QUEENS Park Rangers travel to Preston North End this weekend, with Neil Warnock hoping for his first away win in charge of the R’s.
Warnock has started his tenure at Loftus Road brightly with only one defeat during his brief period – this weekend however he will be searching for not only his first away win – but his first win in five games.
The deadline day capture of Du?ko To?ić has raised spirits around W12 with Matt Connolly’s injury now set to be covered effectively, while Carl Ikeme seems to be hanging around for the time being to take his place in goal.
In comparison Preston are a side that are also blighted by a lack of clean sheets – notably highlighted by Rangers’ thumping four goal victory over the Lilywhites where Adel Taarabt took centre stage with a stunning solo effort.
Ferguson Jnr’s men have only picked up one win in their last six games with back to back defeats coming at the hands of West Bromwich Albion (2-3) and Middlesbrough (0-2) – if they lose to Rangers then the R’s leapfrog them in the table.
An important game for both Warnock and Ferguson as they look to hit form at the right time in the campaign.
QPR 1 (Cook 45+2)
Derby County 1 (Barker 67)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Peter Ramage, Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart, Matt Connolly (Matt Hill 33), Lee Cook (Antonio German 59), Alejandro Faurlín, Mikele Leigertwood, Rowan Vine, Adel Taarabt, Jay Simpson (Hogan Ephraim 78)
Middlesbrough 2 (Killen 29, Franks 90)
Preston North End 0
Team: Andy Lonergan, Liam Chilvers, Callum Davidson, Sean St Ledger, Michael Hart (Billy Jones 63), Darren Carter, Ross Wallace, Richard Chaplow, Matthew James, Neil Mellor, Chris Brown (Jon Parkin 63).
Preston North End Team News:
Preston North End will welcome back midfielder Paul Coutts to the side following a hamstring injury, while Youl Mawene (groin) could also be available.
Andy Lonergan will start in goal behind a possible back four of Michael Hart, Sean St Ledger and Callum Davidson – with Mawene and Elliott Ward fighting with Liam Chilvers for the remaining spot.
Richard Chaplow and Darren Carter look set to continue in the middle with Ross Wallace starting on the flank and Manchester United loanee Matthew James vying with Chris Sedgwick for the other spot.
Chris Brown, Neil Mellor and Jon Parkin will display the old adage that three doesn’t fit into two with one due to drop to the bench.
Hart – Ward – St Ledger – Davidson
Sedgwick – Chaplow – Carter – Wallace
Mellor – Brown
Player to watch: TBA
QPR Team News:
Neil Warnock made several changes to his side for the Derby game and he may be forced into more as the R’s travel to Deepdale.
Carl Ikeme’s days are numbered and it remains to be seen whether he starts ahead of Radek Černý while Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gork?s are poised to continue in the centre of defence.
Matt Connolly will be sidelined with Peter Ramage and debutante Du?ko To?ić set to start at full-back with Alejandro Faurlín and Mikele Leigertwood continuing through the middle.
Lee Cook should once again start on the left with Rowan Vine battling with Ákos Buzsáky and Adel Taarabt for a place on the right – depending on what formation Warnock plays.
Taarabt could also start alongside Jay Simpson unless Warnock decides to start with impressive youngster Antonio German, with Tamás Priskin set to warm the bench.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain the only long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Ramage – Stewart – Gork?s – To?ić
Taarabt – Leigertwood – Faurlín – Cook
Simpson – German
Player to watch: Du?ko To?ić
Not many know what to expect from Du?ko To?ić, but the man-mountain full-back is poised for his first start in a QPR shirt after securing a move from Portsmouth.
The former Werder Bremen defender and Serbian international will undoubtedly get the nod ahead of Matt Hill this weekend as he travels to Deepdale with the QPR squad.
He was training with Swansea City, but the R’s fended off competition from Sousa’s Swans to take him on loan until the end of the season.
The Stat Attack
Preston North End: D W D L L
Queens Park Rangers: W D L D D
HEAD 2 HEAD
Preston North End: 11
Queens Park Rangers: 9
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 17/10/2009
Queens Park Rangers 4 (Taarabt 11, Buzsáky 63pen, Simpson 74, Routledge 85)
Preston North End 1
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart, Gary Borrowdale, Gavin Mahon, Alejandro Faurlín, Ákos Buzsáky (Patrick Agyemang 66), Adel Taarabt, Wayne Routledge (Gareth Ainsworth 87), Jay Simpson (Rowan Vine 66).
Preston North End 0-3 QPR – 23-02-1980
Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Preston North End 11-09-1971
Referee: Mr Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)
Assistants: Mr Richard Bartlett (Cheshire) & Mr Adrian Holmes (W Yorkshire)
Fourth Official: Mr Gary Hilton (Lancashire)
Mr Haines is a relatively inexperienced official at this level with only a handful of games to his name in the Championship.
This game will mark his first involving QPR, while he took charge of Preston’s 1-1 home draw with Plymouth Argyle last season.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
There is a potential for Rangers to score goals and with the recent addition to bolster their defence, the likelihood of them walking out with a result has increased.
Warnock’s men are looking for that first win on the road and meet a Preston side also looking to bounce back after back to back defeats – both sides haemorrhage goals so it should be entertaining.
Rangers could and maybe should edge the contest and will certainly have the psychological advantage given the fact they thrashed Preston earlier this season.
Teams: QPR v Sheffield Wednesday
Date: Saturday April 3, 2010 – 3.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London