THIS weekend the R’s play host to newly-promoted Norwich City in what should prove to be a tightly-contested affair. Norwich are riding the crest of a wave that inevitably follows a promotion and are nicely perched in a play-off position.
Queens Park Rangers welcome back several first-teamers for Saturday; Alejandro Faurlin and Bradley Orr are in contention but Neil Warnock’s refusal to change a winning side will surely affect their chances of an immediate return.
QPR’s official website has confirmed that the game is close to a sell-out. With apparently only 100 seats left in the home areas and with Norwich selling all of their 3000 strong allocation the atmosphere on Saturday is poised be electric.
With the international break allowing both squads to rejuvenate the players are now chomping at the bit to return to their bread and butter – Championship football. Jamie Mackie who represented Scotland for the first time this week said: ‘I can`t wait to get going again. Playing for Scotland was a massive moment in my career but I love playing for QPR week in, week out.’
Crystal Palace 1 (Cadogan)
QPR 2 (Taarabt, Helguson)
Team: Kenny, Hill, Connolly, Gorkss, Walker, Derry, Buzsaky (Leigertwood), Ephraim, Taarabt ( Smith), Mackie, Helguson
Bristol City 0
Norwich City 3 (Jackson x2, Hoolahan pen)
Team: Ruddy, Ward, Barnett, Smith (Fox) , Martin, Crofts, Hoolahan, Lappin, Smith, Jackson (Martin), Holt
QPR Team News:
Clint Hill is a doubt after missing training on Thursday with a stomach complaint. Alejandro Faurlin and Bradley Orr could return to the bench after resuming training this week.
Neil Warnock should name an unchanged side which means Akos Buzaky and Kyle Walker will keep their places. Walker extended his loan this week and will remain at Loftus Road until January 3rd.
Fitz Hall (Groin), Martin Rowlands (Calf), Rob Hulse (Achilles) and Leon Clarke (Ankle) are doubts whilst Peter Ramage and Lee Cook remain long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Walker – Connolly – Gorkss – Hill
Buzsáky – Derry
Mackie – Taarabt (c) – Ephraim
Player to watch: Kyle Walker
The versatile defender has been hugely impressive for the R’s and this week he extended his loan keeping him at the club until January 3, much to the delight of the Rangers faithful. His marauding runs and composure on the ball has quickly made him a fans’ favourite.
Walker rose through the ranks at Sheffield United before signing for Spurs in 2009. Walker re-joined the Blades on loan but was recalled in February. The talented fullback made 28 appearances for Sheffield United.
Walker has represented England at U19 and U21.
Norwich City Team News:
Paul Lambert has no fresh injury concerns. Adam Drury returns from a hamstring injury whilst Simeon Jackson and Andrew Crofts got through their respective international fixtures unscathed and go straight into the squad for Saturday.
Martin – Barnett – Ward – Drury
Hoolahan – Crofts – Smith – Lappin
Holt – Jackson
Player to watch: Grant Holt
Grant Holt has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this week`s match against Crystal Palace.
For all the news regarding the One to Watch Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WWWDW
Norwich City: LWLWW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 38
Norwich City: 32
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 03/03/09
Norwich City 1
Team: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Leigertwood, Routledge, Blackstock, Gorkss (Hall), Connolly, Miller (Ephraim), Lopez, Helguson (Di Carmine)
Referee: A Penn (West Midlands)
Assistants: R Kendall & D Rock
Fourth Official: C Breakspear
Andy Penn is the match official for the game this weekend and has officiated eleven games this season. His most recent game was Charlton’s 2-1 defeat to rivals Brentford.
Last season Penn issued 63 yellow cards and two Red in 34 games.
To read more on see: Ref Watch
Neil Warnock can take huge pride in the job he has done at Loftus Road so far. Warnock’s men have picked up 26 points out of a possible 30, scoring 24 and conceding just 3. It really should get boring repeating those stats but it doesn`t.
The R’s boast several in-form players – Adel Taarabt, Heider Helguson and Jamie Mackie have stolen the headlines but its Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and Alejandro Faurlin who deserve a share of the credit.
The aforementioned players have solidified what was a flimsy looking side and the R’s record this season speaks for itself. Eight clean sheets in ten games is a terrific record, especially at Championship level where any team has the ability to match any other side in the division.
Norwich have looked good so far and boast some exciting attacking prospects Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson and Wesley Hoolahan have the ‘tekkers’ to cause a few problems for our defence. Grant Holt has become a talismanic figure for The Canaries and was central to their promotion last season.
The powerful centre-forward scored an impressive 30 goals in all competitions. Not bad for a player whose career looked to be on the downturn after a relatively unsuccessful spell at Forest.
I think the match will be end to end with both teams certainly going for the win. I’m not convinced by the Norwich defence and I think we can capitalise providing playmaker Adel Taarabt is in the right mood (What a so and so he is). Failing that the in-form Heider Helguson and Jamie Mackie should cause them more than enough problems.
2-0 Rangers win.
Who: Swansea City
Where: Liberty Stadium