After what has felt like an eternity since the Blackburn fixture, the R`s are back in action against London rivals Fulham. The last time the two clubs met the Super Hoops were totally embarrassed, losing 6-0 in front of a packed Craven Cottage and will be eager to atone for that abject performance. This time, QPR are a different outfit with a new management set up on the hunt for every scrappy point they can muster. Both teams will be determined to get the three points but for different reasons. The R`s are in the thick of one of the tightest relegation battles for years and a win would put some breathing space between themselves and the dropzone. Fulham on the other hand would climb into the top half should they win.
To add further spice to the derby, the R`s gaffer faces his former side for the first time since he left last season. Hughes` departure was considered questionable as he stated he wanted to embark on another journey that would match his ambitions. Nine months later he is managing a side in a relegation battle. However, Hughes believes the Loftus Road outfit can match his long-term ambitions. Former Fulham favourite Bobby Zamora also faces his former club for the first time since his January move. Zamora will be eager to prove a point to Martin Jol, who we`re led to believe didn`t get on well with the England international.
Blackburn 3 (Yakubu, NZonzi, Onuoha og)
QPR 2 (Mackie x2)
Team: Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hall (Gabbidon), Taiwo, Traore, Taarabt, Buzsaky (Mackie), Barton, Wright-Phillips, Zamora
Fulham 2 (Pogrebnyak, Sorensen og)
Stoke 1 (Shawcross)
Team: Schwarzer, Kelly, Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Murphy (Etuhu), Duff, Dempsey, Pogrebniak (Davies), Ruiz (Baird), Dembele.
QPR Team News:
Djibril Cisse is still suspended and fellow striker DJ Campbell is also out with a hamstring injury. Jamie Mackie is pushing for a start after his impressive cameo against Blackburn. New signing Samba Diakite is set to make his debut.
Possible line up:
Young – Onuoha – Ferdinand – Taiwo
Wright-Phillips – Barton – Diakite – Taarabt
Zamora – Mackie
Player to watch: Bobby Zamora
It`s fair to say a lot of the focus from a Fulham and media point of view will be on Bobby Zamora. Although it`s early days, for the R`s he has looked impressive. The powerful centre forward scored on his debut against Wolves and showed some neat touches against Blackburn and so far appears to be a useful acquisition. Off the field Zamora is already proving to be a popular personality in the dressing room which can only help morale and team spirit. From a playing perspective, Zamora has given QPR are a focal point, his hold up play alleviates the pressure on the defence and midfield which is vital as we have struggled to keep possession in the past. Hopefully he will come back to haunt his old club tomorrow.
Fulham Team News:
Andrew Johnson returns to the side following a spell on the sidelines with a left abductor injury. Zdenek Grygera is out with a knee injury and Steve Sidwell is absent with a hernia problem.
Kelly – Hangeland – Hughes – Riise
Dempsey – Murphy – Etuhu – Dembele
Pogrebniak – Ruiz
Player to watch: tba
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WLDLL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 12
LAST TIME OUT
Premier League – 02/09/11
Fulham 6 (Johnson x3, Murphy, Dempsey, Zamora)
Team: Kenny, Orr, Ferdinand, Hall, Young, Barton, Faurlin, Derry (Smith), Wright-Phillips, Taarabt (Campbell), Bothroyd (Mackie).
Referee: P Dowd
Assistants: J Flynn & A Garratt
Fourth Official: L Probert
Phil Dowd is the match official for tomorrow`s game. This season Dowd has issued 98 yellow cards and 3 red cards in 26 games.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
After the training camp in Portugal, the noises coming out of the club sound positive. Team spirit appears to be on the up and the squad seem to be closer than prior to the trip. The spin doctors have done their job and I for one am convinced that we might see an upturn in fortunes. A win against Fulham will really set us on our way for a run and possibly drag Aston Villa into the mix. Fulham possess some exciting forward players, I really like the look of Dembele, Ruiz and of course Dempsey. Their movement off the ball will cause us an untold amount of problems. From a QPR perspective, a lot of focus will be on new signing Samba Diakite who will have the chance fill the void left by Alejandro Faurlin in the heart of midfield. Diakite impressed in the African Cup of Nations and could be an exciting signing.
1-1Fancy Taarabt and Ruiz to score.
Where: LOFTUS ROAD
When: 03/03/2012 – 15.00