QUEENS Park Rangers have a chance to effectively secure safety this Good Friday but they’re not travelling to most happy of hunting grounds in order to try and get the job done.
Not since Karl Connolly and Kevin Gallen netted in a 3-1 win to send QPR top of Division Two have Rangers got the better of the Robins at Ashton Gate; but even since that day City have only beaten their visitors twice, rather underlining the close nature of these games.
QPR and Plymouth Argyle were ‘running scared’ according to boss and former player Brian Tinnion a year or so later as Rangers gained promotion with Bristol City not able to keep pace at the summit – one of the many run ins that the two teams have had over the years.
Things have changed considerably since those days however – City now sitting in a developing ground and have seen the highs of being on the cusp of the Premier League and the lows of dropping back down in ignominy to League One.
They would argue they need the win this weekend more than QPR and indeed can get to within three points of Rangers with a maximum, serving to underline that few teams can consider themselves safe even at this late stage.
Bristol City 3 (Paterson 33, Abraham 39pen, 49)
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (Bodvarsson 78)
Team: Fielding, Little, Bryan, Flint, Wright, Smith, Brownhill, Pack, Abraham (Hegeler 89), Taylor (Wilbraham 74), Paterson (O’Dowda 85).
Match Report >>>
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Smith 74)
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Murray 58, Pocognoli 64)
Team: Smithies, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Lynch (Sylla 77), Robinson (Freeman 66), Luongo, Manning, Morrison (Ngbakoto 66), Washington, Smith.
Match Report >>>
Bristol City Team News:
Lee Johnson will want to keep the nucleus of the side together that coasted past Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend in particular marksman Tammy Abraham leading the line alongside the Judas Iscariot, sorry, Matty Taylor.
It would not be too much of a surprise to see Johnson name an unchanged line-up but there will be no place for former QPR man Gary O’Neil who is still missing with a leg injury.
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Player to watch: Tammy Abraham
This doesn’t take a rocket scientist now does it? 22 league goals and without those City would be most certainly preparing for life in League One next season.
The Chelsea loanee has proven himself very capable this season and will no doubt go on to push for a potentially more prestigious loan move next term or who knows he might even get a go at Stamford Bridge – when pigs fly.
QPR Team News:
I fully expect another shuffle in what has been a sizeable experiment since Queens Park Rangers reached 50 points under Ian Holloway. Much as I am sure that Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town fans did not take kindly to Rangers’ line-up against Brighton, equally Holloway may find a bit of unhappiness in the North West courtesy of Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers should he over rotate at a crucial time in the season.
Smithies in goal should be the biggest certainty going but you just never know whether he’ll now want to give Matt Ingram a go. The below is a best guess based in the last game and the game to come. If I get half marks I’ll be a proud man indeed.
Furlong – Onuoha – Hall – Lynch – Bidwell
Wszolek – Manning – Freeman
Washington – Smith
Player to watch: Luke Freeman
It will be interesting indeed to see whether Holloway starts with a duo that helped cause so much League One destruction for Bristol City as they cantered to promotion under Steve Cotterill. There will be a lot more love for Matt Smith however, than there will be for Luke Freeman.
Lee Johnson rather publically led Freeman to the slaughter this January when he told the world that he would not play him as he did not want to stay. The result is that Rangers picked up a player on the cheap that has since performed in wonderful fashion since his arrival.
I can’t see them rolling out the red carpet for the midfielder’s return.
Match Facts & Stats
Bristol City: W W L L W
Queens Park Rangers D W L L L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Bristol City: 25
Queens Park Rangers 33
LAST TIME OUT
18th October 2016
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Sylla 75)
Preston North End 0
Team: Smithies, Onuoha, Lynch (Hamalainen 32), Caulker, Perch, Borysiuk, Cousins (Gladwin 53), Chery, Luongo, Washington, Sylla (Polter 89)
Referee:Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)
Assistant: Daniel Leach (Oxfordshire)
Assistant: Tim Wood (Gloucestershire)
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Jeremy Simpson is the man in the middle for this Good Friday encounter with Bristol City – previously this season he oversaw a QPR defeat away at Rotherham United, but oversaw the reverse fixture last season settled by a Karl Henry wonder-goal, no really.
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Well why on earth not. City do need the points and will I’m sure take some risks in front of a nervy home crowd.
It is however a tall order and keeping Tammy Abraham quiet will be the key to a Rangers maximum this Easter weekend. Washington and Smith to score for Rangers.
Who: SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Where: LOFTUS ROAD
When: 17.04.2017 – 15.00