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Queens Park Rangers 1 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Tuesday, 19th September 2023 Kick-off 19:45
Fight or flight for the Swans, fright or delight for the R's? - Preview
Tuesday, 19th Sep 2023 12:17 by Clive Whittingham

With Swansea in disarray there's a big chance for QPR to add further fuel to a weird feel good factor at Loftus Road on Tuesday night - and if that doesn't make you nervous you don't know this club very well.

QPR (2-0-4 WLLLWL 20th) v Swansea (0-2-4 LDLLLL 22nd)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Tuesday September 19, 2023 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Extremely windy >>> Loftus Road, London, W12

While the stragglers at The Crown and Sceptre were playing drink to forget on Saturday evening, the distraction came in the form of Cardiff’s South Wales derby win against Swansea. It’s a result that leaves our opponent this evening with just two points from six games, four defeats in a row and five from their last six coming into this.

The appointment of Michael Duff, who’d previously taken Cheltenham Town to club record highs and then Barnsley to a League One play-off final, was a big part of the reason we quite liked the Swans for an upper midtable finish in our season preview. He’s been winning, for a prolonged period of time, at two different clubs, with very little by way of budget to work with. Add his pragmatism to the Russell Martin ideals already in place here and a handsome coupling could be the result, or so we thought.

Writing that preview is a difficult enough task as it is, without a month of transfer window including half a dozen games to come. We did caveat our optimism with the potential departure of Joel Piroe, 22 and 19 goals in his prior two seasons, and sure enough he upped and left for Leeds continuing a talent drain from this team that has seen key men Michael Obafemi, Ryan Manning and Flynn Downes exit in the last 12 months. That needn’t be terminal - in fact for clubs like ourselves and the Swans it’s now a necessity to the model – but it does rather rely on you reinvesting the funds wisely, and here Swansea’s recruitment has been found wanting for sometime. Scrabbling around to get Jamal Lowe in through the final seconds of transfer window to replace Joel Piroe is quite a position to be in. In total, 13 signings were made either permanent or loan, and that’s before we even get into just how much untangling of Martin's unique style of play literally anybody else who follows him into the job next has to do.

Such is the way of local derbies and rivalries, the Cardiff defeat has turned a steadily rising tide of doubt and scepticism about whether Duff is the right man into a torrent of anger and “get out of our club”. There’s evil in the air and there’s thunder in the sky. Some of the answers in this week’s opposition interview do not sound like those of a fan base with a lot more patience left. Duff needs a result tonight.

That’s in stark contrast to the mood around QPR at the moment, which feels almost sanguine. As well as the usual staples about kick off times, pies and speaker systems, chunks of Monday night’s fans forum were actually taken up thanking people for everything they do for the club, and praising the apparently clear and obvious culture change that’s been seen this season. I actually had to check myself that I hadn’t wondered into the Ipswich Town fans forum by mistake.

It was a similar feeling on Saturday when I saw Steve Cook had teed off on West London Sport journalist Ian McCullough, a fairly persistent critic of Gareth Ainsworth since he’s returned, on what exactly he would have done differently facing Sunderland with ten men using his “vast football knowledge”. This after Ian had put out some pretty forthright mid-game Tweets about Rangers “plan” for the second half, such as it was (answers on a postcard) and Asmir Begovic booting the ball into the main stand every 45 seconds or so.

I’ll park the idea you have to have played professional football to be able to have an opinion about it for a different article – it’s the sort of bollocks Steve Claridge would come out with, though I guess running a website like this I would say that wouldn’t I? In general I’m glad. I’m glad we’ve got a bit of experience, and leadership and voice in the team. I’m glad they’re hurt, and care, and are passionate about it. I’m glad they’re sticking up for each other. Because there was precious little of any of that last season. I’m glad people are feeling a bit better about the team and the club, that we’re chilled enough about our current position to be cracking jokes and gladhanding during the fans forum. It does feel a little bit detached from reality to me though.

QPR are still losing with alarming regularity – five of seven already. Saturday was a third home defeat from three played this season bringing up a total of now one win from 18 games at Loftus Road. We’ve failed to score in ten of those, including five of the last seven. Still just those five goals at the Loft End since the start of last season. Still all the way back to October since we scored more than one in a home game. Season ticket prices, and the cost of everything within the ground once you get there, were actually raised this summer in the middle of that run. I’d be careful about teeing off on any critics while that’s going on. In 2023, across the entire Football League, the only team with a lower points haul than us is Forest Green Rovers. I think the club and the team are getting a lot of benefit of the doubt at the moment, certainly relative to how the QPR fanbase has reacted in the past and how fans of other clubs (particularly our opponent tonight) are behaving now.

This is a big game tonight. Win, which I happen to think we will (sorry), and that’s a very creditable start to the season given everything that went on here last year, everything Gareth Ainsworth inherited and our circumstances. Fail to win, and then again in a very difficult quick turnaround at Birmingham on Friday, and suddenly the notion of players calling out critics on social media, and all holding hands and thanking everybody for everything they’ve done for the club at the fans forum, will look and feel even more strange than it did to me already.

Links >>> All quiet on the Western Avenue – Fans Forum >>> New problems brewing for Duffman – Interview >>> Taarabt’s brilliance – History >>> Newbie – Referee >>> Official Website >>> Planet Swans — Blog and Forum >>> Swansea Independent - Forum >>> Wales Online — Local Paper >>> The Jack Army — Forum >>> SOS - Fanzine

90s Football Conspiracy Theories No.5 In The Series – Lars Bohinen believes the moon really is made of cheese.

