RANGERS managed to bounce back into a play-off position in the Championship this weekend, despite a spirited come-back from rock-bottom Nottingham Forest.
In Swansea City they face a very different prospect. Like Forest the swans are newly promoted from League One, but faring a lot better under the guidance of Roberto Martinez.
The champions of League One currently lie in tenth position following a decent point away at Ipswich Town this weekend, faring by far the better of the three promoted sides.
Martinez`s Spanish influx has yielded priceless wins against leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers along with bitter rivals Cardiff City, they now welcome a side on the periphery of the promotion race – QPR.
R`s assistant boss Tim Flowers spoke of his delight with the 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest, but was left disappointment with sections of the Rangers support:
‘I can’t understand the anxiety at this place.” Flowers told QPR.co.uk.
‘We were tenth going in to the match and now we’re sixth and in the last 16 of the Carling Cup, with a tie at Old Trafford to look forward to.
‘If someone misplaces a pass by an inch or something suddenly you hear the fans boo. It’s madness but that’s football and we’ll have to cope with it.’
‘I don’t think we’re too far off the pace. We’re sixth and in a strong position,’
‘We were biting our nails towards the end, but I think we definitely deserved the victory over the course of the 90 minutes.
‘I thought we were better in the first half than they were. It was quite an entertaining game but we just didn’t get the breaks.”
‘In the second half, we got our noses in front and then got a second and that eased some of the anxiety about the place.
‘Their goal rocked us back into our shell, but we were good value for the win and it’s a vital three points.’
‘I thought we were too deep at times as a defensive unit, but we improved in the second half and our courage was excellent.’
Swansea boss Roberto Martinez was also happy with his side`s performance in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Ipswich Town at Portman Road, but was disappointed with the officials in Counago`s late equaliser:
‘It was a hard-earned point, Martinez told the BBC
“To come to a tough place like Portman Road and play so well, we deserved all three points. But if we perform the way we did at Ipswich over the next ten games, I’ll be happy but the goals we conceded were a little soft.
‘I thought Counago’s winner was off-side but if you go away from home and you get a 50-50 decision, it will go to the home side. But to perform well and earn a draw at a tough place like Ipswich, just shows you how far we have come as a football club.’
Swansea City Team News:
The Swans have a relatively fit squad to choose from ahead of the clash against Rangers tomorrow night.
Andrea Orlandi could be set to return to the squad following injury – the former Barcelona midfielder wasn`t match-ready to take to the squad in the side`s 2-2 draw with Ipswich but may well come into the reckoning mid-week.
Jason Scotland will once again be vying with Gorka Pintado, with Jordi Gomez nailed on to start following his spectacular goal scoring exploits against the Tractor Boys.
Livewire forward Fabien Brandy on loan from Manchester United could also make things interesting should he take to the field from the bench.
Player to watch: TBA
QPR Team News:
Iain Dowie could be set to ring the changes as the punishing international schedule has taken its toll on a few players, keeping in mind there is a crucial game against Reading at the weekend.
There may be a reshuffle in the back four, which depends on whether Fitz Hall`s bout of illness clears up in time. If not Matthew Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss are ready to step in.
Midfielders Gavin Mahon and Emmanuel Ledesma sit on the periphery, and depending on what formation Dowie chooses, there could be a place for either at the Liberty Stadium, while Damiano Tommasi draws ever closer to joining the 16.
If Dowie chooses to go with two up front, Angelo Balanta may continue in his starting berth alongside top scorer Dexter Blackstock, the young Colombian on the score sheet against Nottingham Forest.
Daniel Parejo and Patrick Agyemang could once again link up with the squad after their absence from the Forest fixture.
Player to watch: Lee Cook
Cookie has started to show glimpses of his best since returning to W12 on loan in the summer.
Lee has struggled to really get going at the start of the campaign, but recently has been integral in Rangers push into a play-off place. Every move seems to flow through the self-professed QPR fan as the winger carves out a plethora of chances for a diminutive strike force.
Starting at Watford, Ian Holloway secured the services of Cook in December 2002, following an impressive loan spell with York City. After returning to the Hornets he had an extended run in the side that saw him become a hot prospect in the Championship.
Rangers snapped him up on a permanent deal in their first year back in the newly rebranded Championship, making his debut off the bench at Vicarage Road. Since then Cookie left for West London rivals Fulham in a move that would secure the R`s long-term safety – efforts to get him back to Loftus Road resulted in a season long loan deal, for which the R`s are attempting to make permanent.
Match Facts & Stats
Swansea City: Last 5 Games: D L W W D
QPR: Last 5 Games: L L D L W
Their first win in 5 games ensured Rangers climbed back into a play-off place with results elsewhere going in favour of the R`s. Rangers have lost their last 2 away games 1-0 against Birmingham City and Coventry City but winning on the road at Norwich which was their last win prior to last weekend.
The Swans have been in indifferent form of late, picking up useful points away at Burnley and Ipswich, while defeating leaders Wolves at the Liberty Stadium. The 4-0 mauling at the hands of resurgent Reading set the alarm bells ringing however.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Swansea City: 9
Last time out
Tuesday 24th August 2004 – Loftus Road
Carling Cup Round 1
QPR 3 (Cureton 39, Rowlands 77, Gallen 90)
Swansea City 0
Rangers Team: Chris Day, Marcus Bignot, Danny Shittu (Marcus Bean 20), Terrell Forbes, Gino Padula, Martin Rowlands, Kevin Gallen, Georges Santos, Lee Cook, Jamie Cureton (Marc Bircham 56), Paul Furlong (Kevin McLeod 82).
See also: One Day In History – Swansea City 1979-80.
Referee– Mr. A Bates
Assistants – Mr. A R Hendley & Mr. L Swabey
Fourth official – Mr. S Ihringova
Anthony Bates from Staffordshire will referee Rangers fixture tomorrow night against Swansea City.
To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
This game will be tough going for Rangers, with newly promoted Swansea still riding the crest of a wave and looking to kick on. The R`s have done well of late if not slightly disappointing in the areas that matter but the odd goal should be enough to settle this game; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
Where– Madejski Stadium, Reading
When– Saturday 25th October. 5:20pm