WITH what should be a day of celebration at Loftus Road, QPR’s fate technically still remains very much in the hands of the FA, causing an endless stream of speculation. Delaying the result of the hearing, means the farcical limbo that QPR find themselves in could continue into next week. Undeterred by the ongoing case, Neil Warnock wants to celebrate on Saturday whole-heartedly and has urged the fans to join in and make it a day to remember. I know I will.
QPR owe Leeds after the defeat at Elland Road back in December. According to Neil Warnock a few choice words were shared between the Leeds United playing staff and QPR that will be used as motivation ahead of the match on Saturday. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the threat of a possible points deduction, a win for QPR could be important, should a points punishment is deemed correct by the FA.
Leeds still have a slim chance of making the play-offs. Simon Grayson`s men need a six goal swing in their favour to snatch sixth place. For Leeds to make the play-offs, they are reliant on Forest losing to Palace and for them to of course beat QPR. QPR have lost once at home all season and have been in stubborn form of late. If Leeds stand any chance of making the play-offs, they need to show serious attacking intent. This will benefit QPR as they are very dangerous on the counter-attack. It makes for a very interesting game on and off the field.
QPR 2 (Taarabt, Smith)
Team: Cerny, Orr, Connolly, Hall (Shittu), Gorkss, Derry, Faurlin, Taarabt (Ramage), Smith, Routledge (Buzsaky), Helguson
Leeds 1 (McCormack)
Team: Schmeichel, Lichaj, McCartney, Naylor, O`Brien, Howson, Kilkenny, Johnson, Gradel (Watt), Paynter (Snodgrass), McCormack (Bromby)
QPR Team News:
Fitz Hall will miss the match owing to a hamstring injury. Paddy Kenny is a doubt with a shoulder injury, Radek Cerny should continue to deputise.
Clint Hill will not require surgery on his ankle and could even feature on Saturday. Danny Shittu is expected to continue alongside Kaspars Gorkss.
Possible line up:
Orr – Gorkss – Shittu – Connolly
Faurlin – Derry
Routledge – Taarabt – Smith
Player to watch: Alejandro Faurlín
It must be said, that the player (Faurlin) at the centre of the case has performed admirably on the pitch, since the story originally broke. This week would`ve been tough for Faurlin, as it has been the main focus in the press. I feel all the speculation may have been distracting for him and the other players. Incidentally, Faurlin had to give evidence on Thursday and it will be interesting to see if the case will affect his performance on the pitch. Such is the mental strength of Faurlin, I wouldn`t put it past him to score on Saturday or play a major part in any goal we score.
Leeds United Team News:
Star striker Luciano Becchio is likely to be out with a hamstring injury. Centre back Patrick Kisnorbo is available after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Lichaj – Naylor – O`Brien – McCartney
Gradel – Howson – Kilkenny – Johnson
McCormack – Paynter
Player to watch: Max Gradel
Max Gradel has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of Saturday’s match against Leeds.
For Daniel’s comprehensive review of the wide-man Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WDDDW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 15
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 18/12/10
Leeds 2 (Gradel x2)
Team: Kenny, Hill (Hall), Connolly, Gorkss, Orr, Walker, Derry, Taarabt, Mackie, Smith (Ephraim), Hulse (Clarke),
Referee: Mr M Clattenburg
Assistants: Mr S Child & Mr P Keane
Fourth Official: Mr R Lewis
Premier League ref Mark Clattenburg is the match official for Saturday`s game and has officiated 38 games this season. His most recent game was the stalemate between Blackpool and Stoke.
Last season Clattenburg issued 105 yellow cards and 5 red cards in 42 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
Focusing on the game itself, QPR will be confident having beaten Watford under extreme pressure last Saturday. Neil Warnock will want to end the season on a high, and victory would be a fine way to avenge the December defeats to Watford and Leeds. QPR have a few injury concerns, with Fitz Hall, Paddy Kenny and Clint Hill all doubts, but such is the strength of the Rangers squad this season, any player that comes in has stepped up to the plate. It has been a brilliant season and I wish we could celebrate without any hesitance. Come the 12.45 and the final whistle, myself and many other R`s will no doubt be caught up in the celebrations.
As we saw in December, Leeds have enough about them to beat us. They`ve suffered some poor form recently but will be buoyed by their crucial 1-0 win over Burnley last week. I still think they are a bit toothless upfront, although Max Gradel has relieved some of the pressure with his goals but I`m confident we will keep him quiet on Saturday. Should Leeds come looking for the win, I suspect the game will be very open and a potential goal-fest.
3-1 Home win.
Next up? The Premier League!