WORDS such as crisis and free-fall have never been too far from Loftus Road, and as Rangers travel to face Coventry City this weekend they face their latest stern test.
The R’s have fallen a long way this campaign, and this weekend they are once again searching for a must needed win to avoid dropping into the relegation zone.
The realisation of Rangers’ plight could be sealed on Sunday should results go against them, and a place in the bottom three the reward for a torrid run of results since the turn of the year.
Mick Harford labelled his side as ‘totally inept’ following the latest in a string of defeats, and despite an improvement in the second period it will take all their resolve to pick up the maximum this weekend.
Chris Coleman’s Coventry can look to an excellent midweek win over Nottingham Forest, and the loan signing of West Ham United youngster Freddy Sears to bolster them before the clash.
It doesn’t make the prospect of travelling to the Ricoh Arena any more appetising, but given the current situation of the club they will need all the support they can get in what is sure to be a tense 90 minutes.
QPR 1 (Simpson 66)
Ipswich Town 2 (Norris 8, Murphy 38)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart, Matt Hill, Hogan Ephraim (Adel Taarabt 46), Nigel Quashie (Ákos Buzsáky), Alejandro Faurlín, Lee Cook, Marcus Bent (Rowan Vine 10), Jay Simpson.
Coventry City 1 (Eastwood 25)
Nottingham Forest 0
Team: Kieren Westwood, Martin Cranie, James McPake, Richard Wood, Stephen Wright, David Bell (Carl Baker 81), Sammy Clingan, Michael McIndoe, Aron Gunnarsson (Gary Deegan 63), Freddy Eastwood, Clinton Morrison.
Coventry City Team News:
Coventry have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this weekend’s clash with QPR, and in fact have strengthened their line-up in the emergency loan window.
The Sky Blues should start with Kieren Westwood in goal – managing to retain the ‘keepers services for another window – with defenders Richard Wood and James McPake set to continue in the middle.
Former QPR loanee Martin Cranie is set to start at left-back with Stephen Wright – sent off in the side’s last two meetings – will continue on the right. Leon Barnett and Chris Hussey will have to bide their time on the bench.
David Bell is in fine form at present and will start on the right wing, with former Bristol City winger Michael McIndoe on the left and the influential Sammy Clingan and Aron Gunnarsson through the middle. Carl Baker and Gary Deegan will look to play more of a role than the cameo on Tuesday.
The strike force shouldn’t be set to change either with Clinton Morrison and Freddy Eastwood forging an understanding up top – loan signing Freddy Sears set to make an impact from the bench.
Wright – McPake – Wood – Cranie
Bell – Gunnarsson – Clingan – McIndoe
Eastwood – Morrison
Player to watch: Clinton Morrison
R’s nemesis Clinton Morrison has been selected by LeeCookFan as the One to Watch ahead of the clash this weekend.
The Sky Blues front-man has always had a good record playing against Rangers in his career for both Coventry and Crystal Palace.
There is always excellent banter between he and the QPR fans, as the forward is relishing the prospect of facing the R’s once more.
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Harford will undoubtedly look to make changes once more with the poor first half performance against Ipswich at the forefront of supporters’ memories.
Carl Ikeme should continue in goal with Radek Černý having to play second fiddle. Kaspars Gork?s and should be partnered by Matt Connolly, with Peter Ramage returning from suspension to oust Damion Stewart – Matt Hill and Gary Borrrowdale vie for the left-back spot.
Ákos Buzsáky and Adel Taarabt will surely come into the reckoning after being left out of the starting line-up against Ipswich, with Lee Cook another destined starter for Harford’s side, alongside either Alejandro Faurlín or the under-performing Nigel Quashie.
With Marcus Bent sidelined (hamstring) Tamás Priskin is set to partner top scorer Jay Simpson in what is set to be an attacking line-up at the Ricoh Arena.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain sidelined, with no word on the possible return date for the influential latter.
Possible line up:
Connolly – Gork?s – Stewart – Hill
Taarabt – Buzsáky – Faurlín – Cook
Priskin – Simpson
Player to watch: Lee Cook
Lee Cook once again is the man that Rangers will look to this weekend in the absence of any genuine threat in terms of cutting edge and craft.
The wide-man has proven his importance in recent fixtures not only in terms of his play but also as a diplomat, with a self-professed QPR fan keeping his fellow R’s relatively contented with his performances.
His crossing has created a constant threat in recent games with only the profligacy of the R’s strike force stopping them from converting the pin point crossing from Cook’s boot.
To view his career profile Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Coventry City: L D D D W
Queens Park Rangers: D L L L L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Coventry City: 43
Queens Park Rangers: 24
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 28-11-2009
Queens Park Rangers 2 (Simpson 35, Buzsáky 69)
Coventry City 2 (Best 16, Wood 89)
Team: Radek Černý, Mikele Leigertwood, Fitz Hall, Matthew Connolly, Gary Borrowdale, Ben Watson, Alejandro Damián Faurlín, Adel Taarabt (Steven Reid 80) Ákos Buzsáky, Wayne Routledge, Jay Simpson.
Coventry City 0-3 QPR – 22-04-1989
QPR 2-0 Coventry City – 02-11-1974
Referee: Mr David Foster (Tyne & Wear)
Assistants: Mr Chris Knowles (Northamptonshire) & Mr Steve Phipps (Oxfordshire)
Fourth Official:Mr Rob Atkin (Lincolnshire)
David Foster will take charge of his first QPR game this weekend as the R’s travel to Coventry City this weekend.
The official has been on the National List of Referees since 2006 but hasn’t been charged with many Championship clashes in the past.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
Rangers need to claw themselves a result at the Ricoh Arena, by hook or by crook as they cannot afford to lose another fixture in their battle for safety.
A confidence-boosting result would go a long way to raise spirits around Loftus Road, and set the R’s up for what would need to be a positive run-in.
Coventry are a side that focus primarily on defending, and will look to stifle before producing attacks of their own – a ploy that worked to perfection against Nottingham Forest.
Rangers cannot afford to rest on their laurels and will certainly need to take the game to the Sky Blues if they are to get a point or more this weekend.
Teams: QPR v Watford
Date: Tuesday February 16, 2010 – 8.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London