RANGERS will be looking to dispel their previous shortcomings at Selhurst Park as they search for their first win there in 11 attempts.
The R`s bounced back during the week to beat Charlton Athletic in a London derby, now they face a very different proposition in a red-hot Crystal Palace side in their second of the London double-header.
Palace have been in good form of late with loanee Craig Beattie at the forefront of their attack in recent weeks. The loanee from West Bromwich Albion has bagged two in his last two games, as Palace look to fill the void left by Clinton Morrison.
Like Rangers, the Eagles picked up a positive result during the week, defeating Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road to move up to 12th in the table, 2 points and 2 places behind 10th placed QPR.
With the R`s having a poor record at Selhurst Park and Neil Warnock`s side returning to form, it proves to be a stern challenge for the R`s as they travel to SE25.
View From The Bench
Rangers boss Paulo Sousa was delighted with his Rangers side, as they handed the Portuguese manager his first win at the first time of asking:
‘The players gave me everything – and for that I am very proud.” Sousa told QPR.co.uk
‘It was a very important win for us, especially after our bad performance against Watford on Saturday.
‘My team, my players showed a mental change tonight. They kept going and turned a negative in to a positive.
‘I think Charlton Athletic did very well and I said to Gareth (Ainsworth) how surprised I am about their league position.
‘The players took my ideas on board tonight though and they believed in me and I am very proud of them.
‘It’s a lot easier to achieve when you believe in your own ability and we showed that tonight.’
Palace boss Neil Warnock was happy with his side`s midweek win over Norwich, reminding John Oster that despite his well-worked goal he had other duties to concentrate on:
‘We don’t seem to like the early months of the season for some reason.” Warnock told cpfc.co.uk
“We should have been a lot higher in the table now but we’ve played six of the top nine sides away from home already so it has not been easy. The main thing is we’re not too far behind.
‘I was delighted with the way we played tonight, it was a really good all-round performance’.
‘You will never see a better piece of skill than that anywhere in the world. It was a goal that was worthy of winning any game, although I’ve just reminded John that he was supposed to be marking Matthew Pattison when he scored!
‘John has always had that sort of thing in him and I’m delighted with the way he is playing for us at the moment.
‘He’s never tackled in his life but we’re teaching him to track back and he worked as hard as anyone out there, as well as providing that special moment.’
‘There are a few kids in the side but I’ve got no problem throwing them in. The finances here aren’t great and if I have to rely on a few more youngsters in the months to come then that is what I will do.’
Crystal Palace Team News:
Crystal Palace have never been scared to blood the youngsters in the Championship and that has been at the forefront of Neil Warnock`s tenure at Selhurst Park.
Defender Nathanial Clyne was handed a shock start against Norwich City during the week along with live-wire winger Sean Scannell. Victor Moses will be pushing for a starting place against the R`s as his trickery had been a definitive plus point in Palace`s excellent run towards the end of last season.
The tussle for the goalkeeper`s jersey continues as Julian Speroni came back at the expense of Darryl Flahavan at Carrow Road. Craig Beattie will once again be partnered by Shefki Kuqi as Palace continue to go from strength to strength.
Player to watch: Ben Watson
Former Rangers target and want-away Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson has been outlined at the One to Watch for the R`s trip to SE25.
To view all the detail regarding the One to Watch Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Rangers will be without central midfielder Mikele Leigertwood for the trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The former Crystal Palace player picked up his fifth booking against Charlton Athletic on Tuesday and will have to sit out on the sidelines against his former side.
The same fate falls upon Emmanuel Ledesma following his fifth booking in the Watford debacle at the weekend. The Argentinean winger was on the bench for the Charlton game.
While those two sit it out, Rangers` newest acquisitions look set to be named in the first team squad. Heidar Helguson looks set to link up with two-goal hero Dexter Blackstock upfront.
Former Eagle Gary Borrowdale is also set to start against his former club after signing on loan from Coventry City. Gary will replace Damien Delaney who persistently under-performs in his left back berth.
Lee Cook and Martin Rowlands face late fitness tests to be ready in time for the trip to SE25, while Hogan Ephraim may give up his role in the diamond formation for a more defensively minded player.
Kaspars Gorkss will partner Damion Stewart at the back once again, while Damiano Tommasi may be dropped in favour of Gavin Mahon.
Player to watch: Heidar Helguson
The transfer saga of the week saw the on/off deal for Bolton Wanderers forward Heidar Helguson completed, and he is raring to go for Rangers trip to Palace tomorrow.
The former Watford and Fulham forward is an experienced player at this level, and this was proven with his time at Vicarage Road scoring 55 goals over five years, including five international goals for Iceland.
Helguson started his career with Þróttur in his native Iceland before moving to Lillestrom in Norway. Soon after Watford brought him over to England.
He made 174 league appearances for the Hornets over five years at Vicarage Road, before making the switch to Premier League Fulham for £1.3m.
Two years at Craven Cottage passed with 11 Premier League goals in 57 appearances for the Whites, before Heidar moved north with Bolton Wanderers.
Just over a year with the Trotters has yielded limited opportunity for the experienced international, who has made only seven Premier League appearances.
Helguson has been accused by some fans as being far too injury prone, however should he remain injury free, his evident class at this level could prove to be invaluable.
Crystal Palace: Last 5 Games: D W L W W
QPR: Last 5 Games: L W L L W
The R`s away form has been consistently poor for the last two seasons having only won two away games in the calendar year, and only scoring two away goals this Championship campaign. The R`s have failed to win at Selhurst Park in a staggering 11 attempts.
Palace have won three games in their last four, losing only two of their eight home games this season. Their only defeat this month was a 2-1 loss away at Cardiff City. A stark contrast to their shaky beginning, failing to win in the month of August and being dumped out the cup in heavy fashion, 4-0 by Leeds United.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Crystal Palace: 29
Last time out
Tuesday 4th December 2007 – Loftus Road
Coca Cola Championship
QPR 1 (Damion Stewart 10)
Crystal Palace 2 (Clint Hill 65, Clinton Morrison 68)
Rangers Team: Lee Camp, Zesh Rehman, Damion Stewart, Bob Malcolm, Chris Barker, Martin Rowlands (Marc Nygaard 72), Akos Buzsaky (Adam Bolder 86), Mikele Leigertwood, Scott Sinclair, Ben Sahar (Angelo Balanta 83), Rowan Vine.
See also: One Day In History – Crystal Palace1989-90.
Referee– Mr R Styles
Assistants – Mr M Murphy & Mr A Watts
Fourth official – Mr K Wright
Rob Styles from Waterlooville, Hampshire will referee the R`s game against Palace tomorrow afternoon.
To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
After getting a positive result against Palace, the confidence will have improved, even if the football hasn`t. They face a Palace side which are brimming with confidence and the exuberance of youth, couple this with Rangers woeful record at Selhurst Park, this will be a tough fixture; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Who– Wolverhampton Wanderers
Where– Loftus Road, London.
When– Saturday December 6 – 5:20pm