THE mood couldn’t be more different around Loftus Road from when Rangers and Plymouth Argyle were last due to meet in this fixture.
Icy conditions around the stadium prevented the game from going ahead, as Paul Hart sought to build on a gritty victory over Bristol City and push Rangers higher up the league.
Since then it’s been all change with Ishan Saksena and Amit Bhatia coming to the fore, and enticing Neil Warnock to the managerial hot-seat – and the atmosphere has changed accordingly.
Both sides are in a relegation scrap, but evidently it is the R’s that fare better at present, sitting three points outside the drop zone – while Argyle remain a challenging seven points from safety.
Argyle legend Paul Mariner has seen his side produce a decent calibre of performance without truly reaping the rewards, and they will certainly look to claim something from this week’s fixture.
Oddly enough it was he that pushed for the game to be postponed last time out despite Argyle’s resurgent form – he can only hope that his side starts their revival tomorrow night.
QPR 3 (Simpson 13, Connolly 18, Buzsáky 67)
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Brunt 36)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Kaspars Gork?s, Matt Connolly, Alejandro Faurlín, Matt Hill, Jay Simpson, Hogan Ephraim (Ákos Buzsáky 59), Adel Taarabt (Peter Ramage 69) Tamas Priskin (Rowan Vine 77)
Plymouth Argyle 1 (Johnson 71pen)
Preston North End 1 (St Ledger 18)
Team: David Stockdale, Chris Barker, Richard Eckersley, Damien Johnson, Luke Summerfield (Craig Noone 46), Chris Clark (Rory Fallon 54), Carl Fletcher, Karl Duguid, Kari Árnason, Jamie Mackie, Joe Mason
QPR Team News:
It remains difficult to gage what kind of line-up Neil Warnock will put out against Argyle – throwing everyone a curve ball with his selection at the weekend.
Carl Ikeme will start in goal ahead of Radek Černý with the back four unlikely to change with Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gork?s, Damion Stewart and Matt Hill in defence.
Alejandro Faurlín’s display should see him retain his spot alongside Mikele Leigertwood, despite Warnock’s call for extra grit against Argyle – with Adel Taarabt sure to keep his spot after a sterling performance.
Lee Cook was sidelined with a cold, and it remains to be seen whether he will return in time to face the Pilgrims, so Hogan Ephraim could once again deputise down the left.
Tamás Priskin made his way back into contention with a good display at the weekend, and he or Marcus Bent is sure to partner Jay Simpson – with Antonio German an option from the bench.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain the only long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Connolly – Stewart – Gork?s – Hill
Taarabt – Faurlín – Leigertwood – Cook
Priskin – Simpson
Player to watch: Ákos Buzsáky
Ákos Buzsáky had a goal to celebrate at the weekend and he now looks to put his former employers to the sword this weekend.
The former Pilgrim has had an indifferent season in W12 – an incredible opening to the campaign had since seen his performances dramatically dip over the turn of the year.
It appears however that he has turned a corner after decent performances against Middlesbrough and from the bench against West Brom.
A player whose talent is no mystery to Plymouth – Buzsáky can hopefully now get his mind back to football and the sparkling form he has displayed in the past.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
Plymouth Argyle Team News:
Argyle could make changes to the side that could only draw at home to Preston North End this weekend, with a more spirited display following changes after the break.
David Stockdale will look to put his Bramall Lane howler out of his mind lining up behind a back four of Karl Duguid, former R’s target Richard Eckersley, Kari Árnason and ex-QPR man Chris Barker.
In midfield and Craig Noone could replace Luke Summerfield down the right with Jamie Mackie or Joe Mason dropping wide to accommodate the return of Rory Fallon to the forward line – while Alan Judge may return.
Damien Johnson and Carl Fletcher should continue as the combative midfield duo, with Bradley Wright-Phillips having to be content with a place on the bench.
Duguid – Árnason – Eckersley – Barker
Noone – Johnson – Fletcher – Mason
Fallon – Mackie
Player to watch: TBA
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: L L W L W
Plymouth Argyle: W D D L D
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 17
Plymouth Argyle: 24
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 19-12-2009
Plymouth Argyle 1
Queens Park Rangers 1
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gork?s, Gary Borrowdale, Wayne Routledge, Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood, Ákos Buzsáky (Hogan Ephraim 73), Adel Taarabt (Rowan Vine 77), Heidar Helguson (Patrick Agyemang 60).
QPR 1-0 Plymouth Argyle – 05-10-1957
Plymouth Argyle 1-2 QPR – 20-08-1957
Referee: Mr Paul Tierney (Lancashire)
Assistants: Mr Warren Atkin (W Sussex) & Mr Geoff Russell (Northants)
Fourth Official: Mr Harry Lennard (E Sussex)
The official is not only yet to officiate at Rangers clash, but this weekend will mark only his second Championship fixture after a smattering of games in his first season.
An official that doesn’t dish out many cards – Mr Tierney doesn’t appear easily intimidated by the crowd at Loftus Road will no doubt do their best.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
The mood has dramatically lifted and Rangers can only be looking for three points this weekend against a battling Plymouth side.
An early goal may well help to put Argyle to bed with confidence at a low owing to their poor league position – seven points away from safety.
QPR under Warnock showed a very different streak at the weekend, brushing aside promotion fodder West Bromwich Albion – but this will be a very different challenge this week.
Teams: Sheffield United v QPR
Date: Saturday March 13, 2010 – 3.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London