A NEW game and a new era as Paul Hart and Mick Harford take the helm for their first fixture against Sheffield United this weekend.
After a spirited point against West Bromwich Albion during the week, Rangers must now continue their hard-working form under the former Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest boss.
In the Blades Rangers face a side also on the cusp of a playoff place, going undefeated in their last six games after an indifferent start to the season.
Expensive summer signings such as Ched Evans have failed to impress thus far with only three strikes in 20 appearances for the Blades – as Blackwell now looks to build his squad on loan talent.
Indeed he had so much borrowed talent he sent back Blackburn’s Keith Treacy and Stoke’s Andrew Davies, to refine his match-day options for loan players – only five allowed to feature in the squad.
Rangers must now look to pick up their first home win in five, and dispel the 5-1 humbling by Middlesbrough the last time they played in W12.
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Thomas 67, Cox 90+4)
Queens Park Rangers: 2 (Olsson 56og, Gork?s 62)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Routledge, Patrick Agyemang (Alessandro Pellicori 84), Kaspars Gork?s, Ben Watson, Tom Williams, Jay Simpson (Fitz Hall 90), Adel Taarabt (Alejandro Faurlín 81).
Sheffield United: 2 (Williamson 21, Quinn 90)
Crystal Palace 0
Team: Mark Bunn, Chris Morgan, Matthew Kilgallon, Andrew Taylor, Kyle Walker, Stephen Quinn, Lee Williamson, James Harper, Richard Cresswell, Jamie Ward (Henri Camara 87), Ched Evans (Jordan Stewart 80)
QPR Team News:
Paul Hart must have been given encouragement from Rangers’ display on Monday against West Brom and may decide not to tinker too much with a dogged side.
Radek Černý should remain in goal despite picking up an ankle knock with Kaspars Gork?s and Damion Stewart seemingly now the preferred partnership. Fitz Hall remains in close attendance while Matthew Connolly faces a late fitness test on a pelvic injury.
Tommy Williams and Peter Ramage could continue in their respective full back berths after impressing against West Brom, but Gary Borrowdale may well return after a late fitness test on an abdominal injury.
Mikele Leigertwood and Ben Watson have seen their central midfield partnership flourish in recent games and will continue once more in the absence of Ákos Buzsáky (knee) and Alejandro Faurlín and the returning Steven Reid having to be content with a place on the bench.
Wayne Routledge is a certain starter on the right flank, but whether Paul decides to play Adel Taarabt or Jay Simpson on the left will dictate the R’s formation. Against West Brom it was Simpson that played wide with Adel behind lone front-man Patrick Agyemang.
As mentioned Agyemang has become rejuvenated up front and will be looking to continue, while Angelo Balanta picked up some minutes in the reserves and will be in the squad against the side who he scored his first professional goal.
Martin Rowlands (knee), Gavin Mahon (knee), Lee Cook (knee) remain sidelined despite the latter progressing well in his rehabilitation.
Possible line up:
Ramage – Stewart – Gork?s – Williams
Routledge – Watson – Leigertwood – Taarabt
Agyemang – Simpson
Player to watch: Wayne Routledge
Wayne Routledge has shown glimpses of his capabilities in recent weeks, but will be looking to put United to the sword at Loftus Road this weekend.
The R’s wide-man has been in sporadic form this season – while being one of the Championship’s finest talents in the early stages of this season, his form has waned somewhat in recent games.
His solo effort against West Brom nearly paid dividends and put the game beyond the Baggies, only to be denied by a smart save from Dean Kiely. Rangers will look to use the key outlet of Routledge to attack a stubborn United rearguard.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
Sheffield United Team News:
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Kevin Blacked refused to name ‘at least one player’ who will miss this weekend’s clash with QPR owing to a bout of gastroenteritis, while there is better news for Nick Montgomery who returns from suspension.
The Blades will continue with Mark Bunn in goal with Blackwell seeking to extend his loan from parent club Blackburn Rovers, while the formidable partnership of Matthew Kilgallon and Chris Morgan line-up at the centre of defence.
Jordan Stewart will be pushing former QPR loanee Andrew Taylor for the left back berth, while Kyle Walker should continue at right-back with utility man Ryan France giving Blackwell options from the bench.
Jamie Ward should continue down the right once more after a useful display against Palace, while Glenn Little is forced to wait on the sidelines – meanwhile Stephen Quinn is a shoe in for the other flank after a man of the match display last weekend.
James Harper and Lee Williamson should be the preferred option in midfield, with Ched Evans and Richard Cresswell starting up top in the continued absence of talisman Darius Henderson.
Walker – Morgan – Kilgallon – Taylor
Ward – Williamson – Harper – Quinn
Evans – Cresswell
Player to watch: TBA
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: L D L L D
Sheffield United: W W W D W
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 15
Sheffield United: 13
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 04-05-2008
Queens Park Rangers: 0
Sheffield United: 0
Team: Radek Cerny, Matthew Connolly, Damion Stewart Kaspars Gork?s, Damien Delaney, Jordi López, Mikele Leigertwood (Hogan Ephraim 81), Liam Miller (Matteo Alberti 54), Wayne Routledge, Samuel Di Carmine (Angelo Balanta 76), Dexter Blackstock.
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sheffield United – 25-10-1975
Referee: Mr Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)
Assistants: Mr Barry Holderness (Essex) & Mr Adrian Sannerude (Suffolk)
Fourth Official: Mr Gary Evetts (Hertfordshire)
Mr Swarbrick has taken charge of Rangers five times in his career, presiding over two QPR wins against Leicester City and Barnsley.
He has also sent off Hogan Ephraim in a defeat against Sheffield Wednesday while also officiating the last clash between United and QPR at Loftus Road.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
This will be one of Rangers more tougher home opposition this season, particularly in light of the Blades scintillating recent form.
They dispatched of Crystal Palace at the weekend with relative ease and will be looking to continue their fine run of form on Saturday.
Rangers meanwhile have to bounce back after some poor recent home form, and put in a similar calibre of display as they did away at West Brom.
It may well hinge on Hart’s team selection as they team seem to grow in confidence when Kaspars Gork?s and Damion Stewart are afforded a central defensive partnership.
It will no doubt be a keenly-contested affair, where the first goal will be crucial.
jezza99: 1-1 Draw
beforerodey: 3-1 QPR
nomar: 2-1 QPR
southernhoop: 1-1 Draw
Superhoop50: 1-0 QPR
cartouche: 7-0 QPR
Teams: QPR v Bristol City
Date: Saturday December 26, 2009 – 3.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London