AFTER running riot over Stoke City at Home infront of the Sky Cameras, Rangers are back to business in the Wednesday`s meeting at the Ricoh Arena against relegation threatened Coventry City.
Luigi De Canio spoke following the excellent result on Sunday:
‘I’d say it was quite a good afternoon,’
‘We’ve beaten all the top sides now in this division, but we need to find a level of consistency now.”
‘We need to acquire the mentality to play like that against the sides at the bottom, in mid-table like ourselves, and at the top.’
De Canio was quick to praise Mikele Leigertwood:
‘I’m pleased for Mikele.
‘He’s worked hard to get his way back in the side. He is a great professional. He’s waited for his opportunity to play and he took it today – that is what I want from all of my players.’
De Canio also spoke about the red card to Andy Griffin:
‘Dexter suffered a similar fate at Stoke, which we thought was harsh at the time.”
‘We were 2-0 up today though, and I don’t really think it affected the outcome of the game.’
Coventry City Team News:
The Sky Blues could be set to make changes to their line-up after their loss away in a relegation 6 pointer to Scunthorpe.
Coventry will be without David McNamee and Colin Hawkins owing to hamstring and achilles injuries respectively. They Sky Blues will also be without Striker Leon McKenzie owing to a thigh injury. The Striker scored only two goals this season in his 11 appearances before picking up his injury against Southampton in December.
The Sky Blues can also welcome back Michael Doyle from suspension following his FA Cup red card at Home to West Brom.
Whilst there could also be a starting place for Elliot Ward at centre back, and could be set to reintroduce Robbie Simpson upfront as they look to redress the balance from a disappointing Saturday defeat.
Player to watch: Michael Mifsud
Mifsud is considered one of the finest prospects ever to come out of Malta, the ‘Mosquito` as he`s known, has bagged 13 goals in 48 appearances for the Sky Blues including some impressive displays leading the forward line alongside departed forward Dele Adebola.
He started his career with Silema Wanderers where some impressive displays earnt himself a move to German outfit Kaiserslautern. With first team appearances hard to come by, he was loaned back out to his first club, Silema Wanderers.
Some eye-catching performances caught the attentions of Norwegian outfit Lillestrom and he signed for them in 2005. 11 goals in 19 appearances ensured that Mifsud was voted Best Foreign Player of 2006.
Then Coventry manager Micky Adams snapped up the striker in the 2007 January transfer window and he endeared himself to the Sky Blues fans by scoring 4 goals, including a cracking effort in only hi second game away at Plymouth.
Rangers have met Mifsud twice in Championship competition; the first time we met was when Rangers picked up a priceless win in April 2007, beating City 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Jimmy Smith. But Mifsud exacted revenge on Rangers with an equalising goal at Loftus Road in November 2007, the striker rounded Lee Camp to slot home infront of the Sky Blues fans on a counter-attack, this was added to by Kevin Kyle`s last minute winner, cancelling out Akos Buzsaky`s wonder goal.
The ‘mosquito` must be kept quiet if Rangers are to keep a clean sheet at the Ricoh Arena.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Rangers have no fresh injury concerns going into the game against Coventry, and there is a potential that Gigi may name an unchanged line-up for the fixture following the demolition of Stoke City.
Angelo Balanta will be pushing for a place on the bench having been left out of the 16 on Sunday; whilst Rowan Vine and Patrick Agyemang are set to be the preferred strike partnership once more.
Gavin Mahon may be set to return to the 16, but he will do well to displace the awesome Mikele Leigertwood and influential Martin Rowlands after their stunning Sunday performances.
One thing is for sure, for once at Loftus Road its healthy competition for places.
Player to watch: Hogan Ephraim
The ex-West Ham winger was a constant thorn in the side of the Potters defence on Sunday, and looks set to continue on the left wing as he adds to his ever-growing reputation.
The winger has made 4 assists in his time at Loftus Road, scoring 2 goals. His trickery on either flank is a handful to deal with for any defensive rearguard, and with Coventry shipping 2 goals away to Scunthorpe, Hogan may be the man to unlock a shaky back-line.
Match Facts & Stats
Coventry`s home form has been slightly indifferent of late, in their last 5 home games, City have won 2, lost 2 and drawn once. That included the massive FA Cup defeat against West Brom 5-0.
Coventry have only won 1 game in their last 5, with a 2-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Leicester City. They have lost 2 games in a row now both away at Burnley and Scunthorpe respectively.
Rangers have only had 1 defeat in 6, the surprise home defeat against Burnley, after being 2-0 and losing 4-2. In their last 5 away games the R`s have won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2. A good away point at Barnsley was the latest positive result on the road for the Rangers.
Rangers are now unbeaten in 3 games overall, drawing at Home to Sheffield United, then away at Barnsley; Finally Rangers defeated Stoke on Sunday to make it 3, and will be looking to stretch it to four.
Historically Coventry have the better of the head to head record with 44 wins to Rangers 33, with the teams drawing a total of 24 times.
Last time out
7th April 2007- Ricoh Arena
Coventry City 0
QPR 1 (Smith 53)
Rangers Team: Camp, Kanyuka, Cullip, Stewart, Timoska (Bignot 56) Smith, Ainsworth, Bolder (Lomas 72) Moore, Furlong (Nygaard 63) Blackstock.
Last time out
6th November 2007- Loftus Road
QPR 1 (Buzsaky 50)
Coventry City 2 (Mifsud 61, Kyle 90)
Rangers Team: Camp, Mancienne, Stewart, Cranie (Timoska 20) Barker, Rowlands, Leigertwood (Bolder 39) Buzsaky, Sinclair, Vine, Nygaard (Nardiello 44).
Referee– M. Dean
Assistants – DC Richards & J Stokes
Fourth official – D. Whitestone
Mike Dean has made himself one of the foremost officials in the country. He first took charge of the R`s sending off QPR midfielder Paul Murray in their 3-1 loss away at bogey club Swindon Town in 1998. In the first game of the 1999/00 season he took charge of the 3-1 win over Huddersfield.
He quickly established himself as a premier league referee, and he didn`t officiate the R`s again until December 2006, presiding over Rangers 3-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace. Mike Dean also took charge of Rangers recent FA Cup defeat to West London rivals Chelsea.
Dean has refereed 30 games this season handing out 102 yellow cards and 7 reds. Recently he had the unfortunate task of sending off Birmingham City`s Martin Taylor for his bone-crunching tackle on Eduardo Da Silva.
Rangers stormed their opposition on Sunday playing some fantastic football, and keeping a clean sheet to boot. Coventry are good on home soil however; so that`s why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-1 QPR
For all the latest match odds click on www.williamhill.com
Who– Sheffield Wednesday
When– Saturday 8th March 2008: 3:00pm.