This Saturday Queens Park Rangers host bottom of the table Preston North End and with Rangers playing league leaders Cardiff City next week, a win against Preston is essential if the R’s are to gain any momentum going into the match against the Bluebirds.
This season Preston have been disappointing to say the least, the Lilywhites sit bottom of the table, three points from safety. Darren Ferguson has struggled to get any consistency out of his squad, injuries haven’t helped but every team has them so at this stage shouldn’t count as much of an excuse.
Ferguson has had a fruitful week in the loan market bringing in no fewer than three players, Ritchie De Laet, Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh, who will no doubt lift the squad.
QPR picked up two very good away points last week against Portsmouth and Nottingham Forest, both of which are very hard places to go to. With Rangers back at Loftus Road they should be looking to have a real go at Preston and try and inflict as much damage as they can in the early stages of the game.
R’s striker Jamie Mackie who has struggled to find the net these past few months, celebrated his first Scotland goal on Tuesday night, hopefully that goal can re-start his incredible early season goal scoring form.
Nottingham Forest 0
Team: Kenny, Hill, Gorkss, Walker, Derry, Ephraim (Clarke), Taarabt (Rowlands), Faurlin, Mackie, Smith, Hulse (Agyemang )
Hull 2 (Garcia, Barmby)
Team: Lonergan, Brown, Davidson (McLaughlin), Morgan, St. Ledger, Russell, Parry (Mayor), Barton, James (Treacy), Parkin, Hume
QPR Team News:
Midfield maestro Shaun Derry is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign against his hometown club Nottingham Forest. Either Gavin Mahon or Martin Rowlands are expected to deputise.
Heider Helguson and Kyle Walker both face late fitness tests to see whether they can play on Saturday. Adel Taarabt who has had a slight groin problem this week should be available for seletion.
Possible line up:
Mackie – Connolly – Gorkss – Hill
Faurlín – Rowlands
Smith – Taarabt (c) – Ephraim
Player to watch: Kaspars Gorkss
The Latvian International has been imperious at the back and at times unplayable in the air. Under Neil Warnock and Keith Curle’s stewardship Gorkss along with Clint Hill, Kyle Walker, Matt Connolly and Paddy Kenny have been the league’s meanest defence, conceding only seven goals in 17 games, which is an incredible record considering how leaky the defence was last season.
Gorkss started his career FK Auda scoring nine goals in 77 games and following a successful trial at Swedish side Osters IF he signed for them in 2002. The centre back played 32 times scoring just the once. After then playing for Latvian sides Assyriska Foreningen and Ventspils, Gorkss made the move to England signing for Blackpool in 2007.
It was at Blackpool where the imposing centre half made a name for himself representing the Tangeries 51 times scoring an impressive seven goals. In the summer of 2008, Gorkss was part of a much drawn out transfer saga between QPR and Blackpool. Blackpool reported the way in which QPR approached to sign Gorkss but after a month and a half of back and forth and press speculation, Gorkss finally signed for the R’s on July 28 with Daniel Nardiello and Zesh Rehman going the opposite way.
Kaspars Gorkss has currently played 80 games for the R`s scoring 5 goals and has become one of the first names on the team sheet. Gorkss’ combative style and no nonsense defending have made him an integral part of the league`s strongest defence.
Preston North End Team News:
Darren Ferguson conceded that experienced defender Callum Davidson will miss Saturday`s match after picking up a groin injury against Hull City. Paul Coutts will also miss out as well.
Keith Treacy is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Hull. However Preston managed to sign 3 players in the week, so that does soften the blow somewhat.
De Laet – Brown – St. Ledger – Pugh
Parry – Tonge – Barton – Russell
Hume – Parkin
Player to watch: Jon Parkin
Man-mountain forward Jon Parkin has been outlined by Vital QPR as the One to Watch this weekend.
The Lilywhites front-man has always been an imposing figure in the front-line and is the likely outlet for any potential goals the visitors have to offer.
Able to hold the ball off and bring others into play, Parkin will link up with Iain Hume in an attempt to take down the division’s toughest rearguard.
Parkin has grabbed seven goals this campaign, including a hatrick in the stunning 6-4 victory over Leeds United.
A strike rate like this is not to be snubbed when you consider the plight of the Lilywhites and he will be their key marksman this weekend.
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: DDWDD
Preston North End: WLDLL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 9
Preston North End: 11
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 27/03/10
Preston North End 2 (Jones, Davidson pen)
QPR 2 (Ramage, Priskin)
Team: Ikeme, Ramage, Stewart, Hill, Gorkss, Leigertwood, Ephraim, Taarabt (Buzsaky), Faurlin, Priskin, German (Vine)
Referee: Mr D Phillips
Assistants: Mr G Jerden & Mr N Kinseley
Fourth Official: Mr J Busby
Mr D Phillips is the match official for Saturday’s game and has officiated 12 games this season. His most recent game was Crewe Alexandra`s convincing 3-1 victory against Gillingham.
Last season Phillips issued 93 yellow cards and 3 red cards in 31 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
I think the Preston game represents a great chance for the R`s to get a victory. Preston are a side lacking confidence and have a somewhat suspect defence. They boast two dangerous strikers in Jon Parkin and Iain Hume who are both good players at this level, so the threat is there it`s whether or not QPR can impose themselves making the Preston team work harder at the back instead of giving them the chance to attack.
QPR have a couple of players who are overdue a goal, Jamie Mackie should be full of confidence following his recent International exploits and Rob Hulse is looking stronger with every match that goes by. When both those players find their goal scoring boots the R`s will soon rise back to the top of the league.
I think the match will start off with QPR in the ascendency and looking for an early goal. Preston will struggle to keep Adel Taarabt quiet despite signing experienced midfielder Michael Tonge. Preston have some youngsters in their side so hopefully the guile of Tommy Smith and Rob Hulse can exploit that. Jon Parkin will no doubt be a tough test for Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Connolly just like Chris Iwelumo was but as long as Rangers go for the win I can`t see Preston realistically getting a look in.
Who: CARDIFF CITY
Where: LOFTUS ROAD
When: 27/11/10 – 15.00