QPR make their second trip to Lancashire in as many weeks where they will play manager-less Burnley. On paper, Burnley are one of the strongest teams in the division and it’s no surprise that they sacked beleaguered manager Brian Laws who seemed incapable of motivating his side. Whoever they do appoint will have a solid set of players to work with and should be aiming for a play-off position.
The R’s haven’t had the best of luck in January so far. After narrowly missing out on the hugely impressive Kyle Walker, Rangers were dealt several injury blows last week, none more disappointing than the loss of Jamie Mackie who came off worse in a 50/50 challenge with Blackburn’s Gael Givet. Mackie will be out for the remainder of the season. Let’s hope he makes a speedy recovery and we look forward to having him back – hopefully in the Premier League.
Caretaker manager Stuart Gray will once again be in charge of first team affairs on Saturday as Burnley continue to search for a permanent manager. The Clarets’ hierarchy announced that talks are ongoing as they look to appoint a successor to Brian Laws. Sky Sports News/BBC sport did however state that Bournemouth’s highly-rated manager Eddie Howe is in talks with the Clarets and looks favourite to land the job.
Blackburn Rovers 1 (Hoilett 77)
Team: Paddy Kenny, Clint Hill, Bradley Orr, Gary Borrowdale, Kaspars Gorkss, Shaun Derry, Petter Vaagen Moen, Alejandro Faurlín (Lee Cook 81), Leon Clarke, Jamie Mackie (Bruno Andrade 31), Rob Hulse (Michael Doughty 88)
Burnley 4 (Carlisle 4, Mears 21, Eagles 50, Alexander 76pen)
Port Vale 2 (Taylor 15, 82)
Team: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Daniel Fox, Mike Duff (Andre Bikey 60), Clarke Carlisle, Graham Alexander, Chris Eagles, Wade Elliott (Dean Marney 71), Jack Cork, Chris Iwelumo (Steven Thompson 73), Jay Rodriguez
Burnley Team News:
Caretaker boss Stuart Gray has only a few injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s match. Northern Ireland striker Martin Paterson is unavailable due to a thigh injury and midfielder Chris McCann is out with a long-term knee injury.
Mears – Carlisle – Duff – Fox
Elliot – Cork – McDonald – Eagles
Iwelumo – Rodriguez
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
Chris Eagles has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this weekend`s match against Burnley.
For danielqpr’s summary of the One to Watch click here >>>
QPR Team News:
QPR welcome back Matthew Connolly who missed the last two games owing to suspension. Tommy Smith and Fitz Hall are available who both missed the match against Blackburn. Lee Cook is also fit for selection.
With Jamie Mackie, Patrick Agyemang and Heider Helguson out injured, Petter Vaagan Moen and Leon Clarke are be in contention to fill one of the attacking midfield roles. Akos Buzsáky and Peter Ramage are long-term absentees.
Possible line up:
Orr-Connolly – Gorkss – Hill
Derry – Faurlin
Smith – Taarabt- Vaagan Moen
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt has been arguably the best player in the division so far this season. The Moroccan magician has been the attacking heartbeat of the Rangers team. The gifted midfielder has scored an impressive 12 goals but what is equally astounding is his contribution to the team. Taraabt has set up 10 goals for his teammates confirming how far he has developed as a footballer under the stewardship of Neil Warnock.
The attacking midfielder signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 after a successful loan spell from French side Lens. Spurs paid around £3 million for him and big things were expected but after lack of first team appearances he has since had two successful loan spells at QPR. This summer saw Adel Taarabt sign permanently for QPR for a figure believed to be in the region of £1 million.
To date Taarabt has played 76 games for QPR scoring 20 goals.
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WWLDL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 10
LAST TIME OUT
npower Championship – 30/10/10
QPR 1 (Taarabt 32)
< b>Burnley 1 (Alexander 45pen)
Team: Paddy Kenny, Clint Hill, Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss, Kyle Walker, Shaun Derry, Hogan Ephraim (Patrick Agyemang 62), Adel Taarabt (Tommy Smith 82), Alejandro Faurlín, Jamie Mackie, Rob Hulse (Leon Clarke 74)
Referee: Mr C Foy
Assistants: Mr S Massey & Mr W Smallwood
Fourth Official: Mr R Lewis
Chris Foy is the match official for Saturday’s clash against Burnley and has officiated 18 games this season. His most recent game was the match between West Brom and Manchester United.
Last season Foy issued 107 yellow cards and 5 red cards in 36 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
All across the QPR messageboards there is a cloud of negativity. Understandably people are starting to worry, we have lost several key players to injury and with clubs like Leicester City and Hull City splashing the cash there is a fear Rangers` season could take a turn for the worst if Neil Warnock doesn`t strengthen the squad. However, there is still plenty of time to bring in loan players and a cautious approach is needed so that the balance of the squad is not disturbed. Importantly though Rangers sit top of the league, five points clear, which is a fantastic achievement at this stage of the season.
Regarding this weekend I think Rangers are fortunate that Burnley chose not to appointment a new manager in time for the match. Hopefully we have avoided the “new manager syndrome” and can snatch a win, although traditionally Turf Moor is somewhat of a bogey ground for the R`s. In their last 7 visits to Turf Moor, Rangers have lost six times, winning just the once.
Burnley have obvious threats in Chris Eagles, Wade Elliot and Martin Paterson whilst Jack Cork has been steadily improving and is now a pretty tidy player at this level. Luckily QPR have players coming back from injury and our team sheet should look much stronger than it did against Blackburn. I have a feeling there will be a few goals on Saturday. I think the R`s could snatch a win with Warnock showing more tactical nous than caretaker manager Gray.
Who: Coventry City
Where: Loftus Road
When: 23/01/2011 – 13.15