FOLLOWING a disappointing set of draws in W12 the R`s are back on the road, and their first test comes in the FA Cup replay at Turf Moor.
Much has been stated about Rangers record in the world famous domestic cup competition, going winless in the competition since beating Luton Town in 2001 – but Rangers must pick themselves up and face a difficult encounter against Burnley.
Following an excellent run in the build up to Christmas including several cup scalps, the Clarets have hit the buffers as they are without a win in five games, of which they`ve lost four.
It seems taking the lead at White Hart Lane was the worst thing to do for Burnley as Tottenham Hotspur roared back to a 4-1 win, and the hangover continued into home defeat against Swansea on Sky on Saturday evening.
Owen Coyle has vowed his men will bounce back from their recent blip, by doing all they can to progress in the FA Cup, and with the R`s recent form it could be a distinct possibility for the Lancashire side.
Rangers have drawn their last four fixtures, three of which have been at home. However the statistics soon brighten up when you consider the R`s are undefeated in six, and have incurred only one defeat in ten games. Indeed the defeat at Sheffield Wednesday is Paulo Sousa`s only defeat in charge of the R`s.
Memories of defeat and embarrassment in the FA Cup are seeking to be dispelled as the R`s travel to Turf Moor tomorrow – can the R`s really do it?
Rangers boss Paulo Sousa admitted to QPR.co.uk that his side didn`t deal with the ten men of Coventry City adequately enough as his side snatched a 1-1 draw.
He said: ‘We didn`t deal with the situation (the red card) as I would have liked,’
‘We have missed a good opportunity to win another home match,
‘We tried to win this game, but we didn`t ? we needed to be more clever – to think and react.
‘We worked very hard, but our finishing wasn`t as good as I expect. We had good chances, but we suffered through missed opportunities.’
Sousa was disappointed by Heidar Helguson`s needless foul that let the Sky Blues take the lead in W12, but nevertheless felt his side dominated proceedings from start to finish.
He continued: ‘From our silly foul they scored from 30 metres.
‘We were superior. Then (after their goal) we controlled it again and we got the equaliser, which I think we deserved.
‘We had more than enough chances to win the game, but the ball just didn`t go in.’
Burnley boss Owen Coyle told burnleyfootballclub.co.uk that he was pleased with ten-man Burnley`s display despite going down to Swansea City at home.
He said: ‘For the majority of the second half I felt we were in the game.
‘Swansea were limited to a few shots from outside the box, which they were going to get anyway because they are a very good side with 11, never mind against 10.
‘We created a few half chances and if we’d just had that bit of luck that deserted us, we could have got something out of the game.
‘But we didn’t and as I have said before, if the players want to feel sorry for themselves, then they are no good to me.
‘We have probably played more games than any other team in British football, but we don’t want anybody hiding behind that.”
After assessing his side`s performance Coyle looks to pick the Clarets as they face the oncoming tests of three competitions. He believes he can resurrect the side`s form as they host Rangers tomorrow night.
He continued: ‘It’s far too easy to look for excuses. The bottom line is we have not had enough players in the past few games playing to the standards set previously.
‘They have to look at themselves to resurrect that.
‘The nature of football means you are always going to get that smack and the sooner you get back up again the better and that starts on Tuesday against QPR.
‘There’s no doubt we can bounce back, so it’s time to look for the characters with the mental strength to come through and we need that sooner, rather than later.’
Burnley Team News:
It seems that the Clarets may struggle to field seven substitutes once more as they host Rangers in the crucial cup replay.
Burnley were unable to field the full quota of players last time round against QPR and with the squad decimated by injury and suspension Owen Coyle will be forced to reshuffle his pack.
With Michael Duff receiving his marching orders for a soft foul against Swansea`s Jason Scotland, Burnley may be forced to put Graham Alexander in the centre of the park.
The veteran Scot has been the Clarets only ever present this campaign, and he should line up alongside Steven Caldwell, who has avoided Rangers on the last two occasions through two separate suspensions.
Wade Elliott will be available against the R`s despite incurring a suspension for a fifth booking. The suspension will take effect as the Clarets face rivals Preston North End, seeing the former Bournemouth man possibly slot in at the unfamiliar position of right back.
Coyle however may choose to swallow his pride and reintroduce former Rangers defender Clarke Carlisle after he was dropped for several poor performances at the heart of the Burnley rearguard.
