AFTER finally exerting some last minute heartbreak instead of receiving it, Rangers picked up another draw in very unlikely circumstances at home to Preston North End.
The R`s now must crank their performance up a whole set of notches if they are to claim any points at the KC Stadium against the prolific Hull City.
De Canio was happy following the last-gasp home draw with Preston:
‘Before the game we were confident of getting the three points, but it didn’t look like we would get anything as the clock ticked down. It looked like being one of those days, when everything we tried didn’t work.”
De Canio added:
‘Preston were very good and they made it very hard for us throughout.”
‘But the players responded with a great demonstration of character in the final moments and they deserve a lot of credit for that.’
Gigi reserved special praise for the catalyst of the comeback:
‘Gareth is the heart and soul of this Club,’
‘He’s an extraordinary individual, who has the respect of everyone who knows him.”
‘He is the spirit, the heart and the attitude of QPR and he deserved to be the hero today.’
De Canio also dedicated the result, along with Dexter Blackstock, to injured striker Rowan Vine:
‘The draw, and especially the last few minutes, were for Rowan,’
‘Like Gareth, he identifies the spirit of this Club and we were determined to play for him today.”
‘I’m sure he would have had a big smile on his face when he saw the comeback!’
Hull City Team News:
The Tigers have been given a fitness boost ahead of their encounter with the R`s at the KC Stadium.
Wayne Brown came through a training session and will be looking to be in contention for a starting place at centre back. Michael Turner, Iain Ashbee and Andy Dawson will all be back in contention after carrying some knocks following the home thrashing of Watford, nearly a fortnight ago.
The game could be too soon, however, for Jay-Jay Okocha. The former Bolton man is still carrying an injury and failed to train with the rest of the side.
Manager Phil Brown stated:
“We had 24 players on the training ground this morning and that included Wayne Brown. The only one who didn`t train today was Jay-Jay Okocha and we`ll test him tomorrow.”
Simon Walton will also be unavailable to due the terms of his loan agreement, from QPR.
Player to watch: Frazier Campbell
Livewire forward Frazier Campbell has certainly proved his Championship credentials this season, proving a menace to defences up and down the country, with a tough blend of pace and deadly finishing infront of goal.
Frazier has banged in 14 goals from 29 appearances and has established good partnerships with both Dean Windass and Henrik Pedersen.
A product of the Manchester United academy, Campbell has made one senior appearance for his parent club, brought on as a second half substitute for Michael Carrick, as United looked to chase the game; but ended up losing against rivals Manchester City.
Campbell then showed his true potential in his second game for the club infront of the Sky cameras, as the Tigers dispatched on Barnsley 3-0, with Campbell bagging a brace.
The loanee played at Loftus Road against the R`s in Luigi De Canio`s first game in charge, with new managers at Loftus Road becoming a re-occurring theme for Hull City. Rangers won the game 2-0 with Martin Cranie and Damion Stewart keeping the front man at bay.
After scoring against Watford to take his tally to 14, Campbell will be looking to add to his growing reputation this weekend, and he will certainly be one to watch in light of recent performances.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Rangers can hope to call on midfielder Akos Buzsaky as he looks to return from an ankle injury that has kept him out for the past two games.
Damien Delaney is set to return for the R`s at left-back, and also return to the place where he spent six years of his career. One would hope that the Hull City fans remember this loyal service when he returns this weekend.
Angelo Balanta could also be set to start out on the wing, as De Canio looks to blood some of the youth, with rumours of Romone Rose being given a chance before the seasons end.
After his last minute winner, Dexter Blackstock could be set to retain his starting place upfront alongside Patrick Agyemang.
Whilst long-term absentee Rowan Vine is out for the rest of the season.
Player to watch: Dexter Blackstock
With the striker dispatching a deft flick of a header past Andy Lonerghan well into injury time at the weekend, the R`s managed to muster a much needed point at home to all but make them safe from relegation.
Dexter has really struggled to get going this season after being given numerous opportunities to do so, he has never really looked like recapturing the scintillating form at the back end of last season to save the R`s from relegation.
The Rangers number 9 only has 4 goals this season, but with 2 goals in 3 games, it may kick-start the striker into recapturing partially that aforementioned form that gave him his goalscoring reputation at Loftus Road.
This is a good opportunity for the Oxford born striker, with limited pressure against promotion chasers Hull City.
Match Facts & Stats
With a draw against Preston, the R`s made it unbeaten in 5 games, with only 1 defeat in 10 games. It was however their 3rd draw in a row a fourth wouldn`t go a miss this weekend.
Rangers away form is a slight cause for concern with only one away win this year, away at Southampton. Since then they have drawn 4 and lost 1, the game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Hull City are one of the Championship`s form sides, and have won four on the spin which hauled them briefly up to third in the league. There was 6 wins and 2 defeats in a busy month of March for the Tigers. The notable 5-0 steamrollering of Southampton will live long in the memory.
The Tigers haven`t lost a home since January making it 7 home games undefeated. They recently dispatched of fellow promotion hunters Watford with ease as they make a late b-line not only for promotion but for the title.
Hull edge the head to head record with 13 wins to Rangers 10, with the teams drawing 12 times in the league. Before meeting once again recently in the League, Rangers dumped Hull out of the League Cup in 1985 and 1991, comfortably on both occasions.
Last time out
13th January 2007- KC Stadium
Hull City 2 (Elliott 85, 90)
QPR 1 (Blackstock 45)
Rangers Team: Royce, Bignot (Timoska 31) Stewart, Mancienne, Kanyuka, Cook (Sent Off 87) Lomas, Smith, Bircham (Baidoo 61) Jones, Blackstock (Furlong 76).
Last time out
3rd November 2007- Loftus Road
QPR 2 (Ephraim 26, Leigertwood 56)
Hull City 0
Rangers Team: Camp, Mancienne, Crainie, Stewart, Barker, Rowlands, Ephraim, Leigetwood, Buzsaky (Ainsworth 86) Vine (Nardiello 89) Nygaard (Bolder 81)
Referee– G Laws
Assistants – G Atkins & AN Smith
Fourth official – M Brown
For a full report on the match official click here
This will really be a test of some good recent resilience Hull are on fire and the R`s have virtually nothing to play for other than a top half finish. The pressure is off and perhaps that may go in Rangers favour; being ever the optimist I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 Win
For all the latest match odds click on www.williamhill.com
Who– Charlton Athletic
Where– Loftus Road
When– Saturday 19th April 2008: 3:00pm