BRISTOL City remain within touching distance of a playoff place as they travel to Loftus Road this Saturday.
The Robins have traditionally been a side that start the season on fire then fall away dramatically, but this season City want to prove they have the staying power in the race for the Premier League.
The team ethic that Gary Johnson has installed at Ashton Gate has suffered no fools with players such as Michael Mifsud and Emad Metab having their prospective deals cancelled after failing to share Johnson`s vision for the club.
After narrowly missing out on the top flight courtesy of a Dean Windass blockbuster, City are looking to build on yet another positive season in the second tier which they hope will culminate with a coveted Premier League place.
This weekend`s fixture could go a long way to deciding where the Robins` future lies next season as they look to hunt down sixth placed Cardiff City for spot in the playoff lottery.
View From The Bench
Rangers boss Paulo Sousa told QPR.co.uk that his Rangers side were tactically astute in their 1-0 victory over Swansea City.
He said: ‘Tactically, we were perfect tonight, because each and every player did their jobs to a very high standard.
‘We’ve had a lot of critics and a lot of adversities with injuries – but we showed tonight that if you believe, you will succeed.
‘We showed great unity this evening and that is what is required against a side like Swansea, who – as I’ve said from my first week in the job – play the best football in the division.
‘It is an important victory – and a very pleasing one given the way we played.’
Bristol City boss Gary Johnson spoke to bcfc.co.uk believing his side edged their 1-1 home draw with Cardiff City.
He said: ‘It is difficult not to be disappointed to have three points taken from you in unfortunate circumstances.
‘We did well enough in the second half to earn the result. I thought whoever scored first would be the winners because both sets of defenders were very strong
‘It means we will find it difficult to catch Cardiff, they are probably out of our mini-league but we will wait and see what happens in the next round of results.
‘We haven’t lost and have gained another point – we’ve got to be positive because our boys have to go into the next few games looking to win them.’
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
With Sousa`s men triumphant during the week he may well be reluctant to tinker with his side despite the imminent return of Rowan Vine and Wayne Routledge.
Radek Cerny will continue in goal with Damien Delaney going head to head with Damion Stewart for Fitz Hall`s vacant spot in the back four. The former Wigan man picked up a knock against Swansea and will be rested this weekend, and Sousa may decide to either bring back Stewart in his stead or push Matthew Connolly across with Delaney covering at left back.
Into midfield and Jordi Lòpez is likely to keep his holding role with Mikele Leigertwood and Hogan Ephraim set to continue just infront after a positive display during the week. Matteo Alberti will be fighting for his place with the returning Wayne Routledge while Adel Taarabt is nailed on to start on the left after an outstanding game against the Swans.
Upfront Sousa is likely to go with one striker and looks set to switch Samuel Di Carmine for Heidar Helguson after an energy sapping performance from the young Italian midweek, while Dexter Blackstock remains sidelined with a knock.
Gavin Mahon and Liam Miller will be on the periphery once more along with several youngsters including Angelo Balanta, Antonio German and Romone Rose also pushing for a place in the squad. Rowan Vine also deserves a mention as he is likely to take his place in the 16 once more.
Long-term absentees Akos Buzsaky and Martin Rowlands will be missing with their respective knee injuries while Patrick Agyemang steps up his rehabilitation from a thigh injury.
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Adel proved during the week what a key asset he could be to Rangers if they are to finish the season on a high. Should he continue to contribute the same level of performance then there seems no reason why the R`s cannot kick on for a late playoff push.
Consistency will be the key to Rangers and Taarabt`s fortunes in the Championship – should he uphold the standards set on Tuesday against Swansea it promises much for Rangers for the rest of the campaign.
Adel`s trickery and skill tangled a useful defence in knots, with his creativity and guile at the forefront of the R`s every attack. He wowed the Loftus Road crowd with his skills and he even rubbed off on central midfielder Hogan Ephraim who responded in kind.
The Tottenham loanee showed his capabilities during the week, and his performance will go a long way to deciding the outcome tomorrow afternoon.
To view Adel`s profile Click Here >>>
Bristol City Team News:
The Robins have several injury concerns going into the fixture in W12. Marvin Elliott (groin), Izzy Iriekpen (groin), David Noble (strain) all remain doubtful with Gavin Williams forced to withdraw from the draw against Cardiff City with a calf injury.
Stalwart defender Louis Carey will also be missing from tomorrow`s clash after picking up his tenth bookable offence on Sunday and a defensive reshuffle should see the back four relatively undisturbed with Jamie McAllister, Jamie McCombe, Liam Fontaine and Bradley Orr set to make up the back four.
With Gavin Williams withdrawing from action Cole Skuse will replace him in the centre of midfield alongside Lee Johnson. Stern John and Nicky Maynard are fighting for their places with Dele Adebola and Peter Styvar waiting in the wings.
Long-term absentees Christian Ribeiro (knee) and Brian Wilson (shin splints) will not feature.
Team v Cardiff City:Adriano Basso, Louis Carey, Jamie McCombe, Liam Fontaine, Bradley Orr, Gavin Williams (Cole Skuse 50), Lee Johnson, Michael McIndoe, Jamie McAllister, Stern John (Dele Adebola 56), Nicky Maynard (Peter Styvar 89).
Player to watch: Nicky Maynard
Vital QPR has singled out striker Nicky Maynard as the One to Watch as the R`s host Bristol City tomorrow afternoon.
To view all the stats on the One To Watch Click Here >>>
QPR: Last 5 Games: L D L D W
Bristol City: Last 5 Games: D L L W D
Rangers finally got back to winning ways on Tuesday, their first in ten, and also managed to score their first goal in five matches as many unwanted records were thrown out against Swansea City. It was the R`s first win in eight attempts in all competitions.
The Robins have managed to stem the tide of two successive defeats to re-ignite their playoff chase. Both those defeats came on the road against Birmingham City and Derby County and the R`s will be looking to make it three in a row.
Lenny367 has all the stats in The Stat-Attack >>>.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Bristol City: 24
Last Time Out
Saturday 30th August 2008 – Ashton Gate
Coca Cola Championship
Bristol City 1 (Adebola 25)
QPR 1 (Blackstock 18)
Rangers Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Matt Connolly, Damien Delaney, Emmanuel Ledesma, Mikele Leigertwood, Gavin Mahon, Lee Cook (Martin Rowlands 54), Daniel Parejo (Patrick Agyemang 76), Dexter Blackstock.
See Also: Bristol City 1-2 QPR – 11-11-72.
See also: QPR 4-0 Bristol City – 27-09-80.
Referee– Mr G Hegley
Assistants – Mr R Lee & Mr S J Long
Fourth official – Mr M F Thompson
Mr Grant Hegley from Hertfordshire will officiate the R`s clash with Bristol City tomorrow afternoon.
To get all the stats on the official Click Here >>>.
After an excellent win during the week the expectancy level would have rose in W12 as Bristol City visit once again. A side that are rarely triumphant at Loftus Road, City will be looking for the maximum to keep their fleeting playoff hopes alive.
Should the crowd get behind the side and really get the place rocking as it usually is against the Robins then the potential for victory will be maximised; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
Southernhoop`s Prediction: 2-1 Rangers
Next Up In W12:
Who– Crystal Palace
Where– Loftus Road
When– Saturday 4th April 2009 – 3:00pm