CONFIDENCE is at all all-time low as Rangers host Scunthorpe United in what is undoubtedly a make or break game for the R’s.
A sound thumping for Rangers at high-flying Nottingham Forest wasn’t quite the tonic that supporters searched for, as the club seems to lurch from one crisis to another.
Some supporters will don wigs, noses and clown costumes in a bid to express vent their frustration at what they believe is their club becoming a laughing stock and a circus.
Some go in hope, some go in expectation, some don’t go at all – but one thing that cannot be understated is the importance of three points against Scunthorpe this weekend.
Fresh off the heels of an excellent midweek win, the Iron have surged away from the relegation places and look to continue their resurgent form at Loftus Road.
Undefeated in the last three games, Nigel Adkins’ men have dished out a sound thrashing to Derby County at Pride Park with an excellent team ethic at the centre of their success.
A loss at home to Scunthorpe would further compound the misery and despair around W12, but a victory could once again rekindle the flickering light of Rangers’ playoff aspirations.
Nottingham Forest 5 (Earnshaw 18, 21, Blackstock 32pen, Cohen 49, Perch 78)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Matt Connolly, Damion Stewart (Peter Ramage 46), Kaspars Gork?s, Matt Hill, Ákos Buzsáky, Mikele Leigertwood, Nigel Quashie, Alejandro Faurlín (Hogan Ephraim 46), Adel Taarabt, Jay Simpson (Rowan Vine 70).
Scunthorpe United 2 (Hooper 2, McCann 77)
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Team: Joe Murphy, Cliff Byrne, David Mirfin, Marcus Williams, Rob Jones (Brendan Moloney 68), Sam Togwell, Martyn Woolford (Josh Wright 62), Garry Thompson, Gavin McCann, Paul Hayes, Gary Hooper (Jonathan Forte 80)
QPR Team News:
A drubbing at the hands of Nottingham Forest prompted Mick Harford to state that he will have to make some ‘unpopular decisions’
Carl Ikeme should avoid the cull starting ahead of Radek Černý, the club pursuing a longer-term deal with the Wolves ‘keeper. Kaspars Gork?s may start alongside Matt Connolly at the back with Damion Stewart under performing at the City Ground.
That means that Peter Ramage may return at full-back with Matt Hill once again beginning in his left-back berth, with Nigel Quashie starting his first game at Loftus Road since 1998 alongside Mikele Leigertwood.
Hogan Ephraim may well get his chance on the flank with Ákos Buzsáky still not able to hit top form, and Lee Cook comes into contention after some game time for the reserves, Alejandro Faurlín is set to drop to the bench.
Jay Simpson may well be dropped in place of Rowan Vine, who Harford considers a lynch-pin in the R’s line-up. Adel Taarabt will also start behind the solitary front-man.
Martin Rowlands (knee), Gavin Mahon (knee) and Gareth Ainsworth (calf) are sidelined long-term.
Ramage – Connolly – Gork?s – Hill
Ephraim – Quashie – Leigertwood – Cook
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt seems to be playing sides on his own at the moment as Rangers’ form continues to wane, remaining positive despite the odds.
He scored a goal in Rangers’ first win over the season at Glanford Park and will look to be on the scoresheet once more as he attempts to haul the R’s back into playoff contention.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
Scunthorpe United Team News:
Scunthorpe will look to keep the nucleus of their midweek winning side together, despite the return of influential midfield talent, Michael O’Connor.
Joe Murphy continues in goal with David Mirfin and Rob Jones the preferred central defensive duo and Cliff Byrne and Marcus Williams at full-back.
Martyn Woolford and Garry Thompson should start wide despite the return of Josh Wright, with Michael O’Connor set to replace Sam Togwell and partner Grant McCann in the middle.
There is little doubt as to who will start up front, with Paul Hayes and Gary Hooper the men to watch for the R’s defenders, with the pace of Jon Forte a problem from the bench.
Byrne – Mirfin – Jones – Williams
Thompson – McCann – O’Connor – Woolford
Hayes – Hooper
Player to watch: Gary Hooper
Scunthorpe United striker Gary Hooper is the One to Watch ahead of this weekend’s clash at Loftus Road.
The former Southend United and Grays Athletic front-man is in top form this season and will be the key man to fire the Iron to safety this season.
He was reputedly chased by Rangers prior to the closure of the summer transfer window, but little came from the fleeting interest.
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: L D L D L
Scunthorpe United: W W D L W
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 8
Scunthorpe United: 1
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 22-08-2009
Scunthorpe United 0
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Taarabt 3)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Matthew Connolly, Fitz Hall, Gary Borrowdale, Wayne Routledge, Mikele Leigertwood, Alejandro Faurlín (Gavin Mahon 81), Hogan Ephraim, Adel Taarabt (Rowan Vine 56), Jay Simpson (Heidar Helguson 70).
QPR 5-1 Scunthorpe United – 08-04-1967
Scunthorpe 0-2 QPR – 12-11-1966
Referee: Mr Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Lee Betts (Norfolk) and Mr Gary Young (Bedfordshire)
Fourth Official:Mr Oleksandr Saliy (Middlesex)
Grant Hegley of Hertfordshire will take charge of the clash between Rangers and Scunthorpe United this weekend – a referee that has seriously quelled his card count.
The official averages less than a card a game as he presides over this weekend’s fixture. The last time he took charge of QPR was in a 2-1 victory for the R’s over Bristol City last season.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
The importance of a victory cannot be understated as Rangers see their playoff ambitions waning away along with their season after such a prosperous start.
There has been many ups and down this season, and in typical Rangers fashion they have been to the extreme – but now is the time to put the form right – and difficult decisions could be required.
Lots of goals expected, tentative defending, but hopefully entertainment and passing football as Scunthorpe come to town.
Superhoop50: 1-0 QPR
southernhoop: 3-2 QPR
jezza99: 2-0 Iron
Teams: Peterborough United v QPR
Date: Saturday February 6 – 3.00pm
Ground: London Road, Peterborough