THE final and arguably the toughest instalment of QPR`s West Country triple comes in the form of playoff chasing Bristol City.
The Robins have hit the headlines lately for Crystal Palace`s ghost goal at Ashton Gate, when Eagles forward Freddie Sears` effort hit the back of the net and the team of officials unbelievably failed to notice.
Bristol City players and management have come in for criticism from the Palace hierarchy who have accused them of being dishonest, with Chairman Simon Jordan going as far as accusing them of cheating.
Despite this blemish on their record City have got off to a positive start with victories over the aforementioned Eagles and Brentford in the Carling Cup. This combined with an opening day draw at Preston North End helped cap off an unbeaten start.
Central to this have been new additions Paul Hartley, David Clarkson and Danny Haynes, with the latter returning after a one-match ban following his sending off at Brenford. His direct and purposeful running caused havoc on the opening day with Hartley and Clarkson also notching on their debut.
Rangers have only beaten City once in their last six attempts at Ashton Gate and that win in 2002 took the R`s top of the table. While this victory wouldn`t see Rangers soar so far, it would go a long way to bolstering their position in the table while continuing their unbeaten start.
Plymouth Argyle 1 (Fallon 90+4)
QPR 1 (Helguson 42)
Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gorkss, Gary Borrowdale, Wayne Routledge, Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood, Akos Buzsaky (Hogan Ephraim 73), Adel Taarabt (Rowan Vine 77), Heidar Helguson (Patrick Agyemang 60).
Bristol City 1 (Maynard 89)
Crystal Palace 0
Team: Dean Gerken, Jamie McCombe, Lewin Nyatanga, Bradley Orr, Jamie McAllister, Cole Skuse, Paul Hartley (Liam Fontaine 90+3), Marvin Elliott, Ivan Sproule, David Clarkson (John Akinde 46), Nicky Maynard.
Bristol City Team News:
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Dean Gerken will continue in goal for the Robins after a positive start between the sticks, with want-away keeper Adriano Basso yet to find a new club as the clock ticks down on the English transfer window.
Bradley Orr and Jamie McAllister will be the ever-reliable heads at full back with summer signing Lewin Nyatanga accompanied at the heart of defence by giant Jamie McCombe. The trio in the middle of the park look set to be Marvin Elliott and Cole Skuse marshalled by former Celtic midfielder Paul Hartley.
Lee Johnson and Gavin Williams continue to wait in the wings with the three midfielders putting in excellent shifts at the heart of the Robins midfield.
City deploy a three pronged attack and they can welcome back dangerman Danny Haynes back to the attack following his serving of a one-match suspension at the weekend. He faces competition from David Clarkson and Ivan Sproule in wide areas with Nicky Maynard a certain starter upfront.
Player to watch: Nicky Maynard
Striker Nicky Maynard has been outlined by Vital QPR as the One to Watch ahead of tomorrow night`s fixture.
The former Crewe Alexandra man is the Robins record purchase and has shown in spells his capabilities to be deadly in front of goal. He is being tipped by many to shine this season for Bristol City.
To read our profile of the striker Click Here >>>
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Magilton bolstered his options between the sticks prior to the Plymouth Argyle fixture at the weekend with Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton on loan. He will not displace current stopper Radek Cerny who will continue against Bristol City.
At the back Fitz Hall, Damion Stewart and Matthew Connolly with be vying once again for a place alongside stalwart defender Kaspars Gorkss, while Peter Ramage and Gary Borrowdale seem undropable in their respective full-back berths.
Depending on what formation the R`s choose to deploy Rangers could opt for Akos Buzsaky once again on the left in light of the absence of Angelo Balanta, with Wayne Routledge occupying the position on the right wing.
In the middle and Magilton must surely rethink Gavin Mahon and Mikele Leigertwood who didn`t seem to link well with one another on Saturday. He may opt to play Akos Buzsaky alongside either of the pair with Adel Taarabt shifting over to the left, with Hogan Ephraim in close attention.
Upfront and Heidar Helguson will look to build on his goal at Plymouth, and he could be accompanied by either Patrick Agyemang or Rowan Vine who both came from the bench in the draw at Home Park. Alessandro Pellicori was an unused substitute but may get the opportunity to be the target-man that Rangers desired in the latter stages against the Pilgrims.
Alejandro Faurlín could be back in contention for his first appearance since joining the R`s from Instituto de Cordoba in the summer. The young Argentinean is yet to feature for Rangers owing to a thigh complaint.
Player to watch: Heidar Helguson
Heidar has come in for some criticism from sections of support for his evident shortcomings in front of goal in recent times, but he will have undoubtedly taken some confidence from his second strike in succession at Home Park.
The Icelandic international has a useful pedigree at Championship level but has never really found his feet in W12 following his move from Bolton Wanderers. A brief flurry of goals over the Christmas and New Year period was all he could offer in a fruitless end to the season.
Following his goal at Home Park it is hoped he will take some much-needed confidence into the game against Bristol City tomorrow, with his aerial ability a useful tool when used effectively. McCombe and Nyatanga will have a tough test if Heidar is on song.
The Stat Attack
HEAD 2 HEAD
Bristol City: 24
Queens Park Rangers: 30
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 21-03-2009
Queens Park Rangers: 2 (López 65, Taarabt 81)
Bristol City: 1 (McIndoe 77)
Team: Radek Cerny, Damien Delaney, Matthew Connolly (Heidar Helguson 61), Peter Ramage, Kaspars Gorkss, Mikele Leigertwood, Jordi López, Matteo Alberti (Wayne Routledge 46), Hogan Ephraim, Adel Taarabt, Samuel Di Carmine (Lee Cook 73)
Bristol City 0-1 Queens Park Rangers – 21-02-1981
Referee: Mr P Gibbs
Assistants: Mr H W Lennard & S J Phipps
Fourth Official: Mr S J Barrow
Mr Gibbs from the West Midlands will take charge of his first Rangers clash against Bristol City tomorrow at Ashton Gate.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
Without a doubt the R`s toughest test to date as Bristol City will provide great competition in the race for a playoff place throughout the season.
Despite the fact that Magilton`s men have yet to pick up their first league win, they remain undefeated and it seems a matter of time before that first win comes.
In Bristol City QPR face a difficult side, who are both stern at the back and benefit from a lively front line, with the likes of Maynard and Haynes providing great pace and power.
If Rangers can show the calibre of performance they have shown in recent games and combine this with the goals they have threatened then QPR could well achieve their first win of the campaign.
Boxer: 2-1 QPR
Superhoop50: 1-1 Draw
ImSitiv: 2-0 QPR
Lenny367: 1-0 QPR
GriffQPR: 2-0 QPR
Next Up In W12:
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Nottingham Forest
Date: Saturday August 22, 2009 – 3:00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London.