CARROW Road awaits once more for QPR, as off the back of yet more home cheer, Rangers face one of their most difficult prospects away from W12 in recent seasons.
Plain and simple, the R`s don`t beat Norwich at Carrow Road, in fact when selecting the match for ‘one day in history` it was slim pickings when looking for a victorious Rangers side.
During that era both sides were riding high in the top echelons of the English game, where as modern history has been played out by and large in the second tier, with the Canaries and the R`s making brief forays up and down respectively.
Norwich have seen their expectations wither away with their parachute payments, but consistent crowds have propelled them to Championship safety. One of the more tradition football sides in the Division, Norwich can boast a loyal set of supporters, certainly considering the product they have purported in recent seasons.
Former R`s midfielder Glenn Roeder is still the surprise man at the helm at Carrow Road and considering his record with clubs in the second season Norwich may be in for a rough ride this campaign.
View From The Bench
R`s boss Iain Dowie was full of praise for his side following the 4-1 win over Southampton on Sunday, but insists there is still more to come from his side,
“It’s not the best we’ve played, not by a long stretch, but we’ve won and that’s a great sign,” Dowie told QPR.co.uk
“What pleased me most is that Radek (Cerny) had very few saves to make, whilst we created a hatful of chances.”
“I don’t think we were at our best defensively, but having said that, they didn’t really get in behind us that often.” Dowie continued,
“We played far less football in the period after the sending off and allowed them back in to the game.”
“There was an anxiety, but we ground it out and got up to top speed late on.”
Dowie was full of praise for former Southampton striker Dexter Blackstock, who managed to bag a brace against his old club, but it was Dexter`s performance that delighted Dowie.
“Dexter was great” Dowie continued
“I think he plays as he trains – at a great intensity.”
“He ran in behind, won balls in the air and scored two great goals.”
“I thought the second goal was a very good finish. It sat up awkwardly for him but he finished with aplomb.”
Former Rangers midfielder and Norwich manager Glenn Roeder spoke following his side`s first Championship win of the season over Plymouth Argyle,
“I’m delighted with the win” Roeder told canaries.co.uk
“But we should have put them to the sword and scored five or six goals. Then we have this ridiculous situation when they score in the last 90 seconds and it doesn’t even bear thinking about if they had scored again.”
Roeder also took time out to praise individual players, notably loan strike force Arturo Lupoli and Antoine Sibierski,
‘He (Sibierski) made a big difference, he’s not just good in the air, he’s technically very gifted. He’s a really good professional as well and players like Arturo are hopefully going to learn from him.
‘I mention Arturo (Lupoli) there because I felt he took his goal really well.’
Norwich City Team News:
Darel Russell somehow soldiered through a double hernia operation to play virtually the full 90 minutes away at Plymouth Argyle, he will be looking to take his place for Wednesday fixture following his goal in last season`s meeting between the two sides.
Roeder was impressed with his line-up that took their first three points of the season down in the South-west and despite the fixtures coming thick and fast he may name an unchanged line-up tomorrow.
Roeder`s praise for the defensive unit of Omozusi, Bertrand, Kennedy and Stefanovic may ensure they remain untouched. Loanee Jonathan Grounds from Middlesbrough will also be pushing for a starting place.
Up top Antoine Sibierski and Arturo Lupoli are set to resume their impressive partnership despite former Rangers striker Jamie Cureton prowling the periphery.
Player to watch: Arturo Lupoli
Vital QPR new signing Nik outlined Arturo Lupoli as the man to watch tomorrow night.
To read Nik’s assesment click here.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Rangers welcome back Emmanuel Ledesma following suspension as the midfield department begins to split at the seams following the arrival of former Italian international Damiano Tommasi.
As for Tommasi himself, he still lacks the match fitness required in order to compete against the Canaries, with a more realistic target against Coventry and beyond.
Another midfielder Akos Buzsaky could be set to play his part in the squad that travels to Norfolk after his full recovery from ankle surgery in the summer. The Hungarian international could be set to make his first appearance of the season as Dowie may look to use his squad.
Players who took to the field in Martin Rowlands and Patrick Agyemang may get a start away at Norwich in a revised formation, but if Dowie persists with a successful lone striker model, Dexter Blackstock is certain to continue after a sensational performance against Southampton.
With the defensive unit by and large paying dividends Dowie is unlikely to shift the back four or the two in central midfield, meaning Kaspars Gorkss must make do with a place on the bench against one of the sides that targeted his signature in the summer.
Player to watch: Dexter Blacktock
Four goals in three games for Dexter Blackstock has made him a formidable opponent of late as the England Under 21 forward is beginning to prove his critics wrong.
Blackstock has relished his role as lone striker allowing his midfielders to join in with attacks. Doing enough work for two forwards Dexter has made the role his own, and his goals are the mark of a man that exhumes confidence.
Dexter has scored 23 goals in 79 league appearances for Rangers, and will be looking to add to his tally as the R`s face the task of re-creating the class of 1994.
QPR have got off to a good start to the Championship campaign, winning 3 games in 5, drawing 1 and losing 1. Rangers have also progressed to 3rd round of the Carling Cup after wins over Swindon Town and Carlisle United.
Rangers poor away form is well documented with only one away win in the calendar year of 2008 coming against Southampton back in February, making Rangers without a win in 9. This run seems that much more doomed when you consider Rangers have failed to win at Carrow Road in the last 8 attempts.
The Canaries have conceded 7 goals in their opening 5 fixtures in the Championship and were also dumped out of the Carling Cup by League One MK Dons. They currently lie in 17th with 3 draws, a win and a defeat.
Norwich are without a win at home this season after draws with Blackpool and Birmingham City. The Canaries proved last season they can be formidable at home when it counts, winning their last 3 home fixtures to get safe.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Norwich City: 41
Last time out
26th April 2008 – Carrow Road
Coca Cola Championship
Norwich City 3 (Evans 7, Fotheringham 56, Russell 83)
Rangers Team: Lee Camp, Michael Mancienne, Damion Stewart (Sent Off 5), Matthew Connolly, Damien Delaney, Gareth Ainsworth (Mikele Leigertwood 10), Gavin Mahon, Martin Rowlands, Hogan Ephraim (Zesh Rehman 10), Dexter Blackstock, Angelo Balanta.
Referee– Mr. R L Shoebridge
Assistants – Mr. S Creighton & Mr. J D A Hopkins
Fourth official – Mr. R Beevor
Rob Shoebridge will officiate Rangers midweek clash with Norwich this Wednesday.
To get all the stats concerning the official click here.
Rangers have started to put together some real form of late and are finally looking somewhere near potential play-off candidates. However the away form combined with the Norwich hoodoo will make things tough going; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-2 Draw
Who– Coventry City
Where– Ricoh Arena
When– Saturday 20th September 2008, 3:00pm.