A mouth-watering tie awaits the Loftus Road faithful this Saturday, as in form Leicester City make the journey down to Loftus Road. It should prove to be a fascinating and highly competitive match with both sides vying for promotion. The R`s themselves are in excellent form, regaining their defensive resilience whilst adding goals up the other end with Heider Helguson scoring 4 in 3 since his return from injury.
QPR have been on a ten-match unbeaten run, losing only once since New Year`s Day. Rangers converted the games drawn in January with wins in February and look in ‘good nick` going into the business end of the season. Neil Warnock`s men picked up impressive wins over Reading and Ipswich and came close to beating Nottingham Forest, who have since gone off the boil failing to capitalise on their two games in hand.
Sven-Goran Eriksson has worked wonders at Leicester since arriving in October. The former England boss has taken the Foxes from rock bottom to fighting for a play-off place in a short space of time, yes he has been backed extensively by the board but praise must be awarded to the Swede for the job he has done. The foxes have lost just once in their last ten, a run of form which has seen them rise spectacularly up the table.
However, the Foxes do not travel well and a sold-out Loftus Road will be an intimidating place to come to and try and improve an inconsistent away record. QPR have only lost once at home this season and will not surrender points easily. Neil Warnock will want a confident performance on Saturday and a win would send out a resounding message to the chasing pack.
QPR 3 (Helguson x2, Taarabt)
Team: Kenny, Orr (Connolly), Hill, Shittu, Hall, Derry, Faurlin, Buzsaky (Ephraim), Taarabt, Routledge, Helguson (Hulse)
Leicester City 1 (Naughton)
Coventry City 1 (King)
Team: Ricardo, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Naughton, Bamba, King, Wellens, Abe (Oakley), Gallagher (Dyer), Yakubu, Vassell (Waghorn)
QPR Team News:
Tommy Smith is expected to return to the squad but will have to settle for a spot on the bench as Neil Warnock will be reluctant to risk the winger and has several options with Ishmael Miller, Hogan Ephraim and Akos Buzsaky all eager for game time.
Wayne Routledge complained about a throat problem on twitter but that shouldn`t be enough to persuade Warnock to rest the Newcastle loanee. Patrick Agyemang, Jamie Mackie and Peter Ramage remain sidelined.
Possible line up:
Orr – Hall – Shittu – Hill
Faurlin – Derry
Routledge – Taarabt (c) – Buzsaky
Player to watch: Dan Shittu
The Nigerian international had to bide his time before making his second debut for the R`s but since his return against Ipswich, the big man has been sensational. Shittu plays with his heart on his sleeve and is clearly proud to be wearing the blue and white hoops once again.
A centre-back that is a colossal in the air, Shittu is more than a match for the typical Championship striker or lump as I like to refer to them. Jon Parkin, Richard Cresswell, Chris Iwelumo, Steve Howard, the list goes on. However, Leicester will be Shittu`s biggest test since returning, the powerful centre-back will be matched up against fellow countryman Yakubu. The Yak is likely to cause our defence a fair few problems because he is in my opinion is Premiership quality and has a bit more about him that the usual lumps that grace our league. Let`s hope Danny gives Yakubu no time on the ball and asserts his usual aerial dominance.
Leicester City Team News:
Left-back Patrick Van Aanholt is out for a month with a calf injury. Bruno Berner is likely to replace the Chelsea loanee. Steve Howard is out for another two weeks with an ankle problem.
Foxes boss Eriksson could be tempted to replace the out of form Ricardo, with Chris Weale waiting in the wings.
Naughton – Bamba – Bruma – Berner
Wellens – Abe – King – Gallagher
Vassell – Yakubu
Player to watch: Yakubu
Yakubu has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this week’s match against Leicester.
For Daniel’s comprehensive review of the strikerClick Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WDDWW
Leicester City: WWWLD
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 24
Leicester City: 20
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 18/9/10
Leicester City 0
QPR 2 (Mackie x2)
Team: Kenny, Walker, Hill, Connolly, Gorkss, Derry, Buzsaky, Taarabt (Leigertwood), Ephraim, Mackie (Smith), Helguson (Agyemang)
Referee: Mr R East
Assistants: Mr L Collins & Mr T Mason
Fourth Official: Mr S Rubery
Roger East is the match official for Saturday’s game and has officiated 25 games this season. His most recent game was the match between Sheffield United and Derby.
Last season East issued 109 yellow cards and 3 red cards in 34 games.
Leicester have obvious technical quality in Andy King, Yakubu and Paul Gallagher and will also be dangerous on the counter-attack, looking to utilise the pace of Kyle Naughton and Darius Vassell. King especially, must not be given any room in and around the box because the Welshman will look to shoot on sight. Ali Faurlin will need to track every run of King`s, as the box-to-box midfielder has that knack of being in the right place at the right time, much like Everton`s Tim Cahill. King has been arguably Leicester`s most dangerous player with 13 goals to his name this season.
After last week`s demolition of Middlesbrough, the R`s will be in great spirits. An attacking front three of Wayne Routledge, Akos Buzsaky and Adel Taarabt (a trio that once fired Jim Magilton`s Rangers into the top 6) once again looked superb against Boro. In that trio you have invention, pace, guile and intelligence, a combination that proved too strong for the beleaguered Middlesbrough back four. I feel this will be the case again on Saturday, the attacking front three and Helugson proving too much for Leicester`s defence.
3-1 Taarabt, Helguson and Shittu to score.
Where: THE DEN
When: TUESDAY MARCH 8, 2011 – 19.45