The R’s have a great chance of progressing to the fifth round when they host MK Dons tomorrow at Loftus Road. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition playing the MK Dons in the cup, with tomorrow being the third meeting in a year. Rangers are enjoying their best form of the season at the moment and have started 2013 impressively. They remain undefeated after picking up points against Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham, as well as beating West Brom in the cup. Harry Redknapp is getting the best out of what he has, which highlights the inept job Mark Hughes was doing earlier this season. Had QPR maintained this form all season, they would be comfortably mid table.
Personally, I see the FA Cup as a great opportunity for QPR to blood the squad players, who will want to impress the manager. Jay Bothroyd was a prime example of this against the Baggies, scoring the winning goal. If he can perform like that on a consistent basis then he deserves a regular place in the side. It’s an incentive that should inspire the squad players to step up tomorrow.
With MK Dons bringing over 2000 to the game (a record for them), and QPR reducing the ticket prices, there should be a decent crowd and the atmosphere might get a bit tasty. Everyone knows Karl Robinson likes to play expansive football and they will feel they can beat a side looking odds on for relegation. I really like their midfielder Stephen Gleeson, he’s technically sound and a very intelligent footballer but with him injured, the Dons might struggle to keep possession in midfield. MK Dons knocked out Sheffield Wednesday to get to this stage but have failed to score in their last three away ties. I hope QPR treat the game with respect and play with urgency. It will be intriguing to see how they fare being the favourites, as the underdog tag has suited them in recent weeks.
West Ham 1 (Cole)
QPR 1 (Remy)
Team: Cesar, Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill, Fabio, Derry, Taarabt (Park), Wright-Phillips (Traore), Mbia, Mackie (Bothroyd), Remy.
MK Dons 2 (Williams pen, Bowditch)
Sheffield Wednesday 0
Team: Martin, Otsemobor, Lewington, MacKenzie (Doumbe), Kay, Williams, Potter, Smith, Powell (Alli), Bowditch (Chicksen), Lowe.
QPR Team News:
Loic Remy is out with a hamstring complaint. Junior Hoilett is also with a similar injury. Esteban Granero and Armand Traore return.
Possible line up:
Onuoha – Hill – Ferdinand – Fabio
Derry – Faurlin – Mbia
Wright-Phillips – Bothroyd – Mackie
Player to watch: Jay Bothroyd
After a hit and miss start to his QPR career, it appears the penny has finally dropped for Jay Bothroyd, who put in an impressive performance against West Brom, scoring the only goal of the game to send the R’s through into the next round. It’s fair to say, Jay has been a big disappointment since his arrival, bar a few games against Spurs and Man City last season.
He’s clearly a very good footballer but for someone of his size, he isn’t that imposing on defenders. If he played with more aggression and desire, he would achieve what Rickie Lambert and Grant Holt have in the top flight. Against the Baggies, Bothroyd imposed himself and linked the play superbly. He deserved his goal, which was a well taken header from a corner. If Bothroyd can continue that sort of performance level, he will be an asset to the team.
MK Dons Team News:
Izale McLeod is cup-tied and midfielders Stephen Gleeson (broken foot) and Luke Chadwick (knee) are both unavailable. Dean Bowditch is doubtful.
Possible line up:
Otsemobor – MacKenzie – Doumbe – Lewington
Potter – Williams
Powell – Smith – Bowditch
Player to watch: Dean Bowditch
Dean Bowditch has been identified as the player to watch ahead of the match against the MK Dons.
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The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WDDWD
MK Dons: LWDDW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 1
MK Dons: 0
LAST TIME OUT
FA Cup – 17/01/12
QPR 1 (Gabbidon)
MK Dons 0
Team: Kenny, Hill, Gabbidon, Young, Ferdinand, Derry, Buzsaky (Helguson), Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd (Orr), Mackie, Macheda (Smith).
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Mike Mullarkey & Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
Mike Dean is the match official for Saturday’s FA Cup match against MK Dons. This season Dean has issued 83 yellow cards and 4 red cards in 23 games.
Should QPR approach this game with the same intensity as a league match, they will fly through the match. However, QPR being cup exit specialists, MK Dons might fancy their chances despite losing this time last year courtesy of a Danny Gabbidon header. MK Dons will probably enjoy the majority of possession, such is the way Robinson sets his sides out. If QPR press high up the pitch they will force mistakes and carve out opportunities. If Harry Redknapp picks Wright-Phillips, Mackie and Bothroyd as a front three, then we should have enough to hurt MK Dons and win the game. With Redknapp rotating the squad, it could go either way for the manager. The players brought in could rise to the challenge or sink like demotivated stones. I’m positive that we can get a victory tomorrow and continue our fine start to 2013.
2-0Home Win. Bothroyd brace.
Who: Man City
Where: Loftus Road