured list, while new signing Joel Lynch has an ongoing muscle injury that he picked up in pre-season and exacerbated against Swindon. Ben Gladwin turned his ankle against Leeds, and was then victim of a horror tackle at Cardiff on Sunday (which renowned hot head Tjaronn Chery was booked for complaining about) and is unlikely to feature.

Barnsley have new fresh injury concerns from the weekend win against Derby which was accomplished without top striker Sam Winnall who remains sidelined with cholera.

Elsewhere: Clock strikes upon the hour, and the sun begins to fade. Still enough time to figure out, how to chase my blues away. I've done alright up to now, it's the light of day that shows me how, and when the night falls, I have Wigan Athletic v Birmingham City.

And as if that wasn't enough, Wolves are hosting Ipswich as well.

That's right, it's the first Tuesday night gobfull of Championship gorge for you all, with some crumbs spilling out the sides of your mouth into Wednesday night as well.

Could Huddersfield be a dark horse under the innovative management of David Wagner? Just when the faint sounds of survivors had been heard amidst the Aston Villa Train Wreck the Yorkshire side roll into Villa Park and are excellent price to make it three wins from three league games.

The Sheffield Owls have tied Fernando Forrestieri up and locked him in a cupboard, while furthering their bizarre squad numbering policy by bringing in David Jones from Burnley and handing him three. They're at Nigel Clough's Burton Albion.

The Wurzels have started well too, and face an early test of their credentials in the carrot crunching derby at Norwich.

Will Garry Monk make it to the end of the month at the Champions of Europe? We'll come another defeat closer to finding out as unbeaten Tarquin and Rupert take to the road again and order the chauffeur to head north. Owen Coyle is already under similar pressure from the Mad Chicken Farmers, and you wouldn't back against a third straight defeat for them at Cardiff .

There's some other bits and bobs going on — Preston host the Chokers, Brighton are beating Already Relegated Rotherham, Brentford play the Trees…

And what of Newcastle ? That 100 points and 100 goals prediction looks good now doesn't it? Only 100 points and 99 more goals to go, starting with Wednesday's visit from Waitrose.

Referee: It's another brief referee preview this week, with the man in the middle taking charge of QPR for the first time. Darren Bond, from Lancashire, had Barnsley for one home win and one home defeat last season. You can read a bit about that and not a lot else by clicking here.


Barnsley: The Tykes have started the season in reasonably decent touch. They scored twice and missed several good chances besides at Ipswich on day one before succumbing 4-2 when home substitute Gavin Ward got a debut hat trick. They lost at home to Northampton in the League Cup after extra time but rallied to beat much fancied Derby 2-0 at home on Saturday. They set records last season, winning promotion despite losing eight on the spin through October and November. The run of 19 wins, five draws and just three defeats that got them there means they’ve only lost four times in the league since Christmas.

QPR: Two wins in the league without conceding a goal, or a serious shot on target, is a near perfect start for QPR. Including the cup match with Swindon, Rangers have scored seven times with six different players chipping in. The 2-0 success at Cardiff at the weekend means the R’s are already a quarter of the way to matching their meagre total of four away wins in the Championship last season. Rangers failed to win away to any of the newly promoted clubs last season, drawing at Bristol City and Preston and losing at MK Dons.

Betting: Our tame professional odds compiler Owen Goulding offers us the following advice…

"QPR make the long trip up north to face newly promoted Barnsley . On the back of an excellent away win in Wales , Rangers will definitely hope to pick up at least a point here. And that's what I think will happen. Barnsley had a credible win against Derby at the weekend but they are destined to be bottom half come May in my opinion. I think Rangers would be happy for a draw here after a great start to the season. The bookies can't separate them and I'm struggling as well so the 12/5 generally available on the draw looks worth an interest.

Recommended Bet: Barnsley v QPR - Draw @12/5 general.

Prediction: Reigning Prediction league champion Dylan Pressman tells us…

"Two very good league wins on the trot and a lot to like about the QPR play will have the players feeling confident. My prediction is that QPR will take the fixture 1-0 to keep the run going in a tough test of character. Polter to get the winner half way through the second half.

Dylan's Prediction: Barnsley 0-1 QPR. Scorer — Seb Polter

LFW's Prediction: Barnsley 0-1 QPR. Scorer — Tjaronn Chery

The Twitter @loftforwords

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DylanP added 21:08 - Aug 16
Every time I read your previews I am reminded how lucky we are to have the best sports writer in the UK writing for Loft For Words. Well done Clive and Thanks

martincook added 21:58 - Aug 16
Lovely preview, as ever. Just a small point. Glad you enjoyed Italy but why (journalist's license accepted) did you need to drink your own body weight in red wine? Is this too personal a question?

M x

kropotkin41 added 22:58 - Aug 16
It's difficult to toll a bell whilst wielding a scythe, take it from me.

And....... cholera?

Great read and a surely jinxing prediction of an away win!

PunteR added 00:18 - Aug 17
Stereotypical good preview once again. Cheers Clive. Agree about Austin. We've made some daft signings in the past but resigning Austin wouldn't be the worst idea ever. Never going to happen though. Interesting hypothetical thread on the forum though.

JAPRANGERS added 03:40 - Aug 17
Graet stuff as usual. Think Clive should be up for the Sports Writer of the Century award......

Winnall has Cholera?? Jeez. That's pretty serious right?? What's wrong with the usual cold or flu??

Northernr added 07:51 - Aug 17
Ha ha don't suddenly start taking the team news seriously lads, somebody had plague the other week.

PinnerPaul added 09:45 - Aug 17
Heartened to read views on Austin, thought it was just me for a time there on the messsageboard yesterday!

Northernr added 10:01 - Aug 17
Well on that, I do agree with Dave Barton that breaking the bank and the wage structure to sign somebody who doesn't really fit into the way we're currently playing is a typical 'old QPR' thing to do. But as I say here, two weeks ago after a series of 0-0 and 1-1 draws with lower league sides everybody was saying we were desperately in need of a striker, now after two wins against poor teams apparently we don't really need Charlie Austin. Lose tonight and again on Saturday and the sky will no doubt be falling in again.

Anyway, as said, moot point, we've more chance of flying to the moon than getting Austin back here on an affordable deal.

Burnleyhoop added 10:05 - Aug 17
Got to admit, the pre-season friendlies didn't fill me with hope, although we did play the younger players more often than not. I think a combination of fitness, team ethic and strengthening the back line has significantly improved us. Caulker, Bidwell and Cousins have been massive positives and with Yeni and Ariel still to get going, hopes of a good season grow. Have to admire the transfer policy, only 6 million spent and the difference has been huge. Great work from Les, Hoos and JFH.

Just don't get beat tonight and spoil the euphoria !!

SimonJames added 15:30 - Aug 17
Sensible, logical and entertaining... as usual.

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