RANGERS are inching closer to their Championship safety as they travel to playoff hopefuls Leicester City this weekend – the side that in effect ruined their campaign.
The R’s were riding the crest of a wave, with a deluge of goals and a string of classy performances seeing them wow the nation with a stunning victory over Derby County on the BBC.
Step forward the Foxes who came to Loftus Road and not only managed to out-play QPR for vast instances of the game but also halt Rangers positive run and prompt a vast decline.
Jim Magilton subsequently left the club after his criticism veered beyond the verbal as Radek Cerny’s Loftus Road nightmare helped the Foxes secure a priceless win.
Since then Nigel Pearson’s men have gone from strength to strength as they eye a playoff place, while Rangers decline has alleviated under Neil Warnock – but still by no means offering comfort to fans.
Points are being accumulated by Warnock’s men, but that elusive victory fails to reassure nervous fans, with a point at least now a must as Rangers look for egg-sactly the right tonic at the Walkers.
QPR 1 (Faurlín 23)
Sheffield Wednesday (Soares 77)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Kaspars Gork?s, Alejandro Faurlín, Matt Hill, Jay Simpson (Antonio German 73), Hogan Ephraim (Lee Cook 81), Tamás Priskin (Rowan Vine 89), Adel Taarabt.
West Bromwich Albion 3 (Morrison 38, Koren 45, 85)
Leicester City 0
Team: Chris Weale, Bruno Berner, Jack Hobbs, Robbie Neilson, Michael Morrison, Andy King, Lloyd Dyer (James Vaughan 53), Matt Oakley (Nicky Adams 61), Richie Wellens, Steve Howard, Martyn Waghorn (Paul Gallagher 46)
Leicester City Team News:
Nigel Pearson looks certain to make changes to the side that were soundly beaten at West Bromwich Albion on Friday night.
Chris Weale will start in goal but Ryan McGivern could be set to return following injury with Wayne Brown also in contention as Bruno Berner may well not feature after recently returning himself.
Jay Spearing could be recalled to the line-up after impressing on his debut with Andy King the possible omission, while Lloyd Dyer is poised to start wide left against his former club.
Paul Gallagher could also start wide instead of Matt Oakley, but could also be deployed as a striker – vying with Martyn Waghorn, Steve Howard and Everton youngster James Vaughan.
Neilson – Hobbs – Morrison – McGivern
Oakley – Wellens – Spearing – Dyer
Vaughan – Waghorn
Player to watch: James Vaughan
Everton loanee James Vaughan has been outlined as the One to Watch ahead of the clash between QPR and Leicester City this Easter Monday.
The young forward has received a high billing from the coaches and supporters at Goodison Park, but has had his career decimated by injuries.
This latest episode in his career could provide him with the boost he requires as the Foxes search for that coveted playoff place.
To read our profile of the winger Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Warnock will have to re-evaluate his selections once more in light of the result against Sheffield Wednesday and two games in a short space of time.
Carl Ikeme prepares for his final game ahead of Radek Černý while Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gork?s are 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 sidelines – while Alejandro Faurlín and Mikele Leigertwood should continue in the middle
Lee Cook should pip Hogan Ephraim for a place on the left while Ákos Buzsáky and Tamás Priskin will fight it out for a place alongside Adel Taarabt behind the front-man.
Jay Simpson will probably be omitted from the line-up owing to a troublesome hamstring, which could hand an opportunity to Antonio German or Rowan Vine – perhaps Buzsáky with Priskin playing the advanced role.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain the only long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Ramage – Stewart – Gork?s – To?ić
Leigertwood – Faurlín
Buzsáky – Taarabt – Cook
Player to watch: Lee Cook
Lee Cook will play an important role once more as he is destined to start against Leicester this Easter Monday.
On a day where width may prove important, Cook can provide that much-needed creativity to the left and perhaps exceed the useful displays of Hogan Ephraim.
Cookie can provide the likes of Priskin and the attacking line with a multitude of chances but whether they can finally put the situation to bed is open to debate.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Leicester City: D L L L L
Queens Park Rangers: L D D D D
HEAD 2 HEAD
Leicester City: 19
Queens Park Rangers: 23
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 30/10/2009
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Taarabt 33)
Leicester City 2 (Fryatt 37, 64)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage (Rowan Vine 67), Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart (Fitz Hall 55), Gary Borrowdale, Alejandro Faurlín, Mikele Leigertwood, Adel Taarabt (Patrick Agyemang 86), Ákos Buzsáky, Wayne Routledge, Jay Simpson.
Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Leicester City – 03-09-1977
Leicester City 0-1 Queens Park Rangers – 26-02-1976
Referee: Mr Trevor Kettle (Berkshire)
Assistants: Mr Lee Betts (Norfolk) & Mr Russell Fletcher (Derbyshire)
Fourth Official: Mr Martin Dexter (Leicestershire)
Mr Kettle will once again take charge of QPR – an official that has been highlighted in the past for his persistent fussyness and card-waving credentials.
Rangers have won one of the eight games he has presided over with the official most recently taking charge of the R’s away trip to Blackpool.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
Leicester have hit a bump in form of late and with Queens Park Rangers looking to continue their stable form in a bid for Championship safety.
Warnock’s men have looked more improved in recent games but the lack of killer instinct and cutting edge combined with some sloppy defending makes the points tally a tad worrying.
Leicester will be keen to stop the rot while QPR will also be happy with a point so I cannot look beyond a point for either side.
Teams: Crystal Palace v QPR
Date: Saturday April 10, 2010 – 3.00pm
Ground: Selhurst Park