SHEFFIELD Wednesday are the visitors to Loftus Road as managerless Queens Park Rangers look to bounce back from a disappointing away defeat at Burnley.
The Owls visit Loftus Road with both sides having to settle on mid-table mediocrity, but given Wednesday`s current boardroom plight it could be seen as much craved stability at Hillsborough.
Former chairman Dave Allen doesn`t anticipate the club with change hands soon with any potential owner having to re-pay Allen a reported £2 million – so far nothing has come near this total.
Current chairman Lee Stafford anticipates further interest in the club going into the summer – adding Howard Wilkinson to the backroom staff to help Brian Laws stabilise matters on the field.
One win in seven games has seen Laws` men slip out of the playoff race in recent weeks, that victory however has seen Norwich slip perilously into the relegation mire.
In Rangers they face a side in turmoil having ousted their second boss of the season last week. Paulo Sousa’s departure has prompted some unrest at Rangers with a hot reception expected for the hierarchy from sections of the Loftus Road crowd.
The R`s defeat at Turf Moor was their first in five games as Sousa appeared to be turning the tide in a mini-revival for Rangers. The lack of strikers became evident at the weekend as caretaker Gareth Ainsworth was forced to deploy a 4-6-0 formation in the latter stages of the fixture.
Both sides will have only pride to play as the two mid-table sides clash on Easter Monday in W12.
View From The Bench
‘Burnley’s always a tough place to come but the lads battled away to the final second. I have a lot of respect for Owen Coyle and what he’s trying to do here, they are a well organised side and I’m very proud of the boys.
‘We can still affect things at both ends of the table. We have Wolves, Preston and Plymouth who are all scrapping for points at both ends of the table. But more importantly I want them to play with smiles on their faces and show what they’re made of.’
‘We changed the dynamics of our team in the second half and looked much more threatening but we just couldn’t get the ball over the line,’ he said. ‘We had enough chances to win the game without playing really great football but I felt we had the ascendancy in the game and could have won it.
‘I can’t have a go at the players effort and commitment in the second half. We went a bit more direct looking for those opportunities to score and we would have been happy to go away with a result from that but it wasn’t to be so we will just have to look to get back to winning ways on Monday at QPR.’
‘It can sometimes happen that teams can play better away from home and I think that’s where we are at right now.
‘It’s difficult to put a finger on why that is but whatever the reason, it gives us the confidence to go away and play some good football and win games.
‘QPR play an open game so it should be a good one and hopefully we can get another win.’
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
A punishing Easter schedule could prompt QPR caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth to make changes to the side that was defeated up at Burnley yesterday.
Radek Cerny will sit behind what should be an unchanged back four, with Kaspars Gorkss and Matthew Connolly highly impressive in their central defensive berths. Peter Ramage and Damien Delaney are unlikely to be replaced at full back.
Into the midfield and Jordi López will be fighting to regain his central role ahead of Mikele Leigertwood and Hogan Ephraim in a new look 4-4-2 formation. Adel Taarabt and Wayne Routledge occupied the flanks against Burnley and Lee Cook and Matteo Alberti pushing them close for tomorrow`s fixture.
Rangers` attacking line is looking more depleted by the day with Rowan Vine and Samuel Di Carmine the only strikers named in the 16 on Saturday. This came as Dexter Blackstock netted the winner for Nottingham Forest against Bristol City.
Angelo Balanta will surely have to be included in tomorrow`s squad as Rangers were forced into a 4-6-0 formation owing to their lack of strike power.
Player to watch: Rowan Vine
Vine will be looking to start his second game in succession and Rangers` profligate form in front of goal to rights. The former Portsmouth and Birmingham City striker has recovered sufficiently from his broken leg to play the majority of the game against Burnley at the weekend.
He will be one of many players with a point to prove against Wednesday after some disappointing displays from the R`s forward line. He and Samuel Di Carmine were the partnership of choice against the Clarets – but a lack of service combined with wasteful finishing saw the R`s go goalless once more.
Rowan will continue to look for his first goal of the season as the R`s host the Owls this weekend and will be an integral figure to any possible success Rangers have on Easter Monday.
To view Rowan`s profile Click Here >>>
Sheffield Wednesday Team News:
Lee Grant will continue between the sticks behind a back four comprising of Richard Wood and Richard Hinds with Lewis Buxton looking to continue his excellent form at right full back.
Tommy Spurr will look return to the line-up following his one match suspension served against Derby County fighting for his left back berth with former Rangers loanee Frankie Simek.
Former Liverpool midfielder Darren Potter will couple with James O`Connor in the centre of midfield with free-kick specialist Etienne Esajas battling for a place on the left with Jermaine Johnson, while Sean McAllister will look to attack down the right.
Leon Clarke will be looking to re-gain his starting place up front after coming on for over half an hour at the weekend. He will look to oust Francis Jeffers to partner dangerman Marcus Tudgay in what was a formidable partnership until Clarke`s hamstring injury.
Long-term absentees Michael Gray (shoulder) and Steve Watson (hip) will have to sit out the remainder of the season.
Team v Derby: Lee Grant, Lewis Buxton, Richard Wood, Richard Hinds, Frankie Simek, Sean McAllister, Darren Potter, James O’Connor (Leon Clarke 55), Jermaine Johnson (Etienne Esajas 68), Marcus Tudgay, Francis Jeffers (Akpo Sodje 55).
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
Vital QPR has singled out striker Marcus Tudgay as the One to Watch as the R`s host Sheffield Wednesday on Easter Monday.
To view all the stats on the One To Watch Click Here >>>
QPR: Last 5 Games: D W W D L
Sheffield Wednesday: Last 5 Games: D D D W L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Sheffield Wednesday: 27
LAST TIME OUT
Tuesday December 9, 2008 – Hillsborough
Coca Cola Championship
Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Clarke 75)
Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss, Damien Delaney (Fitz Hall 88), Patrick Agyemang, Gavin Mahon (Samuel Di Carmine 79), Mikele Leigertwood, Martin Rowlands, Hogan Ephraim (Lee Cook 55), Heidar Helguson.
Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 QPR – 14-11-1981
QPR 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday 06-04-1971
Referee– Mr D Deadman
Assistants – Mr J M Hayto and Mr G R Young
Fourth official – Mr W Bull
Mr Darren Deadman from Cheshunt will officiate the R`s clash with Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow afternoon.
To get all the stats on the official Click Here >>>
Gareth Ainsworth won`t have taken to defeat to kindly and he will be looking to take a positive recent home record into the fixture tomorrow afternoon.
Rangers are now four unbeaten at home with Ainsworth looking to call upon the spirit shown in his previous caretaker tenure at Loftus Road when a battling QPR defeated Birmingham City with ten men.
Wednesday are, like Rangers, a somewhat inconsistent outfit and the R`s should seek to take all three points to help them secure a deserved top half finish; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
Ranger1975`s Prediction: 2-1 Owls
Sandydl`s Prediction: 2-0 Rangers
Southernhoop`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
LeeCookFan`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
Who– Wolverhampton Wanderers
When– Saturday 18th April 2009 – 3:00pm