RANGERS` cup heroics will not have gone un-noticed by the footballing community, but they must get back to their Championship promotion push, as they face Derby County at Loftus Road tomorrow.
This is the fixture that caused a storm as Rangers had the audacity to charge Rams fans £40 a ticket to sit in the School End. By the same admission they haven`t actually addressed the situation for home fans sitting in the Ellerslie Road and the South Africa Road stand who still pay advertised prices.
Derby, managed by former Wigan boss Paul Jewell, narrowly avoided the unwanted statistic of a whole year without a win, finally ending the run at home to Sheffield United after a torrid season in the Premier League.
It truly was an ‘annus horribilis` to the Rams who had a 23 player turnover as of deadline day. But introductions include Arsenal youngster Nacer Barazie, experienced forward Rob Hulse and Przemyslaw Kazmierczak a player with European pedigree on loan from Porto.
They backed up this win with two solid draws against Welsh outfits Swansea and Cardiff City respectively. Despite their fall from grace last season many still fancied the Rams as promotion contenders at the start of the season, if they can string some results together it may be a reputation that`s justified.
View From The Bench
Rangers` First Team Coach Iain Dowie spoke of his delight following the R`s cup shock away at Aston Villa.
‘We were concerned that we’d have to defend well and we did that magnificently.” Dowie told QPR.co.uk
‘To be honest, I don’t think we played as well as we’re capable of, in terms of keeping the ball. We gave it away a lot in important areas.”
‘Defensively though we were terrific and I don’t think Radek has really had a top save to make.”
‘I’m proud of each and every one of the lads and it’s a really pleasing result.”
Dowie was also full of praise for the way the R`s scored their goal, with loanee Daniel Parejo instrumental in Damion Stewart netting for Rangers,
‘Dani’s delivery for the goal was excellent,’ Dowie added,
‘We worked on it in training yesterday and I wasn’t altogether happy with it, but to be fair to him, he’s put a first class delivery in and Damion’s absolutely buried it.”
‘It was a great delivery and a great header – worthy of winning the match in my opinion.’
Derby County`s summer signing from West Bromwich Albion, Martin Albrechtsen, spoke following his goal scoring exploits against Cardiff,
‘We are looking forward to the next game already and hopefully we can get three points on the board next week.” Albrechtsen told DCFC.co.uk.
‘For us to get five points in the last week is good but we all hoped for maybe six, seven or even nine.”
‘And for us to be expecting more points is a positive sign.”
‘A few weeks ago we were afraid of playing the next game but now we are all positive and enjoying our football.”
QPR Team News:
QPR have decisions to make as the Derby County fixture tomorrow draws ever closer. Following an energy sapping win over Premier League Aston Villa, Iain Dowie may shuffle his pack once more.
Rangers look set to keep the same back four that performed so admirably at Villa Park. Peter Ramage was left out of the 18 man squad with a knock, but may well find himself in the squad for Saturday. Latvian defender Kaspars Gorkss will also be available for selection should Hall or Stewart not be available.
The midfield has become a saturated area in recent weeks with any manner of combination available to Dowie. He is unlikely to disturb Martin Rowlands and Gavin Mahon in the middle of the park, only perhaps to re-introduce Mikele Leigertwood and push Rowlands further forward. Lee Cook will be pushing for a starting place, after being rested against Villa.
Dexter Blackstock is set to slot into the lone striker`s role in place of Patrick Agyemang, who failed to make an impact in a tricky cup-tie, his replacement Samuel Di Carmine also failed to set the world alight.
It will certainly be tricky to predict a side for tomorrow and it may well depend how the players can cope with three games in seven days.
Player to watch: Martin Rowlands
The Queens Park Rangers skipper has impressed of late with some consistent quality from the middle alongside Gavin Mahon.
He has produced the majority of creativity from the middle and has become an extremely reliable player in the centre of the park.
His tough tackling style, combined with his attacking guile and flair has made Rowley a tough combination to deal with for the opposition back-line.
Since moving to Rangers along with Gareth Ainsworth in 2003, Rowlands has made 169 league appearances for Rangers, scoring 32 goals from midfield.
He was previously deployed in a wide right berth, but shone in the middle during the reign of Luigi Di Canio, and since then has retained his place in the side as a first choice central midfielder.
Rowley rose to the role of captaincy in the summer, following the uncertain future of previous skipper Adam Bolder. The joint longest-serving player has made himself un-droppable and a goal against Norwich has proven he is as sharp as ever, and could prove a challenge to the toughest of defences, let alone Derby County`s.
Derby County Team News:
Derby County have a couple of injury problems going into the fixture tomorrow afternoon.
Summer signing from Nottingham Forest, Kris Commons, remains a doubt with a hamstring injury and will not be risked this weekend in W12.
Giles Barnes is not set to feature also with a long-running catalogue of injuries, while former Rangers trainee Ruben Zadkovich has recently joined in with training, but won`t be ready in time to face the side that released him.
Young duo Miles Addison and Nacer Barazite are set to continue in midfield, with Rob Hulse, Emanuel Villa and Nathan Ellington battling it our for the two places upfront.
Following some appearances from the bench, former Tranmere player Steve Davies will be pushing for a starting place as will Porto loanee Przemyslaw Kazmierczak.
Player to watch: Emanuel Villa
Vital QPR has outlined Emanuel Villa as the ‘One To Watch’ for Derby County.
To get all the stats on the Argentinean, Click Here >>>
The R`s have been in decent form of late, despite not seeing the results to befit the performance. The 1-0 defeat away at Coventry City was a frustrating second period for the R`s, that was more than made up for at Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Rangers` home form has been formidable of late as they seek to continue their 100% home record in all competitions. They have been defeated only twice in the calendar year of 2008 – against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion.
Derby have turned the statistics on their head, after being nearly a year without a win, they are now three undefeated, how times change! Despite their lack of league form they are through to the third round of the Carling Cup – which was delayed due to Manchester City`s European exploits.
The Ram`s lost away to Barnsley away this season in a surprise result – however they have also drawn twice, but are crucially yet to win in the league away from Pride Park. In fact Derby have yet to win an away league fixture since beating Barnsley in March 2007 – a frankly astonishing statistic.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Derby County: 15
Last time out
Tuesday 13th March 2007 – Pride Park
Derby County 1 (Moore 87)
QPR 1 (Rowlands 14)
Rangers Team: Simon Royce, Michael Mancienne, Damion Stewart, Danny Cullip, Marcus Bignot, Martin Rowlands (Gareth Ainsworth 28), Steve Lomas, Inigo Idiakez, Lee Cook, Marc Nygaard, Paul Furlong (Ray Jones 84).
See also: One Day In History – Derby County 1982-83
Referee– Mr. A Taylor
Assistants – Mr. B J Malone & Mr. T Mason
Fourth official – Mr. G J N Jerden
Anthony Taylor from Greater Manchester will officiate Rangers clash with Derby County this Saturday.
To get all the stats concerning the official click here.
Derby have an extremely poor away record, but the shoots of improvement are beginning to show, and this will certainly not be a formality. My issue is that we will take out eye off the Championship following an excellent cup-tie, and Derby could take advantage. However Rangers are looking a force at home, with the defence shaping up well; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
Where– Loftus Road, London
When– Tuesday 30th September: 8:00pm.