THE most anticipated match of the season takes place this Sunday, if the media hype is to be believed. I think every game from now until the end of the season is just as important as the next despite this match having all the makings of a classic encounter. It has two teams gunning for promotion, an array of talented footballers and two experienced managers pitting their wits against each other at a packed Loftus Road – an intimidating place for travelling players, regardless of form. At the end of the day a defeat for either side will not be a disaster, disappointing yes but certainly recoverable.
The game will be live on television, which is somewhat of a regular occurrence for Rangers this season. The downside of all these televised fixtures is the fact that the games are moved away from the traditional Saturday afternoon slot to a Friday evening or a Sunday afternoon. Our last home game that took place on a Saturday was Cardiff at home and that was over two months ago.
It has to be said that Nottingham Forest are on one hell of a run. Billy Davies’ side have won eight out of their last nine in the league and haven’t lost since November. It is this hot streak that has seen the Reds climb the table in superb fashion, whether or not they are peaking too early remains to be seen. Their run is reminiscent of QPR’s start to the season, where they were unbeaten for the first four months of the season, and during that time the R’s had won eight out of their first ten games.
Forest are certainly the form team and will be full of confidence ahead of the match. I do fear for our defence, who at times are susceptible to moments of indecision. Forest have pace in abundance with the likes of Earnshaw, McGoldrick, Anderson and Tudgay, which could prove costly as our defence isn’t the quickest. I believe the game will be won in midfield and if Shaun Derry can win the battle of the veterans against Paul McKenna, then that could be the key to dominating the game.
QPR 1 (Routledge 82)
Team: Paddy Kenny, Clint Hill, Bradley Orr, Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss, Wayne Routledge (Fitz Hall 89), Shaun Derry, Hogan Ephraim (Sent Off 42), Adel Taarabt (Petter Vaagan Moen 86), Alejandro Faurlín, Rob Hulse (Ishmael Miller 66)
Nottingham Forest 1 (Tudgay 1)
Team: Lee Camp, Paul Konchesky, Wes Morgan, Luke Chambers, Chris Gunter, Chris Cohen, Paul Anderson (Nathan Tyson 63), Paul McKenna, Radolsaw Majewski (Lewis McGugan 79), Marcus Tudgay, Rob Earnshaw (Dele Adebola 78)
QPR Team News:
QPR boss Neil Warnock will make a late decision as to whether Heider Helguson and Tommy Smith are fit to play on Sunday. Both players have been nursing injuries with Tommy Smith in particular struggling with a hamstring problem.
Hogan Ephraim is suspended after being sent off against Reading. Long term absentees Jamie Mackie, Patrick Agyemang and Peter Ramage remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Possible line up:
Orr – Connolly – Gorkss – Hill
Faurlin – Derry
Routledge – Taarabt (c) – Vaagan Moen
Player to watch: Shaun Derry
The Nottingham-born midfielder has been arguably Rangers most consistent performer. His superb reading of the game assisted by his excellent tackling ability have complimented the so called ‘flair’ players, giving them an added sense of freedom to take risks going forward. Without Derry`s leadership and guile on the pitch, the R’s would no doubt be further down the table.
Derry is hugely experienced having played for Notts County, Sheffield United, Portsmouth, Crystal Palace, Nottm Forest (loan), and Leeds. Derry has notched up 129 appearances during his second spell at Palace and helped guide the Eagles away from relegation following their well documented ten- point deduction.
Nottingham Forest Team News:
Billy Davies will be without defensive midfielder Guy Moussi for the rest of the season, who is out with a thigh problem. Moussi will be a big loss for the Reds as his combative style gives their midfield a resilient edge.
Forest have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match at Loftus Road.
Gunter – Morgan – Lynch – Konchesky
Cohen – McGugan – McKenna – Majewski
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
Marcus Tudgay has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this weekend’s match against Nottingham Forest.
For Daniel’s comprehensive review of the strikerClick Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: DWDWW
Nottingham Forest: WWLWW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 25
Nottingham Forest: 14
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 13/11/10
The City Ground
Nottingham Forest 0
Team: Paddy Kenny, Jamie Mackie, Kaspars Gorkss, Clint Hill, Kyle Walker, Alejandro Faurlín, Shaun Derry, Hogan Ephraim (Leon Clarke 79), Adel Taarabt (Martin Rowlands 89), Tommy Smith, Rob Hulse (Patrick Agyemang 68)
Referee: Mr M Clattenburg
Assistants: Mr S Child & Mr S Long
Fourth Official: Mr P Walton
Mark Clattenburg is the match official for Sunday’s game and has officiated 27 games this season. His most recent game was the Premier League clash between Spurs and Bolton.
Last season Clattenburg issued 105 yellow cards and 5 red cards in 42 games.
It will be interesting to see how Billy Davies approaches the game; will he pack out the midfield and look to hit QPR on the counter? Or will he decide to attack from the off, much like Portsmouth did last week. Had Pompey been able more clinical in the first half it would’ve proven to be a successful tactic. Neil Warnock will no doubt set his side out to win the game and if Rangers can pull out a performance similar to that against Cardiff and Swansea, then I think we can certainly get a point at the very least.
Like any match now we need our star players to pull out a performance from the top drawer. Ali Faurlin has been instrumental in the last two matches and hopefully he will continue his excellent form on Sunday. If he and Derry can dominate the midfield, then I believe we will cause Forest a lot of problems. Robert Earnshaw will need to be marked very closely. If he finds any space in the box and he will capitalise. Midfielders Chris Cohen and Radoslaw Majewski will look to stamp their creative authority onto the game; both possess excellent distribution and a fierce shot to boot.
A tight and edgy affair. Earnshaw and Faurlin to score.
Who: PRESTON NORTH END
When: 19/02/2011 – 15.00