QUEENS Park Rangers travel to the City Ground tomorrow night where old faces once again lock horns in a top half battle.
While the headlines surround Dexter Blackstock and Lee Camp set to face off against their former employers, Mick Harford and Nigel Quashie also return to their old stamping ground.
Quashie’s short stay at the City Ground proved unsuccessful as the heavy £2.5m price-tag saw him underperform in David Platt’s side – while Mick Harford had a short stint as caretaker manager after assisting the unpopular Joe Kinnear.
While history may be a poignant discussion point, the present is more prevalent, with Forest blazing a trail towards the Premier League with a string of key signings and outstanding performances.
Forest have only suffered three league defeats all season, coupled with an impressive defensive record of 20 goals conceded. Central to their fortune has been some excellent talent in the attacking third with former R’s man Blackstock and Robert Earnshaw both hitting eight goals.
Their inspired win over West Bromwich Albion has seen them propelled alongside Newcastle United as Championship front-runners, but time will tell if they can keep this consistency until the end of the campaign.
Rangers meanwhile will be looking to prove the vast inconsistency of the Championship by pulling off what would be a shock victory at the City Ground tomorrow.
Blackpool 2 (Adam 9, Taylor-Fletcher 77)
QPR 2 (Taarabt 55pen, Connolly 84)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Fitz Hall (Peter Ramage 77), Kaspars Gork?s, Matt Connolly, Wayne Routledge, Mikele Leigertwood, Alejandro Faurlín (Antonio German 80), Ákos Buzsáky (Hogan Ephraim 46), Adel Taarabt, Patrick Agyemang.
Nottingham Forest 2 (Anderson 11, Earnshaw 41)
Reading 1 (Kebe 90)
Team: Lee Camp, Wes Morgan, Kelvin Wilson, Chris Gunter, Nicky Shorey (Sent Off 68), Chris Cohen, Paul Anderson, Paul McKenna, Radosław Majewski (Luke Chambers 80), Dexter Blackstock (Nathan Tyson 83), Rob Earnshaw (James Perch 70)
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Forest have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the clash with QPR, but will be without the suspended loanee Nicky Shorey tomorrow night.
Lee Camp will begin in goal behind a changed back four – with either Chris Cohen or Chris Gunter reverting to left back in a formation shift.
This could prompt James Perch to fill a potential void at right back or David McGoldrick to come in on the flank should Cohen drop back.
The central defensive partnership of Kelvin Wilson and Wes Morgan is set to continue while the central midfield will see Paul McKenna partner Radosław Majewski in the middle with Lewis McGugan and Guy Moussi pressing for a starting spot.
Paul Anderson have proven himself a fine talent down the right flank with the left-midfield position open for grabs should Cohen slot into left-back.
The strike force seems destined to see Dexter Blackstock start against his former club – while his partner could be either Rob Earnshaw or Dele Adebola, who has a good track record against Rangers.
Perch – Wilson – Morgan – Gunter
Anderson – McKenna – Majewski – Cohen
Blackstock – Earnshaw
Player to watch: Dexter Blackstock
Former Rangers striker Dexter Blackstock looks set to face the R’s once again tomorrow night, as he looks to compound the visitors’ indifferent form.
The striker already has eight goals to his name this campaign as Forest have hit top form in the Championship – in particular the opener against West Brom was a crucial strike in Forest’s season so far.
After three popular years at Loftus Road, Blackstock left under a cloud with former boss Paulo Sousa getting the axe after revealing details of his transfer to Nottingham Forest.
All the politics matters little as he looks to prove a point to his critics and fire Forest into a serious challenge for top spot.
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Mick Harford will have undoubtedly been impressed by Rangers’ second half showing at Blackpool and may make changes accordingly for Tuesday night.
Carl Ikeme should continue in goal in front of Radek Černý, after a good display at Bloomfield Road, with Kaspars Gork?s and Damion Stewart certain to start at the heart of defence.
Fitz Hall is rumoured to be departing the club and Matt Connolly should take his place at right-back, with Matt Hill coming in for his Rangers debut at left-back.
Wayne Routledge looks set to stay in W12 and will start wide right at the City Ground, with Hogan Ephraim surely set to step into the side ahead of Ákos Buzsáky.
Nigel Quashie will look to break into the side after re-signing, with Alejandro Faurlín and Mikele Leigertwood looking to retain their spots.
Jay Simpson is sure to come into the side with Adel Taarabt the force behind the solitary front-man with Lee Cook poised to line-up on the bench after returning from injury.
Martin Rowlands (knee), Gavin Mahon (knee) and Gareth Ainsworth (calf) are sidelined long-term.
Possible line up:
Connolly – Stewart – Gork?s – Hill
Routledge – Quashie – Leigertwood – Ephraim
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt is an incredibly talented player and he will be looking to weave his magic once more in a bid to haul QPR into the playoff places.
The Moroccan international performed outstandingly against Blackpool, drawing applause from the home support at times as he stood head and shoulders above most on the field.
He will be a key player as the two sides clash at the City Ground and could be the difference maker if Rangers are to cause a shock tomorrow night.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Nottingham Forest: W D W L W
Queens Park Rangers: W L D L D
HEAD 2 HEAD
Nottingham Forest: 24
Queens Park Rangers: 14
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 22-08-2009
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Leigertwood 25)
Nottingham Forest 1 (McGoldrick 57)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Fitz Hall (Kaspars Gork?s 46), Damion Stewart, Gary Borrowdale, Wayne Routledge, Alejandro Damián Faurlín, Mikele Leigertwood, Adel Taarabt (Ákos Buzsáky 66), Heidar Helguson, Alessandro Pellicori (Rowan Vine 61).
QPR 3-1 Nottingham Forest – 14-03-1987
Nottingham Forest 2-2 QPR – 28-10-1989
Referee: Mr Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)
Assistants: Mr Mark Brown (E. Yorkshire) & Mr Andy Madley (W. Yorkshire)
Fourth Official: Mr Ian Smedley (Derbyshire)
Eddie Ilderton of Tyne and Wear will take charge of Rangers trip to the City Ground tomorrow night
He has taken charge of Rangers twice before in away fixtures, against Wigan Athletic and Barnsley, games which were both drawn.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
Rangers seemed to hit a useful formula in the second half at Blackpool, and a continuation of that form could well see them raise a few eyebrows at the City Ground.
The R’s have an abundance of attacking talent, and should never be counted out in the final third, while grit has been installed in the guise of Hill and Quashie during the week.
Granted it would be surprise if the R’s were to pull off a victory, but it’s certainly not out of the question should Forest take the R’s for granted.
Teams: QPR v Scunthorpe United
Date: Saturday January 30, 2010 – 3.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London