THREE successive defeats and as many games without troubling the scorers, Rangers are sinking like a stone as Ipswich come to town.
Despite their resurgence in form Roy Keane’s men sit behind the R’s in the table – now labelled as the division’s draw specialists with 15 stalemates in total.
Only Peterborough United have won fewer games as Town continue to languish at the wrong end of the table despite a glut of talented players that saw them brush the R’s aside in the last game of 2009.
The mood couldn’t be different around the two clubs though, with the Tractor Boys keeping faith with Keane to take them up the table, while Rangers lurch from one disaster to the next under varying management.
The trio of defeats has marked how far the R’s have fallen with the latter two coming against relegation candidates Scunthorpe United and Peterborough United.
This is an important game in the context of both side’s seasons, and the pressure will be immense on both clubs to turn in a long overdue performance and pick up maximum points in W12.
Peterborough United (McLean 9)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Peter Ramage (Sent Off 82), Kaspars Gork?s, Matt Connolly, Matt Hill, Mikele Leigertwood (Sent Off 60), Alejandro Faurlín, Nigel Quashie (Hogan Ephraim 57), Lee Cook (Rowan Vine 81), Tamás Priskin (Jay Simpson 65), Marcus Bent.
Ipswich Town 1 (Murphy 1)
Middlesbrough 1 (Wheater 62)
Team: Arran Lee-Barrett, David Wright (Owen Garvan 79), Liam Roseinor, Gareth McAuley, Damien Delaney, Grant Leadbitter, Jon Walters, David Norris, Jack Colback, Darryl Murphy (Jon Stead 85), David Healy (Pablo Couñago 62)
QPR Team News:
Mick Harford will have to make at least three changes to his side as the R’s host Ipswich tomorrow night.
Carl Ikeme will continue in the place of substitute ‘keeper Radek Černý, while Kaspars Gork?s may be partnered by Damion Stewart, with Matt Connolly moving across to cover the suspended Peter Ramage.
Rangers will have to replace Mikele Leigertwood on the right and it could mark Ákos Buzsáky, Adel Taarabt or Hogan Ephraim’s return to the side, with Lee Cook the obvious choice on the left.
Through the middle and Rangers will hope that Nigel Quashie is fit after limping off against Peterborough, with Alejandro Faurlín the only other viable option to partner him.
Marcus Bent will continue up front with Jay Simpson or Rowan Vine his likely partner with Tamás Priskin ineligible to play against his parent club.
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 – Quashie – Faurlín – Cook
Bent – Simpson
Player to watch: Lee Cook
Lee Cook was the only man to stand out from another disappointing defeat against Peterborough, and he will be a key player against Town tomorrow.
The R’s wide-man has come back from summer surgery firing, and supporters will hope that his infectious enthusiasm is enough to lift his fellow professionals and pull a result out of the bag.
The lift he has already given the club is visible with a glut of chances crafted from his left boot in the ninety minutes or so he has featured thus far.
Cookie looked like the winger of old at the weekend, in what was considered by some as his best performance since his return to the club.
To view his career profile Click Here >>>
Ipswich Team News:
Town may look to make changes after their 15th draw of the season with two games in a short space of time perhaps too much for some players.
Arran Lee-Barrett will continue in goal in continued absence of Richard Wright, while Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney are the preferred selection at the heart of the defence.
Jamie Peters nullified Wayne Routledge’s threat at full-back at Portman Road, but his services won’t be required in that department now with Liam Roseinor and David Wright sitting in their respective berths.
Midfield terrier Grant Leadbitter should be partnered by David Norris in the middle, with Jon Walters vying with Carlos Edwards for a place on the right, with Jack Colback and Peters fighting for the left.
A glut of strikers to pick from at Portman Road with David Healy, Darryl Murphy, Pablo Couñago, Jon Stead and Stern John all looking to start at Loftus Road.
Wright – Delaney – McAuley – Roseinor
Edwards – Norris – Leadbitter – Colback
Healy – Murphy
Player to watch: Jon Stead
Who else could we possibly pick for this feature, a player that only seems to turn it on against Rangers – Town striker Jon Stead.
The former Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland front-man has proven himself to be a forward of some quality whenever the two clubs have met.
He has scored five goals in his last three games against Rangers, a run he will certainly seek to continue tomorrow night.
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: L D L L L
Ipswich Town: W L D L D
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 21
Ipswich Town: 27
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 28-12-2009
Ipswich Town 3 (Walters 4, Stead 53,78)
Queens Park Rangers 0
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart, Tom Williams, Wayne Routledge, Ben Watson, Mikele Leigertwood, Ákos Buzsáky (Patrick Agyemang 66), Adel Taarabt (Angelo Balanta 78), Jay Simpson.
QPR 3-1 Ipswich – 21-02-1976
Ipswich Town 0-2 QPR – 15-10-1983
Referee: Mr Fred Graham (Essex)
Assistants: Mr Matt Foley (Berkshire) & Mr Ashley Slaughter (Sussex)
Fourth Official:Mr Stephen Daly (Middlesex)
Fred Graham will take charge of Rangers Tuesday night fixture at Loftus Road, a place where he has officiated twice before.
Fixtures against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest have seen the official display his lenient tendancies and reluctance to reach for his pocket.
Tuesday night will be as much as a test for his as for Rangers, with the host’s card count piling up following the double dismissal at the weekend.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
Rangers are now desperate for a point at least as they host Ipswich tomorrow, as they risk facing freefall and falling a mere two points from the drop zone should results not go their way.
It’s important that Rangers not only register a point at least, but also a goal, with no reply in three games – making for disappointing viewing.
Eventually the tide must turn as it has done already this season, and while Rangers have been distinctly poor in recent games the talent in their side must soon shine through.
Teams: Coventry City v QPR
Date: Saturday February 13 – 3.00pm
Ground: Ricoh Arena, Coventry