MANAGERLESS Queens Park Rangers travel to Turf Moor tomorrow with Gareth Ainsworth temporarily at the helm.
With Portuguese legend Paulo Sousa given the axe yesterday evening for “divulging sensitive information” Ainsworth will once again have a chance to prove he is the man for the job as Rangers travel to one of their unhappier hunting grounds.
Gareth was in temporary charge the first time that the two sides met earlier this season, with Sousa in charge for the cup clashes against the Clarets.
Coyle`s men have got the better of the R`s in both league and cup – twice coming from behind to punish Rangers` profligate front line.
The Clarets have taken a sizeable step forward under the Scotsman to occupy a playoff place in the Championship. Summer purchases such as Chris Eagles and Martin Paterson have seen Burnley kick on in both league and cup this campaign – taking the notable scalps of Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal before narrowly losing out to Tottenham.
Only one defeat in 12 games has helped cement the Clarets position in the playoff frame with crushing defeats over Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest putting them in prime position for a top six finish.
The boss who recently penned a new deal until 2012 has overseen a revival at Turf Moor – not only in terms of league position but also contrasting styles of play between he and his predecessor Steve Cotterill.
One of the form sides in the league, the Clarets will be hoping they don`t slip up against a QPR side who have dipped out of playoff contention and travel to Turf Moor without a manager and given the hosts` form – without a hope.
View From The Bench
Former Rangers boss Paulo Sousa explained his reactions to QPR.co.uk following his sending off in a home stalemate with Crystal Palace.
He said: ‘It was becoming dangerous with Sami,’
‘There were some really bad challenges on Sami. One was with the players arm, another with a high foot – it’s difficult to control your emotions, because I care about my players.
‘Sami had blood streaming from his nose, it was a poor challenge.
‘I was unhappy and surprised to be sent to the stands. I’m an emotional person, an emotional coach – I was just trying to care for my player.’
Clarets boss Owen Coyle admitted to burnleyfootballclub.co.uk that it was two points dropped against Derby County as Paul Connolly grabbed a 93rd minute equaliser.
He said: ‘To lose a goal as late as that was disappointing, but it was the manner of the goal that really hurt.
‘You have to know how to win a game and we didn’t do that well enough this afternoon.
‘We had opportunities to win the game and I felt Joey Gudjonsson should have had a penalty to put the game to bed in the second half.
‘For Joey, it was a stone wall penalty. Joey was the wrong side of the lad. It would seem odd to go down when you are through on goal.
‘However, you still have to see the game out whatever and we didn’t do that.’
Burnley Team News:
Steven Thompson will miss out this weekend owing to an ankle injury. The former Cardiff City striker has been sidelined with the knock since mid-March and looks to sit out the entire Easter period.
Brian Jensen has made himself undroppable between the sticks with a string of outstanding performances for the Clarets, he will sit behind the able duo of former Rangers defender Clarke Carlisle and Steve Caldwell.
Christian Kalvenes will continue at left back – the full back had an impressive debut at Loftus Road earlier in the season, while the midfield will comprise of the creative talents of Chris Eagles, Wade Elliott and Chris McCann.
Up front limited options will force Owen Coyle to start Robbie Blake and Martin Paterson as youngster Jay Rodriguez will look to inflict more pain on the R`s from the bench.
Team v Derby: Brian Jensen, Rhys Williams, Clarke Carlisle, Steve Caldwell, Christian Kalvenes, Wade Elliott, Graham Alexander (Michael Duff 81), Chris McCann, Chris Eagles (Joey Gudjonsson 70), Martin Paterson (Jay Rodriguez 76), Robbie Blake.
Player to watch: Chris McCann
Vital QPR has singled out striker Chris McCann as the One to Watch as the R`s travel to Turf Moor tomorrow afternoon.
To view all the stats on the One To Watch Click Here >>>
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Gareth Ainsworth is set to ring the changes in Rangers attack following the goalless draw against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Radek Cerny will once again begin in goal with Matthew Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss selected in the centre of defence in favour of Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart. Damien Delaney and Peter Ramage will once again occupy the full back positions after a positive defensive display.
With Jordi López missing out against Crystal Palace with an injury Mikele Leigertwood filled in the defensive midfield role in the Spaniards stead. With Liam Miller putting in an utterly forgettable performance in midfield, Ainsworth may push Adel Taarabt into a role behind the striker with Lee Cook occupying the vacant left-midfield position.
Despite dipping in and out of the encounter against his former side, Wayne Routledge will look to retain his place on the right ahead of competition from Matteo Alberti.
After his cameo from the bench at the weekend, Rowan Vine could be set to start in place of Fiorentina loanee Samuel Di Carmine, who despite his efforts couldn`t make in-roads into the Palace rearguard. Sousa may however decide to stick with the young Italian following his well taken goal at Turf Moor earlier this season.
Martin Rowlands, Patrick Agyemang and Akos Buzsaky will have to wait until next season to play first team football again for Rangers.
Player to watch: Kaspars Gorkss
Latvian international Kaspars Gorkss has proven himself to be a consistent performer at the heart of the Rangers rearguard.
Gorkss has shone on both the domestic and international stage in recent weeks as he carried his clean sheets for his country over to the Championship.
The stalwart centre back has been a commanding presence in the air and strong in the tackle – while also engineering a good proportion of the Rangers attacks.
His aerial prowess from set-pieces have caused a great deal of problems, but still the Latvian has failed to hit the back of the net – could this be his weekend?
To view Kaspars` profile Click Here >>>
Burnley: Last 5 Games: W W D W D
QPR: Last 5 Games: L D W W D
HEAD 2 HEAD
LAST TIME OUT
Tuesday January 13, 2009 – Turf Moor
Coca Cola Championship
Burnley 2 (Thompson 60, Rodriguez 120)
QPR 1 (Di Carmine 54)
Team: Radek Cerny, Damien Delaney, Fitz Hall, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss, Mikele Leigertwood, Martin Rowlands, Gavin Mahon (Romone Rose 79), Emmanuel Ledesma (Hogan Ephraim 54), Matteo Alberti, Samuel Di Carmine (Heidar Helguson 85).
Burnley 1-1 QPR – 09-09-1972
QPR 7-0 Burnley – 27-10-1979
Burnley 0-3 QPR – 08-03-1980
QPR 3-2 Burnley – 02-10-1982
Referee– Mr M Haywood
Assistants – Mr D J H England and Mr B Roberts
Fourth official – Mr R T Hewitt
Mr Mark Haywood from West Yorkshire will officiate the R`s clash with Burnley tomorrow afternoon.
To get all the stats on the official Click Here >>>.
Judging by the team sent out last week Rangers don`t seem intent on challenging for sixth place and facing promotion fodder in Burnley they could be in for a hiding this weekend.
The Clarets are short on numbers but not short on quality as they look to retain their place in the top six and ultimately achieve a playoff place. An attacking line-up that thrives on playing exciting football – Burnley will provide Rangers with a stern test tomorrow; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 0-0 Draw
Next Up In W12
Who– Sheffield Wednesday
Where– Loftus Road
When– Monday 13th April 2009 – 3:00pm