Below the fold

Team News: Jack Colback’s brain explosion that turned the Sunderland game away from Rangers at the weekend will see him serve a three match ban – Swansea H, Birmingham A, Coventry H. Less than ideal. Lyndon Dykes’ return to action from the bench at the weekend opens the opportunity to return to the midfield and attack that started the win away at Cardiff. Ainsworth has also touted Stephen Duke-McKenna or a midfield role for Kenneth Paal and a start for Ziyad Larkeche as possible options. Other than that Jimmy Dunne and his dislocated shoulder is Rangers’ only injury at present, and even he is now back in full training and eyeing up a return against Coventry at Loftus Road next week.

For Swansea, bravest man in the world Wee Joe Allen, so ruddy bloody brave, was injured in the warm up at Cardiff so is a doubt for this one along with Kyle Naughton. Ogbeta and Abdullai won’t travel.

Elsewhere: Not entirely unpredictably, The Sixteenth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour has had its winter dates cancelled. He will step down as Huddersfield manager following Wednesday night’s home game with Stoke. Him staying on permanently after his latest “oooh I’m like Red Adair me” rescue job on the Terriers last season always felt an uneasy fit. As early as day one at Plymouth he was saying he’d only really done it to save the new owner looking for somebody else while he got his feet under the table – those famed motivational skills at play there. More recently he accused the owner of backtracking on the summer budget, taking contract renewals out of the transfer budget leading to several deals collapsing for players who subsequently went to other Championship clubs and were performing well. Despite a couple of recent wins, including Saturday against Rotherham, there was a real feel of inevitability to this one. Warnock insists he’s not retiring, he’s told Sharon he’s got one more in him. I’ve still got half an idea I think I know where this storyline is heading.

That’s tomorrow night, one of half a dozen games that includes a Yorkshire derby between Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos, a Moany Towbray derby between Blackburn and Sunderland, an attractive looking tie between early highflyers Borussia Norwich and Leicester, and a somewhat less appetising feast of mediocrity between Millwall and Rotherham. Watford v West Brom is an intriguing fixture between two teams beginning with W.

Tonight alongside our game there’s intrigue at the bottom where Sheffield Blue Stripe, who everybody expected to be crap, are at home to Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough, who are quite unexpectedly stinking the place up. Russell Martin said his players bounced back not only from the 5-0 defeat at Sunderland, but also going 2-0 down to Leicester, that he couldn’t have been prouder of them. Something about winning a pressing battle? I was under the impression the game finished 4-1 but who knows? May be worth checking exactly what the aim of the game is if you’re an Ipswich rep heading to St Mary’s.

Bristol City v Plymouth, Cardiff v Coventry, and the surprise package to end them all, Preston Knob End, at home to Birmingham rounds out this midweek set.

Referee: It’s not only a first QPR and Swansea appointment for Andrew Kitchen, it’s also his first ever Championship game having been promoted onto the EFL lost three years ago. Don’t worry though, there’s a safe pair of hands waiting in the wings as fourth official. Details.


QPR: Jack Colback’s red card was QPR’s first dismissal in 68 games going back to February 2022 and Dion Sanderson’s headbutt against Blackpool. It swiftly took Rangers from a promising start and 1-0 lead to a long afternoon and comfortable 3-1 defeat. That spoiled Gareth Ainsworth’s unbeaten record when taking the lead in games – in his 19 games in charge prior to that one Rangers had won five and drawn one of the six occasions they’ve gone in front. It did, however, continue a dire record of recovering just one point from 14 losing positions we’ve been in across the other fixtures. At home, QPR remain absolutely rotten. Three defeats from three Loftus Road games to start this season, seven losses and a draw in the last eight on this ground, one win in 18 fixtures here of which we’ve failed to score in ten, 19 games since we scored more than one goal. You know all these numbers off by heart now, just keep adding one. Gareth says people are going to be scared of coming to Loftus Road when he gets this team going – at the moment the only people scared of coming here are the QPR fans.

Swansea: Seven wins and two draws from the final nine games threatened for a while to catapult Swansea into the 2023 play-off picture. In the end they were left to rue the three wins in 21 games that had preceded that run as the team was broken up and its idealistic manager headed for Southampton. With 13 new players and a replacement gaffer some teething problems were perhaps inevitable, but it’s been a dire start to 23/24. The Swans have just two points from six league games, and their only win so far was a 3-0 against League One Northampton in the League Cup. They’ve lost four in a row and five of the last six coming into this game and away from home so far have lost three out of three. Prior to Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Cardiff they had taken the lead in three consecutive games against Preston, Bournemouth and Bristol City only to go on and lose. Jamal Lowe, who returned to the Swans from Bournemouth on transfer deadline day, has scored in this fixture for both teams – netting for QPR in last season’s 1-1 draw, and Swansea in their 2-0 win at Loftus Road in the Boxing Day 2020 lockdown game.

Prediction: We’re once again indebted to The Art of Football for 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. What’s our reigning champion Aston got for us this week…

“I have a good feeling about this one. They've struggled a bit under the new manager and under the lights with a QPR team with a bit more purpose and confidence, we could knock them over. 2-0, Chair to score first.”

Aston’s Prediction: QPR 2-0 Swansea. Scorer – Ilias Chair

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

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TacticalR added 18:19 - Sep 19
Thanks for your preview.

You are right: it never seems to mean anything when teams come to Loftus Road on a run of bad form.

Both teams have a fitness problem and both teams have a scoring problem. At least Swansea can comfort themselves that they are not at the bottom of the IpswichTownLive 2023 league. It will be interesting to see how Jamal Lowe does. At QPR last season he started off well then faded.

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