Tomorrow`s match sees two sides in dire need of three points. A win for either side would be hugely significant in the context of the season and potentially act as a springboard for a decent run heading into the business end of the campaign. On paper, QPR v Wigan is not a glamorous affair and will most likely be last on Match of the Day, mainly because QPR and Wigan are the league`s lowest scorers with 19 and 18 respectively.
Personally, I reckon it will be an engaging game. Both sides are fighting for their lives and regard this fixture as a must win. Mark Hughes will obviously want to win his first home league game in charge but with a limited strike-force and threadbare midfield, it will be much more difficult than expected. Controversial midfielder and R`s skipper Joey Barton returns to the team but may be greeted by a mixed reception after publically criticising Neil Warnock. The former R`s manager hinted that Barton`s online exploits contributed to his sacking which didn’t sit well with Barton.
On Monday, Wigan were unlucky to lose against Man City and in truth played fairly well, especially in the second half. Roberto Martinez has several flair players at his disposal who can produce moments of magic. However, the likes of Victor Moses and Hugo Rodallega have been largely inconsistent this season, resulting in a shortage of goals and more importantly points. Should the aforementioned players have another off day tomorrow, then QPR may keep a rare clean sheet and pick up a win.
QPR 1 (Gabbidon)
MK Dons 0
Team: Kenny, Young, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Hill, Derry, Buzsaky (Helguson), Mackie, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd (Orr), Macheda (Smith)
Manchester City 1 (Dzeko)
Team: Al-Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Stam, Crusat (Di Santo), McArthur (Watson), McCarthy, Gomez (McManaman), Moses, Rodallega.
QPR Team News:
Danny Gabbidon is a doubt with a hip injury that forced him to miss out on training. Adel Taarabt and Armand Traore are away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Possible line up:
Young – Gabbidon – Ferdinand – Hill
Wright-Phillips – Barton – Buzsaky – Mackie
Helguson – Bothroyd
Player to watch: Shaun Wright-Phillips
In recent weeks, I think Shaun Wright-Phillips has been our brightest player. Granted, he lacks a bit of composure in the final third but his workrate and movement unsettles defenders, which is more than what Jay Bothroyd has been doing of late. Under Mark Hughes, we have looked much more organised, which does create a solid base for the likes of Wright-Phillips to have freedom going forward. In all honesty, he has been very unlucky not to have opened his account but a lot of it has to be down to poor technique and composure, which is sometimes affected by confidence – a component that has been sorely missing in the side this season.
Wigan Team News:
Midfielder David Jones is likely to miss out with a calf strain which also sidelined him against Manchester City. Mohamed Diame is away on international duty with Senegal.
Stam – Alcaraz – Caldwell – Figueroa
McCarthy – Watson – Gomez
Moses – Rodallega – Crusat
Player to watch: tba
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: LLDLW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 2
LAST TIME OUT
Premier League – 27/08/11
Wigan 2 (Di Santo x2)
Team: Kenny, Gabbidon, Hall (Harriman), Connolly, Perone, Derry, Buzsaky (Bothroyd), Smith (Andrade), Taarabt, Faurlin, Agyemang
Referee: J Moss
Assistants: D Cann & A Garratt
Fourth Official: M Dean
Jonathan Moss is the match official for Saturday`s crunch game. This season Moss has issued 74 yellow cards and 9 red cards in 20 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
The win against MK Dons would`ve done wonders for the squad, even if the performance wasn`t quite up to supporter`s expectations. Encouragingly, the team appears to be more solid and this has to be down to the manager`s work in training on defensive shape and positioning. I`m starting to feel more positive ahead of the game tomorrow because another week under Hughes and his management team, coupled by the win in midweek would`ve helped build further confidence in the camp.
The enormity of the match should not be overlooked, especially as a win could propel either side out of the relegation zone. It will most likely be a tight and cagey affair with both teams lacking conviction going forward. I think one goal will sneak it and under new management I think we might just edge it.
1-0 Home win and a goal from Akos Buzsaky.
When:28/01/12 – 12:00