QPR welcome Portsmouth to Loftus Road today with both teams needing a win to gain momentum as they head into the business end of the season. Pompey have struggled recently and are without a win in seven league games. QPR remain top of the league even though they have stuttered along in a slightly inconsistent manner for the best part of two months.
Loftus Road has been somewhat of a fortress this season and the R’s will be hoping to continue their fine home form against Steve Cotterill’s charges. QPR have lost just the once at home and will be confident of avoiding defeat. Since the Bristol City game, Rangers have been much more solid at the back, which is just as well considering Portsmouth are able to welcome back perennial bogey-man Dave Kitson to their side. Kitson on his day can be a real handful and is one of several strikers who seem to raise their game when they play against the R`s.
The last three matches between the two sides have ended in a draw, so no prizes as to what is the most likely outcome on Tuesday. When the teams last met, Portsmouth had hit some form and were playing with belief, a slightly different story at the moment. Pompey are bereft of confidence and Cotterill appears to be struggling to motivate his squad. They have some dangerous players in Liam Lawrence and David Nugent who both possess the ability to change a game so it would be foolish to rule out a potential upset.
Hull City 0
Team: Kenny, Hill, Orr, Connolly, Gorkss, Routledge, Derry, Taarabt, Faurlin (Vaagen Moen), Smith (Hulse), Miller (Ephraim)
Portsmouth 1 (Utaka)
Burnley 2 (Rodriguez, Marney)
Team: Ashdown, Lawrence, Sonko, Halford, de Laet, Ward, Utaka, Mullins, Hogg (Hreidarsson), Nugent, Kanu (Dickinson)
QPR Team News:
QPR are monitoring Alejandro Faurlin and Tommy Smith, who both picked up injuries at Hull on Saturday. Heider Helguson is a doubt with a groin injury.
If Faurlín is out then either Matthew Connolly or Petter Vaagan Moen are expected to deputise. If Connolly is moved into midfield, it could pave the way for new signing Danny Shittu to make his first appearance since rejoining the R’s.
Possible line up:
Orr – Connolly – Gorkss – Hill
Vaagan Moen – Derry
Routledge – Taarabt (c) – Ephraim
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt is arguably the most talented player in the Championship but he is far from without his faults. As demonstrated against Hull last week, Taarabt showed signs that he is not the finished article with a display of petulance in the first half, mainly down to frustration. Maybe he should put off the move to Manchester United for another year and continue to develop at QPR where he has excelled.
However on a more positive note, the Moroccan International has been the attacking heartbeat of the Rangers team. The gifted midfielder has scored an impressive 13 goals but what is equally striking is his contribution to the team. Taarabt has set up 11 goals for his teammates, alluding to his development as a footballer under the guidance of Neil Warnock.
The attacking midfielder signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 after a successful loan spell from French side Lens. Spurs paid around £3 million for him and big things were expected but after lack of first team appearances he has since had two successful loan spells at QPR. This summer saw Adel Taarabt sign permanently for QPR for a figure believed to be in the region of £1 million.
Portsmouth Team News:
Centre-back Aaron Mokoena and striker Dave Kitson are available again after serving suspensions. Kanu is expected to continue upfront. David Nugent could play wide-left after the departure of John Utaka.
Halford -Sonko- Mokoena – Dickinson
Lawrence – Brown – Mullins – Nugent
Kanu – Kitson
Player to watch: David Nugent
David Nugent has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this week’s match against Portsmouth.
For Daniel’s comprehensive review of the striker Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: DLDWD
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 13
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 12/04/08
Portsmouth 1(Lawrence pen)
QPR 1 (Smith pen)
Team: Kenny, Hill, Connolly(sent off 68), Gorkss, Walker, Derry (Clarke), Taarabt (Borrowdale), Faurlin, Mackie, Smith, Hulse (Agyemang)
Referee: Mr G Hegley
Assistants: Mr I Crouch & Mr G Evetts
Fourth Official: Mr N Lugg
Grant Hegley is the match official for Tuesday’s game and has officiated 20 games this season. His most recent game was the stalemate between Scunthorpe and Barnsley.
Last season Hegley issued 40 yellow cards and one red card in 36 games.
I think QPR will attack from the off and try to pin Portsmouth back as much as possible. They aren`t blessed with a lot pace, so the threat of a counter-attack shouldn`t be too much of a worry. They do however possess the likes of Michael Brown and Hayden Mullins both of which are experienced players that play with grit and determination and will not buckle easily.
Adel Taarabt will want to put in a shift after he was marked out of the tie against Hull. The playmaker will be looking to assert his usual influence on the game and I think if he can find similar amounts of space to which he enjoyed against Coventry, then I believe he will dominate the match. Liam Lawrence could prove to be a handful for the R`s defence, but I think due to the lack of confidence in the Portsmouth camp, if Rangers get an early goal I don`t see them coming back.
Where: MADEJSKI STADIUM