A LONDON derby with a bit of extra spice comes to the fore at Selhurst Park as Neil Warnock’s QPR look to strike a blow to Crystal Palace’s survival hopes while bolstering their own.
Warnock will return to familiar surroundings as Paul Hart also faces off against his former club in a game that is billed to be crucial to the future of both clubs in the Coca Cola Championship.
Quite what reception the R’s boss will get in SE25 remains to be seen despite reaffirming his enjoyment during his tenure and his sympathy with the plight of the Eagles.
A thrashing at the hands of Leicester City has heightened the tension somewhat among supporters and makes this test undoubtedly the biggest in Rangers’ season thus far.
Palace meanwhile have developed a siege mentality under Hart and the Eagles boss will without question looking to orchestrate the downfall of his former employers.
All these ingredients and more make this a fixture to watch this weekend and the important of the game cannot be overstated as the R’s and the Eagles clash at Selhurst Park.
Leicester City 4 (King 5, Waghorn 45, 50, Howard 78)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Kaspars Gork?s, Lee Cook (Ákos Buzsáky 55), Alejandro Damián Faurlín, Matt Hill, Jay Simpson (Angelo Balanta 77), Hogan Ephraim, Adel Taarabt.
Crystal Palace 3 (Danns 40, Ambrose 50, Andrew 84)
Preston North End 1 (Treacy 8)
Team: Julian Speroni, Shaun Derry, Clint Hill, Paddy McCarthy, Matt Lawrence, Johannes Ertl, Darren Ambrose, Neil Danns, Calvin Andrew, Stern John, Sean Scannell (Nick Carle 86)
Crystal Palace Team News:
Paul Hart may well keep faith with the same side after his Eagles came from a goal down to convincingly defeat Preston North End at Selhurst Park.
There are several reported QPR targets among the Palace ranks including ‘keeper Julian Speroni and he could start behind a back four comprising of Matt Lawrence, Johannes Ertl, Paddy McCarthy and Clint Hill – with Warnock stalwart Claude Davis also in line to return.
Darren Ambrose and Sean Scannell should start wide with the tough central midfield partnership of Shaun Derry and Neil Danns set to reacquaint their partnership.
Alan Lee could be poised to return to the squad following the Preston victory but Hart could keep faith with Stern John and the gloating Calvin Andrew who is desperate to get one over on his former boss.
Nathaniel Clyne (hip) and right-back Danny Butterfield (hamstring) are set to sit out once more.
Lawrence – Ertl – McCarthy – Hill
Ambrose – Derry – Danns – Scannell
John – Andrew
Player to watch: TBA
QPR Team News:
Neil Warnock is likely to make changes to his line-up following the defeat up at Leicester with a debut in the offing for Du?ko To?ić.
Radek Černý will start for Rangers with Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gork?s poised to continue in the centre of defence.
Peter Ramage and debutante Du?ko To?ić are set to start at full-back with Matt Connolly sidelined – while Alejandro Faurlín and Mikele Leigertwood should continue in the middle
Lee Cook needs to start on the left should he be available for selection with Hogan Ephraim and Adel Taarabt supporting the lone striker Jay Simpson.
There are rumours afoot that Marcus Bent is closing in on his return from injury but loanee Tamás Priskin has been left out in the cold of late.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain the only long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Ramage – Stewart – Gork?s – To?ić
Leigertwood – Faurlín
Ephraim – Taarabt – Cook
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
The R’s form seems to fluctuate on how influential Adel Taarabt is and the Moroccan will be hoping for a positive game against relegation rivals Palace this weekend.
The creative midfielder has proven to be very effective when the R’s are winning, notably on the road, but has a tendency to go missing when the club start to struggle.
Without question on his day he is a match-winner and coming to the autumn of his time with Rangers he will be hoping to impress any prospective clubs looking to snap him up in the summer.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Crystal Palace: L L W D W
Queens Park Rangers: D D D D L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Crystal Palace: 29
Queens Park Rangers: 35
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 03/11/2009
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Buzsáky 19pen)
Crystal Palace 1 (Ambrose 62pen)
Team: Radek Černý, Mikele Leigertwood, Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gork?s, Gary Borrowdale, Alejandro Damián Faurlín, Ben Watson, Wayne Routledge, Adel Taarabt (Patrick Agyemang 74), Ákos Buzsáky (Hogan Ephraim 78), Jay Simpson (Rowan Vine 84).
Crystal Palace 0-3 QPR – 22-01-1983
QPR 1-0 Crystal Palace – 11-04-1955
Referee: Mr Nigel Miller (Co Durham)
Assistants: Mr Michael McCoy (W Sussex) & Mr Andrew Rodda (Devon)
Fourth Official: Mr Keith Yeo (Essex)
After what was a surprisingly impressive display from Mr Kettle at Leicester – Rangers now meet another referee in the twilight of his career, Mr Miller.
The official has caused controversy with Rangers having given Hull City two questionable goals and sending off Lee Cook in a relegation scrap at the KC Stadium.
Since then though he has proven himself rather lenient and like other referees at this stage in his career he has mellowed.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
This will be a closely-fought encounter with Palace and QPR fighting not only for their safety, but also pride given the manner of Neil Warnock’s departure.
The R’s are desperate for a win to stop the rot, while Palace can see this as an ideal opportunity to catapult themselves away from danger.
A draw may not be the worst result in the world but it will depend on which QPR show up at Selhurst and whether they can give them a real test this weekend.
Teams: QPR v Cardiff City
Date: Saturday April 17, 2010 – 3.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London