The wait is finally over the disappointment of the World Cup can now be forgotten as the R’s are back… and it’s about time too.
Last season was eventful to say the least with the managerial merry go round in full swing, various off the field incidents, protests and not to mention board room adjustments, but following the appointment of Neil Warnock QPR finished the campaign with some much needed stability and eventually finished in 13th place.
This time around Neil Warnock’s men kick off the new season at home to Barnsley in what is a repeat of the 2008/09 opening day fixture and a repeat of the 2-1 victory wouldn’t go amiss either.
Barnsley Manager Mark Robins who took over from Simon Davey last season guided the Tykes to safety after a string of respectable performances as they finished in 18th position.
Barnsley do have quality in Adam Hammill, Hugo Colace and Iain Hume but the squad lacks depth and after losing star striker Daniel Bogdanovic to Sheffield United this summer it could be a tough year ahead for the Tykes as his goals proved to be invaluable source in their road to safety.
It remains to be seen whether new signing Liam Dickinson a player relatively unproven at Championship level will be able to match Bogdanovic’s scoring prowess but nonetheless Barnsley will prove to be tough opposition for most sides this year.
QPR 1 (Mackie 82)
Plymouth Argyle 1 (Summerfield 11pen)
Team: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Connolly (Gorkss 46), Hall (Ramage 72), Leigertwood (Derry 46), Ephraim (Trialist), Mackie, Agyemang (Helguson 46) (German 84), Buzsaky (Parker 46), Faurlin.
Barnsley 2 (Gray 60, Dickinson 85)
Team: Steele, Hassell (Hume 78), McEveley, Foster, Shackell, Doyle, Butterfield (Colace 45), Devaney (Neumann 45), Hammill, Gray (Dickinson 80), Lovre
QPR Team News:
The only absentees from the first team are Peter Ramage who is suspended after his red card on the final game of last season against Newcastle and injured pair Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook.
Apart from the aforementioned Neil Warnock should have a fully fit squad to choose from and if pre-season is anything to go by he`ll opt to use the 4-3-3 formation with Jamie Mackie and Hogan Ephraim interchanging on either wing.
Hogan Ephraim has been prolific against lesser opposition in pre-season and many fans will hope he can make the step up and continue that form against Championship opposition.
It is expected that Heider Helguson and Leon Clarke will compete for the attacking spearhead role but I think Warnock will go for an experienced head and pick Helguson for the opening game, providing he is fit.
Alejandro Faurlin and Akos Buzsaky seem to be the preferred pairing in the middle with Shaun Derry playing the holding role.
After the appointment of Fitz Hall as captain it is more than likely he will start at centre back alongside either Matthew Connolly or Kaspars Gorkss. New signing Bradley Orr is expected to start at right back with fellow summer signing Clint Hill at left back.
In goal Paddy Kenny is expected to make his debut with Radek Cerny dropping to the bench.
The signing of Adel Taarabt is one of the biggest transfer coups for QPR in recent years and many fans will be delighted with the addition but whether he is fit enough for a starting berth is remains to be seen.
Possible line up:
Orr – Hall (c) – Connolly – Hill
Ephraim – Buzsáky – Faurlín – Mackie
Player to watch: Ákos Buzsáky
On his day playmaker Akos Buzsaky can be one of the best attacking midfielders in the league. His set piece ability and long range shooting will cause problems for any opposition.
In pre-season he has looked sharp and is determined to make this season his own after his recent injuries.
The talented midfielder is a valuable asset for the R`s and is a proven match winner.
To view his career profile Click Here >>>
Barnsley Team News:
Barnsley can take some confidence into the new campaign after a positive pre-season, and their latest convincing win over Chesterfield will undoubtedly buoy confidence further.
Luke Steele will start ahead of David Preece in goal while new captures Jason Shackell and Jay McEveley are set to join Stephen Foster and Bobby Hassell in the back four.
Hugo Colace will fight for his place in midfield with Jacob Butterfield and Nathan Doyle, with Martin Devaney and danger-man Adam Hammill on the flanks.
Jeronimo Neumann will miss out as his international clearance is yet to come through, while Andy Gray and Liam Dickinson will fight it out to partner Goran Lovre who sits just behind.
Hassell – Foster – Shackell – McEveley
Devaney – Doyle – Butterfield – Hammill
Player to watch: Liam Dickinson
New signing Liam Dickinson has been singled out as the One to Watch ahead of this weekend’s clash at Loftus Road.
The Tykes front-man was prolific in a previous spell with Stockport County, while his career has fallen on hard times after a big money move to Derby County.
From the bench he could prove a dangerous introduction and a flagging R’s rearguard could find his brand of attacking talent a difficult prospect.
To view the summary Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: W W W W D
Barnsley: W W W D W
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 21
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 24-04-2010
QPR 1 (Leigertwood 28)
Team: Radek Černý,Peter Ramage, Mikele Leigertwood, Akos Buzsaky, Kaspars Gorkss, Alejandro Faurlin, Hogan Ephraim (Lee Cook 81), Dusko Tosic, Antonio German (Jay Simpson 56), Josh Parker, Tamas Priskin (Lee Brown 90).
QPR 1-0 Barnsley – 12-12-1981 >>>
Referee: James Linington (Newport)
Assistants: Mr Andy Davies (Hampshire) and Mr Rob Whitton (Essex)
Fourth Official: Mr Carl Berry (Surrey).
James Linington will take charge of the first game of the season as Rangers host Barnsley this weekend.
Linington has taken charge of Rangers once before as well as causing mass controversy in an all Championship affair in the Carling Cup.
To read the summary Click Here >>>
2-1 Rangers Win
Neil Warnock will have the players fired up and he won`t let standards slip especially not on the first day of the season. An early goal will settle the nerves but considering the amount of new faces in the starting eleven it may take some time for defensive solidarity so I could see Barnsley sneaking a goal.
On paper QPR have the stronger side but this is the Championship and no result is a given. Barnsley have some quality players in Adam Hammill and Hugo Colace and they will need to be marked carefully so that they cannot stamp their influence on the match.
If QPR play to their strengths and Buzsaky and Faurlin are allowed to dominate the game then the R`s should have enough about them to get the win.
Who: Port Vale
When: Tuesday August 10, 7.45pm
Where: Loftus Road