BOTH Queens Park Rangers and Derby County have an opportunity to hand themselves a sizeable boost in the fight for Championship survival.
The R’s and the Rams both sit in the lower reaches of the division both edging towards the safety of mid-table and the safety they crave.
Neil Warnock is undefeated at home with the added accompaniment of passion and commitment as the noise levels return to Loftus Road.
They face a Derby County side that have once again underachieved having picked up only two wins on the road all season – but also have a formidable record in W12.
The Rams haven’t been beaten by QPR at Loftus Road since 1982 – winning five of the eight subsequent meetings in a happy hunting ground for County.
Warnock and the R’s will be hoping that they can continue their fine displays at home in a bid to bolster their hopes of a top half finish, with the Rams close in tow in the Championship table.
QPR 1 (German 76)
Swansea City 1 (Dyer 57)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Peter Ramage, Mikele Leigertwood, Ákos Buzsáky (Lee Cook 58), Kaspars Gork?s, Matt Connolly, Alejandro Damián Faurlin, Matt Hill, Hogan Ephraim (Rowan Vine 73), Tamás Priskin (Antonio German 58), Adel Taarabt.
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Derby County 0
Team: Stephen Bywater, Jay McEvely, Nicky Hunt (Dean Leacock 80), Russell Anderson, Shaun Barker, Michael Tonge, Paul Green, Stephen Pearson, Chris Porter, Rob Hulse (Steve Davies 86), Gilles Sunu (Robbie Savage 78)
QPR Team News:
Neil Warnock will have a big decision to make as Derby come to Loftus Road, with two players poised to return from the sidelines.
Carl Ikeme starts ahead of Radek Černý in goal with Damion Stewart poised to return alongside Kaspars Gork?s in the middle.
That move would see Matt Connolly move to right back at the expense of Peter Ramage, while Matt Hill will continue at left-back for the R’s.
Hogan Ephraim and Lee Cook will once again battle it out for a place on the left while Adel Taarabt is a sure-fire starter either behind a solitary front-man or wide right.
Ákos Buzsáky could continue down the right depending on what formation the R’s deploy with Alejandro Faurlín and Mikele Leigertwood continuing through the middle.
Tamás Priskin’s place must now be under threat with Antonio German proving a vast improvement from the bench, but Jay Simpson remains doubtful after a knock in training.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain the only long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Connolly – Stewart – Gork?s – Hill
Buzsáky – Faurlín – Leigertwood – Ephraim
Player to watch: Antonio German
Antonio German came from the bench to impress and bag a deserved goal against Swansea City, and Warnock surely cannot continue to overlook him for Priskin.
He displayed his sprightly nature from the sidelines and put himself about excellently, rather highlighting the immobile nature of loan forward Priskin.
A starting berth I feel has been earned for the forward following this weekend’s display as he continues to improve his abilities and cause all manner of danger in opposing penalty areas.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
Derby County Team News:
Nigel Clough will look to make minimal changes following a useful away point up at Hillsborough, with a possible return for an influential wide man.
Stephen Bywater will continue in goal after recovering from a back complaint behind a back four of Jay McEvely, Nicky Hunt, Russell Anderson and Shaun Barker.
The midfield may also remain unchanged with Arsenal loanee Gilles Sunu joined by Michael Tonge, Paul Green and Stephen Pearson – but Robbie Savage is also pushing for a starting place.
Gary Teale however is eyeing a return from injury and may well take his place on the bench for the Rams as the influential wide-man was forced to sit out the Wednesday game.
There is relatively little competition for forward places with Chris Porter and Rob Hulse the desired duo for Nigel Clough.
Hunt – Barker – Anderson – McEvely
Sunu – Tonge – Green – Pearson
Hulse – Porter
Player to watch: Rob Hulse
Veteran forward Rob Hulse has been outlined as the One to Watch ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Derby County.
Hulse is a seasoned goalscorer at Championship level with clubs including West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United.
He is a consistent threat at this level and the R’s defenders must have their wits about them to snuff out his aerial presence.
To read our profile of the winger Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: W W D L D
Derby County: W L L D D
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 12
Derby County: 15
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 24/10/2009
Derby County 2 (Dickov 10, Savage 36)
Queens Park Rangers 4 (Taarabt 40, Mahon 47, Simpson 59, Buzsáky 90pen)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage (Mikele Leigertwood 61), Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart, Gary Borrowdale, Gavin Mahon, Alejandro Faurlín, Ákos Buzsáky, Adel Taarabt (Patrick Agyemang 75), Wayne Routledge, Jay Simpson (Rowan Vine 75).
QPR 3-0 Derby County – 20-02-1982
Derby County 1-2 QPR – 03-11-1973
Referee: Mr Mick Russell
Assistants: Mr Mr Matthew McGlaughlin (Bedfordshire) & Mr Wade Norcott (Essex)
Fourth Official: Mr David Buck (Kent)
Mr Russell, despite being on the circuit for nearly six years, has only refereed a smattering of Championship fixtures – taking charge of QPR once.
He called off the fixture between Rangers and Palace earlier this season only to take charge of Rangers’ draw against Warnock’s Eagles shortly after.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
This will once again be a tough clash as the Rams come to W12 – a place where they have historically triumphed, none more so than in recent years.
Recent form suggests that QPR should be able to pick up the maximum, but form is overrided as we all know by the law of the bogey!
Warnock’s men have looked impressive in recent games and if they play to their potential tomorrow night a victory shouldn’t be too far beyond their grasp.
Teams: Preston North End v QPR
Date: Saturday March 27, 2010 – 3.00pm
Ground: Deepdale, Preston