THE transfer window has come and gone and after some uncharacteristically sensible business from Queens Park Rangers has them heading into the latter part of the season with a little more optimism.
While the playoffs may not be a realistic aim for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men – Ipswich Town are a side looking to cement a place in the top six, a somewhat remarkable feat given the financial restrictions that Mick McCarthy seems to work within.
A classic McCarthy team, there are elements of flair for the Tractor Boys but tempered by a fierce organisation and desire – qualities that have seen them rise albeit patiently into the division’s playoff picture.
The game this weekend is sure to be competitive, and with full debutantes likely to be on display for Rangers it would be a brave man to throw money either way this weekend.
Nottingham Forest 0
Queens Park Rangers 0
Team: Smithies, Perch, Hall, Onuoha, Konchesky, Phillips (Chery 90), Faurlin, Luongo, Hoilett (Washington 62), Fer, Polter.
Match Report >>>
Match Stats >>>
Ipswich Town 2 (Fraser 57, Pitman 89)
Reading 1 (McCleary 69pen)
Team: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Maitland-Niles (Bru 46), Skuse, Hyam (Pitman 82), Fraser, Sears, Murphy (Varney 87)
QPR Team News:
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink looks set to hand a debut to a new signing as Rangers host Ipswich. Nasser El-Khayati looks set to replace the outgoing Leroy Fer if the Rs boss goes like for like. There is always the alternative of using Conor Washington to sit behind or partner Sebastian Polter, who himself is in a rich vein of goalscoring form.
The back four will more than likely remain unchanged with Jack Robinson still working his way back from a long lay off, while Massimo Luongo and Ale Faurlín will have to keep Karl Henry from working his way back in should Hasselbaink prefer a bit more steel in the middle of the park.
Perch – Onuoha – Hall – Konchesky
Henry – Faurlín
Phillips – Hoilett – El-Khayati
Player to watch: Matt Phillips
Rangers will need Matt Phillips to be at his best if they are to take three points this weekend. The wide-man has been largely underwhelming thus far this season but has shown moments of quality.
Phillips’ distribution and crossing will be crucial if Sebastian Polter is to continue his positive form and now that the uncertainty of a potential transfer is behind him, the wide-man has a chance to put together a run of form for Rangers.
Ipswich Town Team News:
Brett Pitman will be pushing for a start for the Tractor Boys after his late heroics against Reading from the bench while Daryl Murphy (foot), Ryan Fraser (hamstring) and Luke Hyam (calf) will be welcome returns from injury.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been given words of encouragement by boss Mick McCarthy despite being hauled off at half time against Reading – a reaction to some stern and in his words, unwarranted, criticism from the supporters. He may get another chance to impress.
> > > Who R Ya < < <
Player to watch: Darryl Murphy
Darryl Murphy has been selected as the One to Watch ahead of this weekend’s clash. The Irish international was last season’s top scorer and features once again for the man who brought him to England – Mick McCarthy.
His undoubted goal-scoring quality will make him one to be wary of this weekend.
Read Ryan Forrester’s preview of the forward by > > > Clicking Here < < <
Match Facts & Stats
QPR: L D W D D
Ipswich Town: D W D L W
HEAD 2 HEAD
Ipswich Town: 29
LAST TIME OUT
26th December 2015
Ipswich Town 2 (Douglas 77, Chambers 90)
QPR 1 (Hoilett 45)
Team: Green, Onuoha, Hall, Angella, Konchesky, Phillips (Chery 83), Faurlín, Henry, Hoilett, Fer (Sandro 71), Polter.
Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)
Assistant: Rob Smith (Hertfordshire)
Assistant: Dave Bushell (London)
Fourth Official: Kevin Wright (Merseyside)
Charles Breakspear takes charge of his first QPR match as Rangers host Ipswich this weekend – he has a high card count in his third year on the National List and sent off two players in Blackburn Rovers’ FA Cup win over Newport County.
To read our report on the official > > > Click Here < < <
I can see this being a close affair, much like the game at Portman Road. Rangers have added some creative flair to their side, but Ipswich have an outstanding recent away record which will most certainly count in their favour.
The form of Conor Washington and Nasser El-Khayati could be important as a somewhat unknown quantity but in Darryl Murphy, Ipswich have a potential match-winner. A tight encounter expected, most probably a draw.
Where: LOFTUS ROAD
When: 13.02.2016 – 12.30