RANGERS travel to Watford on Monday night in a bid to climb into a playoff place and get their season back on track.
There couldn’t be a starker difference in feeling around W12 since the last time they had a game televised. All the pre-match talk against Leicester City was how many the R’s would rack up – and the rude awakening they received that day has had a profound effect on their form since.
Watford by comparison have worked miracles to keep themselves in the top half of the table given their financial woe, and it owes much to the investment of chairman Jimmy Russo in the face of a cash flow crisis at the Vic.
A combination of youth and experience has helped the Hornets to their lofty perch, with Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley and Arsenal’s Henri Lansbury complimenting the form of Icelandic hero Heidar Helguson.
The reputation of Helguson between the two clubs couldn’t be any more disparate or diverse with Watford cheering his every touch, and QPR supporters not condifent in his ability to make it out on the pitch let alone make a vital contribution.
These are the two extremes however, with some still hopeful that Helguson can have an impact at Rangers, but as time goes by Rangers must deal with the talent at their disposal if they are to dispel their recent form and get their season back on track.
QPR 1 (Agyemang 53)
Middlesbrough 5 (Kitson 31, Lita 50pen, 60, O’Neil 75, Yeates 87)
Team: Radek Černý, Fitz Hall, Mikele Leigertwood,Wayne Routledge (Alessandro Pellicori 82), Ákos Buzsáky (Rowan Vine 52), Kaspars Gork?s, Ben Watson, Alejandro Faurlín, Jay Simpson (Patrick Agyemang 52), Gary Borrowdale, Adel Taarabt.
Newcastle United 2 (Løvenkrands 20, Pancrate 83)
Team: Scott Loach, Lloyd Doyley, Adrian Mariappa, Craig Cathcart, Lee Hodson, John Eustace, Henri Lansbury (Liam Henderson 85), Tom Cleverley, Don Cowie, Danny Graham (Nathan Ellington 77), Heidar Helguson.
Watford Team News:
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Injuries have been kind to Watford this season with only Ross Jenkins (back) and Jay DeMerit sidelined in recent weeks, as the latter comes back into contention following an eye injury.
England Under 21 goalkeeper Scott Loach should start for the Hornets with a back four of Lloyd Doyley, Craig Cathcart, Adrian Mariappa and Northern Ireland youngster Lee Hodson, but DeMerit may edge the latter out.
A midfield of the combative John Eustace and loan duo Tom Cleverley and Henri Lansbury will team up with Scotsman Don Cowie as Nathan Ellington steps in to partner Danny Graham.
Mariappa – DeMerit – Cathcart – Doyley
Lansbury – Eustace – Cowie – Cleverley
Ellington – Graham
Player to watch: TBA
QPR Team News:
Another lacklustre home performance may well see Jim Magilton shuffle his pack once more with several players poised for an opportunity on the fringes.
Radek Černý will remain in goal with Kaspars Gork?s set to retain his place alongside Fitz Hall owing to an injury to Matt Connolly (pelvis). Gary Borrowdale should keep his place but Peter Ramage could return at full-back with Leigertwood an option in midfield.
Rangers flattered to deceive in the middle of the park and either Ben Watson or Alejandro Faurlín may pay the price for Ramage’s return at the back in a bid to bolster a faltering rearguard.
Ákos Buzsáky being hauled off early in the second half doesn’t look promising for his place, and with Angelo Balanta poised to return, Buzsáky may have put in a mediocre display at the wrong time.
Adel Taarabt featured for the 90 minutes and both he and Wayne Routledge could be set to continue behind the lone front-man Jay Simpson – who himself had a day to forget on Saturday.
Martin Rowlands (knee), Gavin Mahon (knee), Lee Cook (knee) and Steven Reid (hamstring) remain sidelined.
Possible line up:
Ramage – Hall – Gork?s – Borrowdale
Watson – Leigertwood
Balanta – Routledge – Taarabt
Player to watch: Jay Simpson
Jay Simpson will want to bounce back to goalscoring ways after a disappointing weekend for the R’s.
The Arsenal loanee couldn’t carve himself out an opportunity on a day where Rangers were well and truly beaten by Middlesbrough, and was taken off moments into the second half.
He has proven his capabilities in front of goal and ability to hold the ball up and will no doubt be keen to impress in front of the Sky cameras.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Watford: L W W L L
Queens Park Rangers: D W L D L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 46
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 28-12-2008
Queens Park Rangers: 0
Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Fitz Hall, Damion Stewart, Damien Delaney, Gavin Mahon (Mikele Leigertwood 84), Hogan Ephraim, Martin Rowlands, Lee Cook (Dexter Blackstock 46), Heidar Helguson, Patrick Agyemang.
Watford 1-2 Queens Park Rangers – 27-03-1971
Referee: Mr Andy Penn (West Midlands)
Assistants: Mr Eammon Smith (Surrey) & Mr Rob Whitton (Essex)
Fourth Official: Mr Kevin Wright
QPR will be hoping that Mr Penn sheds an unwanted record against Watford as the R’s travel to Vicarage Road.
Every time Mr Penn has taken charge of Rangers he has sent a QPR player marching – twice against Cheltenham, once against Watford.
Most recently he righfully sent off Fitz Hall for a poorly-timed lunge on Will Hoskins as managerless Rangers were defeated at Vicarage Road last season.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
All I can do at the moment is keep predicting that slender win and hopefully it will roll around the corner – particularly in front of the viewing masses.
A tight win is all the supporters can hope for given their recent form, and with Watford in decent form at home this could prove to be a tough test for the R’s.
An early goal to get Rangers in front may well help them prosper as Rangers don’t seem too confident coming back from behind.
LeeCookFan: 5-1 QPR
Superhoop50: 2-2 Draw
number8buster: 10-4 Watford
Teams: West Bromwich Albion v QPR
Date: Monday December 14, 2009 – 7.45pm
Ground: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich