RANGERS travel to the County Ground in the Carling Cup 1st Round, with both sides picking up positive opening day results.
The R`s narrow 2-1 win over Barnsley however was in stark contrast to a commanding Swindon performance and win over Tranmere Rovers at the County Ground.
QPR must now face the old foe in the Robins, who they have always found a stern test, especially away from W12. This was epitomised in the Premier League season of 1993/94, where rock bottom Town were relegated with 30 points, beating the R`s both home and away.
With the R`s set to field a weakened side, and Swindon looking to make waves in cup competition early on, it makes for a compelling encounter at the County Ground.
Iain Dowie spoke following the slender 2-1 win over Barnsley at the weekend.
‘Sure, I am delighted with the result, but there is a lot more to come from this group of players.’ Dowie told QPR.co.uk
‘Performance-wise, we were too open for my liking.’
Barnsley took an early advantage in the fixture, courtesy of a strike from new signing Iain Hume. But Iain Dowie was pleased with the tremendous character that his side showed.
‘When they scored we got a foot-hold on the match and I was pleased with the character of the lads.’
‘That was the reaction I was looking for and knowing the lads as I do, I never had any doubt that would be their response.’
Dowie was also quick the praise the contribution of another debutante Emmanue Ledesma, the winger on a season long loan from Italian outfit Genoa
‘He has got great talent,’ said Dowie
‘He needs to learn the shape and the system, but it was a great debut from him.’
The Rangers first team coach also explained the decision to let Fitz Hall take the spot kick which could have given him his hat-rick – however this was not the sole reason why Fitz was selected for penalty duties.
‘He was our penalty taker in the absence of the injured Martin Rowlands, and practiced yesterday,’ Dowie added
‘He scored five out of five in training, and I’ll have no problems with him taking another for us.
‘This victory is a small step on a long road. It’s a long season and we’re one out of one on a 46-game ladder.’
Swindon Town Team News:
Town are set to make minimal changes following the barnstorming 3-1 win over Tranmere at the weekend.
Man of the match Simon Cox is set to keep his place upfront alongside ex-Port Vale striker Billy Paynter, however former Bristol City forward Lee Peacock will also enter into the reckoning.
Kevin Amankwah faced a late fitness test against Tranmere, and didn`t come through, but the former QPR target could be set to start on Tuesday following recovery from injury.
Swindon who are being tipped for lower mid-table mediocrity, can also call upon tricky left winger Anthony McNamee formerly of Watford, and he will certainly be a player to watch if the R`s are to keep a clean sheet.
Player to watch: Simon Cox
21 year old striker, Cox, made the move to the County Ground in the dying stages of the January transfer window of 2008.
Starting his career at home-town club, Reading, Cox had brief loan spells with Brentford, Northampton Town and Swindon Town. The striker was hotly tipped to rejoin the Cobblers, but made the undisclosed move believed to be in the region of £200,000, to the delight of Swindon Town supporters.
Cox scored 15 goals in 36 appearances for The Robins last season, partly whilst on loan from local rivals Reading.
Simon Cox is tipped to have another successful season in League One for the Robins, perhaps helping them causing a few shocks along the way. Perhaps starting this Tuesday.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Duo Samuel Di Carmine and Damion Stewart will be available for selection after serving their allocated suspensions. However Martin Rowlands will serve the second of his three match suspension against the Robins.
Hogan Ephraim is still sidelined with shin splints, as are long-term absentees Rowan Vine and Akos Buzsaky.
In a big chance for the R`s fringe players to get some match time under their belt with benched stopper Lee Camp set to start at the County Ground.
There may also be game time for winger Matteo Alberti, and defender Matthew Connolly as the R`s look to make wholesale changes from the side that made a winning start to the Championship season.
Player to watch: Angelo Balanta
The young Colombian has another chance to display his skills on a competitive basis, after impressing during pre-season, most notably against Serie A outfit Chievo Verona.
Balanta burst onto the scene with a magnificent full debut against Watford in a 4-2 win and he subsequently made 12 appearances in his first season in the Championship, including an appearance at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup.
He scored his only goal of the season and indeed his young career when he drifted inside from a make-shift left wing position, using his strikers instinct to poach a goal against the Blades.
Balanta was compared last season to Michael Schumacher by QPR co-owner Flavio Briatore, and will be looking to impress first team coach Iain Dowie against League One opposition.
Match Facts & Stats
Off the back of an indifferent pre-season the R`s picked up a win on opening day, coming back from a goal behind with defender Fitz Hall bagging a brace.
In the calendar year of 2008 Rangers only won one away fixture, courtesy of Patrick Agyemang`s brace against Southampton at St. Mary`s. Since then the R`s have faltered on the road making it a winless run stretching back to early February.
The Robins displayed their home potential in front of a good crowd on Saturday and always relish home comforts against Queens Park Rangers.
The 3-1 win over Tranmere displayed vast potential of their attacking exploits and something the R`s will need to look out for.
Malpas will be looking for his side to continue a good trend of home form from last season, taking it into the cup fixture against Championship QPR.
One Day In History discusses the R`s victory away at in Swindon in 2000.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Rangers edge the head to head record with 40 wins to Swindon`s 35, the teams drawing 23 times in total. Most recently a 1-1 draw on a day where matters off the football pitch would be remembered as the England Rugby Union side won the world cup.
Last time out
30th December 2006 –County Ground
Swindon Town 1 (Parkin 39)
QPR 1 (Rowlands 79)
Rangers Team: Chris Day, Richard Edghill (Danny Shittu 45), Gino Padula, Clarke Carlisle, Terrell Forbes, Eric Sabin (Gareth Ainsworth 45), Martin Rowlands, Marc Bircham, Marcus Bean (Steve Palmer 82), Kevin Gallen, Tony Thorpe.
Referee– R.J. Beeby
Assistants – A.J. Horton & M.E. Weaver
Fourth official – S.C. Knapp
Last season Mr. Beeby refereed the R`s twice, firstly a home stalemate against Sheffield Wednesday, drawing 0-0, before an excellent 2-0 win over Barnsley, where Rangers put the Tykes to the sword with some stunning football.
Beeby sent off Swansea defender Gary Monk on the first fixture of the 2008/09 season, following the previous season where he refereed 36 games, handing out 76 yellow cards, whilst brandishing 5 reds.
Rangers fringe side should be too strong for Swindon but I`ve come to take nothing for granted with QPR, especially away at Swindon; which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-1 Rangers.
Who– Sheffield United
Where– Bramall Lane
When– Saturday 16th August. 3:00pm