RESURGENT Queens Park Rangers travel to Portman Road this weekend, a ground that has been one of the happier hunting grounds for the R`s in recent years.
The R’s have picked up a number of positive results in Ipswich winning 4 times in the last ten years.
Gareth Ainsworth`s men have bounced back to form in style, playing an attractive style of football and keeping three consecutive clean sheets.
Tuesday`s result against leaders Birmingham marked the turning of a corner for Rangers, as being down to ten men for the majority of the game, Rangers overhauled the odds to win the game, courtesy of a Samuel Di Carmine wonder-strike.
The tractor boys have hit a run of decent form of late, despite some sections of fans discontent with regard to the job Jim Magilton is doing at Portman Road.
A formidable home record last season, Ipswich faltered in the early stages of the current campaign, losing to Preston North End and leaders Wolves. Jim Magilton will be looking to get the boo boys off his back and pick up a positive result against resurgent QPR.
QPR caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth was delighted with the 1-0 victory over former leaders Birmingham City:
‘I’m a very proud man tonight.” Ainsworth told QPR.co.uk.
‘I believed we could win the game at the break and that’s why I chose to keep the two front-men on the pitch. It paid dividends and that’s because each and every player gave me and the club absolutely everything.
‘I acknowledge when a player gives 100 per-cent – if we go down, we go down fighting together, but that wasn’t the case tonight and we’ve beat one of the best, if not the best side in this division.’
Gareth was full of praise for goalscoring hero Samuel Di Carmine: ‘He proves time and again in training that he’s capable of something like that and I’m just delighted for him.
‘It was a fantastic strike – absolutely stunning.’
Mikele Leigertwood had his ban extended yesterday following a failed appeal against a dubious red card, Ainsworth wasn`t happy with the decision:
‘I thought it was a very harsh decision,’ he said.
‘We didn’t get many decisions go our way tonight, but that can’t detract from what was a whole-hearted, committed performance and a great, great victory.’
Ainsworth finished off by saying: ‘Without the commitment, we wouldn’t have won.
‘The boys are incredibly tight as a unit and you could see that with the way they performed.
‘To draw against Reading and then beat Birmingham within the space of four days is beyond my wildest dreams.’
Ipswich boss Jim Magilton believed that Tuesday`s opponents Charlton were there for the taking:
“It was two points dropped, no doubt about that, and there were a lot of disappointed faces in the dressing-room after the game. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot with some aspects of our play and it’s very frustrating.”
“We’ve got to learn and learn fast and the players have to show some mettle in what is sure to be another difficult game for us today against QPR.
“They are having one of their best starts to a season for a while so I was surprised that Iain Dowie left the club recently. There has been a lot of speculation about why he left Rangers, with reports suggesting that he wasn’t having total control of team selection.
“Iain is a close friend of mine, and knowing him as well as I do, if that was the case then he wouldn’t accept that and would see it as a matter of principle. I’d be the same myself.”
Ipswich Town Team News:
Ipswich have a couple of absentees as they host Rangers at Portman Road. Former Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher is sidelined with a torn thigh muscle while Jamie Peters has only recently resumed light training following a knee ligament injury.
Danny Haynes remains a doubt ahead of the fixture with an abdominal strain, and is rated 50/50 for tomorrow`s fixture.
Pablo Counago looks set to battle it out with Jon Stead once more in competition for a place alongside former R`s loanee Kevin Lisbie. The Spanish forward replaced Stead in the 63rd minute against Charlton Athletic midweek.
Player to watch: Kevin Lisbie
Sandydl has identified Kevin Lisbie as Ipswich`s one to watch tomorrow afternoon.
For the full report on the former R`s loanee Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth once again has a selection headache ahead of the R`s trip to Portman Road tomorrow.
The only omissions from the side are long term absentee Rowan Vine, as well as makeshift full back Mikele Leigertwood who had his appeal against a red card quashed.
Patrick Agyemang remains a doubt ahead of the R`s trip to Norfolk with a pelvic strain. Other than that Rangers have a full compliment of players to pick from with either Peter Ramage, Matthew Connolly or Martin Rowlands due to slot in to the vacant right full back role.
Gavin Mahon is set to continue his central midfield role alongside Damiano Tommasi should Martin Rowlands revert to full back. The flourishing partnership between Samuel Di Carmine and Dexter Blackstock looks set to continue in the face of limited strikers to rival their positions.
The backbone of the R`s defence will continue with a view to attaining their fourth clean sheet in succession. Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart has established a good understanding and are due to continue their partnership this weekend.
Player to watch: Damiano Tommasi
The former Roma and Italian international midfielder performed outstandingly during the week playing the full ninety minutes when not deemed anywhere near fit enough by former boss Iain Dowie a week previous.
Damiano came to Rangers with a big reputation along with the adulation of QPR Italia, but failed to make a single first team appearance since his arrival in mid-September.
Combative midfielder Damiano Tommasi has plied his trade at the top level of the Italian game for a number of years. Beginning with Hellas Verona, Tommasi made his name playing for Roma, for whom he won the Italian title in 2001.
A horrible knee injury courtesy of Gerry Taggart in a friendly against Stoke City threatened to ruin the midfielder`s career, as he himself instigated a contract to put him on youth team wages, a gesture that won the hearts of many of the Roma fans.
He moved on to Levante in Spain where he made 44 appearances, bagging a goal, before moving onto pastures new and W12, he had spent two years with Levante.
He is no stranger to the international, making 25 international appearances scoring a solitary goal.
Damiano is a roll model to all young Italian as his wages contribute to charity and he currently heads an initiative seeing players fines also go to charitable causes.
Match Facts & Stats
Ipswich Town: Last 5 Games: L D D W D
QPR: Last 5 Games: L W D D W
Rangers have kept three consecutive clean sheets, including two tough encounters against Reading and former leaders Birmingham City. For all of Rangers defensive success, they are struggling to catch the eye in front of goal, scoring only three goals in October.
Ipswich by contrast have scored 8 goals this month, but their problem comes in defence conceding 7 goals, with home draws against rock bottom Nottingham Forest and more recently Charlton Athletic.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Ipswich Town: 24
Last time out
Saturday 29th March 2008 – Portman Road
Coca Cola Championship
Ipswich Town 0
Rangers Team: Lee Camp, Michael Mancienne, Matthew Connolly, Fitz Hall, Damion Stewart, Hogan Ephraim (Angelo Balanta 89), Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood (Martin Rowlands 57), Rowan Vine (Kieran Lee 65), Dexter Blackstock, Patrick Agyemang.
See also: One Day In History – Ipswich Town 1999-00.
Referee– Mr T Kettle
Assistants – Mr R Lee & Mr P C Martin
Fourth official – Mr G J N Gerden
Trevor Kettle from Berkshire will officiate the R`s visit to Portman Road this weekend.
To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
Rangers are riding the crest of a wave at this moment in time, and they travel to a tough place in Portman Road. However in recent games the signs are showing that Rangers are a side that are well motivated and organised, and the goals will soon follow; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-0 Rangers
Who– Cardiff City
Where– Loftus Road, London
When– Saturday November 8 – 3:00pm