WITH the madness of the Transfer Window now a distant memory, Queens Park Rangers must now get back to winning ways in what is the most important game of the season to date.
The last time the two clubs met, they had both been on the wrong end of an opening day thrashing and shared the spoils at Carrow Road despite the Canaries` dominance of the fixture.
Both clubs has secured additions on deadline day, but perhaps both will be ruing the one that got away to an extent – with Gary Hooper and Peter Odemwingie stalling on the final day respectively.
Coming up together, the sides have adapted to the Premier League in very different ways. Norwich have been the very image of stability, despite the departure of Paul Lambert, where as QPR’s revolving door policy has seen them floundering once more at the foot of the table.
While performances against the division’s elite have been admirable, they must now take advantage of the more winnable games – starting with the Canaries at Loftus Road tomorrow.
‘It’s a big game for us tomorrow. We’ve been on a fantastic run, averaging over a point a game. We’ve had good draws from some really tough games. We’ve got to up that now, we’ve got to win one or two more.’
‘We need to go into the game with the same spirit and determination that we had in the last game against Spurs, where certainly in that first period I thought we were excellent. Difficult to sustain that for the 90 minutes but we need to show what we showed in that Spurs game.’
QPR Team News:
Harry Redknapp could hand debuts to Chris Samba, Andros Townsend and Jermaine Jenas against the Canaries. Yun Suk Young is said to need a settling in period before starting for Rangers.
Bobby Zamora could return from injury to partner Loic Remy, while Junior Hoilett – the subject of interest from West Bromwich Albion on deadline day – is once again available for selection.
Jamie Mackie may miss out (tonsillitis), while Jose Bosingwa and Andrew Johnson remain long-term absentees – the latter not being selected in the 25-man squad.
Player to watch: Christopher Samba
A record signing for QPR, described as a ‘monster’ by Harry Redknapp – Chris Samba could prove the difference between Rangers and the Canaries tomorrow afternoon.
Having seen him at Loftus Road last season, his aerial presence in both areas was something to behold. He was almost unmarkable at times, with a display of unrivalled dominance.
While he may not be 100% fit, Samba will undoubtedly be a useful asset, especially tomorrow as he looks to better a defence that has kept one clean sheet on the road this season.
Norwich City Team News:
The Canaries could hand a debut to striker Luciano Becchio after his deadline day move from Leeds United, however another new addition in Kei Kamara is unlikely to feature as he waits for international clearance.
Lee Camp has gone from benchwarmer at Nottingham Forest to a similar role at Norwich City, where he lies third choice after the injured John Ruddy and back-up Mark Bunn.
Player to watch: Wes Hoolahan
Wes Hoolahan is finding his form at just the right time in the top flight and is starting to replicate his Football League form on the highest level on a more consistent basis.
Chris Hughton has shown more faith in the midfield player than his predecessor Paul Lambert, with Hoolahan now given license to roam more freely and create opportunities.
Match Facts & Stats
QPR: D D W D D
Norwich City: L L D L D
Barclays Premier League – 25/08/12
Norwich City 1 (Jackson 11)
QPR 1 (Zamora 19)
Team: Rob Green, Fabio da Silva, Anton Ferdinand, Clint Hill, Armand Traoré, Jamie Mackie, Park Ji Sung, Samba Diakité, Junior Hoilett, Djibril Cissé, Bobby Zamora.
HEAD 2 HEAD:
Norwich City: 45
REFEREE: Jon Moss
ASSISTANTS: John Flynn & Mark Scholes
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Neil Swarbrick
Mr Moss has taken charge of one Rangers clash this season – sending off Steven Pienaar in the 1-1 home draw with Everton at Loftus Road – Junior Hoilett’s deflected effort pegged back by Sylvan Distin.
In 20 games this season Moss has dished out 49 yellow cards and the solitary Pienaar red. Thus giving him a card average of 2.5 cards per game.
It is my view that Queens Park Rangers have picked up in terms of form and will evidently need the victory more than Norwich, such is the current plight of the home side.
WHO: SWANSEA CITY
WHERE: LIBERTY STADIUM
WHEN: 09/02/2013 – 15.00