Joey Gudjonsson was drafted in at short notice against Swansea owing to an injury to Kevin McDonald. Gudjonsson`s inclusion came as a surprise to many as Owen Coyle believed him to be out for a further month following a hamstring complaint against Tottenham Hotspur.
There are several to pick from in attack with Chris Eagles and Robbie Blake preparing to take up the flanks, with Alex McDonald waiting in the wings. Up front Steven Thompson, Ade Akinbiyi and Martin Paterson will fight it out for a place in the starting line-up.
Player to watch: Martin Paterson
Vital QPR has singled out diminutive striker Martin Paterson as the One to Watch ahead of tomorrow`s cup replay with Burnley.
To view all the stats on the one to watch Click Here >>>.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
With Paulo Sousa seemingly content with everything but the goals, he may not make too many changes as the R`s travel to Turf Moor tomorrow night.
The 4-4-2 formation came back to the delight of the fans, with the width of Hogan Ephraim and Wayne Routledge providing more opportunities than in recent encounters. The shots column tallied at 20 with Rangers seemingly unable to take their chances.
Heidar Helguson and Dexter Blackstock are by no means the most prolific attacking threat in the Championship, however with no real options in reserve, Sousa will be forced to persist with the pair.
Lee Cook`s return will depend on how he has recovered from the virus that kept him out against Coventry. Should he return Hogan Ephraim will make way, in a move which will see Wayne Routledge switch to the right.
Matthew Connolly will remain in the right back berth in place of Peter Ramage, while the partnership of Kaspars Gorkss and Damion Stewart will remain as they continue to provide one of the most formidable pairs in the Championship.
Patrick Agyemang will once again miss out following surgery on an injured thigh this weekend, and he will join long-term absentees Akos Buzsaky and Rowan Vine on the sidelines.
Player to watch: Dexter Blackstock
Dexter`s goal at the weekend took his tally to 12 this season, and he will be looking to kick on as Rangers seek to progress in the FA Cup.
Blackstock`s recent contribution has come under the spotlight, as he goalscoring acted as a façade to mask some recent overall poor form. Dexter`s work rate has come under question in certain quarters but his inability to grab vital goals has made him a crucial asset to Rangers` squad.
Dexter capped off his 100th appearance for QPR at the weekend with the winner against Coventry City to add to a growing reputation in the game.
After joining Gary Waddock`s QPR from Southampton in August 2006 Dexter has bagged 32 goals in 107 appearances in all competitions.
Match Facts & Stats
Burnley: Last 5 Games: L L D L L
QPR: Last 5 Games: W D D D D
Burnley haven`t picked up a win since December 20, when they defeated Bristol City by the odd goal (2-1). Since then defeats against Barnsley (2-1), Doncaster Rovers (2-1), Tottenham Hotspur (4-1) and Swansea City (2-0) has seen the Clarets slip in both the league and the cup.
As mentioned in the introduction the statistics can be manipulated to suit whatever camp you fall into. Those with a negative head will see that Rangers have drawn their last four games, three of which were at home. However only one defeat in ten games of the Paulo Sousa reign has kept Rangers in the top half and poised for a push in the second part of the season.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Last Time Out
Saturday 3rd January 2009 – Loftus Road
Coca Cola Championship
Rangers Team: Radek Cerny, Damien Delaney, Damion Stewart, Gavin Mahon (Hogan Ephraim 61), Mikele Leigertwood, Dexter Blackstock, Kaspars Gorkss, Martin Rowlands, Peter Ramage, Lee Cook (Emmanuel Ledesma 46), Samuel Di Carmine (Patrick Agyemang 72).
See also: One Day In History – Burnley 1982-83.
See also: One Day In History – Burnley 1979-80 – Loftus Road.
See also: One Day In History – Burnley 1979-80 – Turf Moor.
Referee– Mr C Webster
Assistants – Mr S P Cummins & Mr M Heywood
Fourth official – Mr R J Madley
Mr Colin Webster from Tyne & Wear will officiate the R`s FA Cup replay with Burnley.
To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
Rangers are struggling for goals at the moment, but however frustrating the performances are proving it seems that a few missing links may well bring the side`s potential to fruition. I think that the R`s can pick up a valuable win – the first since 2001; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-1 Rangers
Sandydl`s Prediction: 2-1 Burnley
Lenny367`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
harrow-ranger`s Prediction: 3-1 Rangers
LeeCookFan`s Prediction: 3-1 Burnley.
Who– Derby County
Where– Pride Park
When– Saturday 17th January 2009 -3:00pm