This Saturday, QPR travel to Bramall Lane for their first away game of the season. This fixture has some added spice to it as it is the first time Paddy Kenny – who spent eight years at United – has faced his former club.
Kenny left United for Loftus Road this summer after spending the majority of last season serving a suspension for using banned substances. Kenny’s departure caused much unrest amongst the fans as they felt the club stood by him through his suspension and that he owed the Blades at least another season to repay the support given to him.
To add to the occasion Blades boss Kevin Blackwell who once assisted Neil Warnock during his time at Sheffield United left to join Leeds behind Warnock`s back and although they are remain friends the relationship has never been the same.
QPR suffered an embarrassing defeat to Port Vale in midweek and will be looking to bounce back with key players such as Adel Taarabt, Alejandro Faurlin and dare I say it Heidar Helguson returning makes the spine of the side look much stronger.
Sheffield United drew with Cardiff on Sunday looked very ordinary with Blackwell continuing to implement a long ball tactic without a recognised target man. Sheffield United like QPR crashed out of the first round away to League One side Hartlepool and will also be looking for a positive performance Saturday.
Port Vale 3 (J.Richards x2, Rigg)
Team: Paddy Kenny, Bradley Orr, Fitz Hall, Matthew Connolly, Gary Borrowdale, Mikele Leigertwood, Sean Derry (Rose), Hogan Ephraim, Josh Parker (Oastler), Jamie Mackie, Leon Clarke (German)
Hartlepool 2 (Brown, Boyd pen)
Sheffield United 0
Team: Steve Simonsen, Andy Taylor, Rob Kozluk, Johnny Ertl, Chris Morgan, Nick Montgomery, Leon Britton, Mark Yeates (Quinn), Kingsley James (Ward), Richard Cresswell (Bartley), Jordan Chapell.
Sheffield United Team News:
Kevin Blackwell doesn`t have a big squad at Sheffield United and with Darius Henderson, Simon Walton, Stephen Jordan all out injured the squad already looks threadbare.
The limited numbers will prove to be costly as the season goes on when suspensions and injuries build up so unless Blackwell delves further into the transfer market it could be another stop start year for the Blades.
Blackwell is expected to pick Simonsen in goal with Morgan and Johnny Ertl at centre back and Taylor and Kozluk occupying the full back positions.
The midfield does look strong with Montgomery and Britton in the centre. If they strike a good partnership they could be one of the best pairings in the division.
Mark Yeates and Jamie Ward could occupy the wide berths and Ched Evans is expected to start upfront. Summer signing Daniel Bogdanovic could be in line for his home debut against the R’s.
Kozluk – Morgan – Ertl – Taylor
Yeates – Montgomery – Britton – Ward
Evans – Bogdanovic
Player to watch: Leon Britton
Former Swansea City and West Ham United midfielder Leon Britton has been outlined as the One to Watch this weekend.
To look at the One to Watch Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
The only absentees from the first team are injured trio Akos Buzsaky, Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook. Although this week the R`s will buoyed by the news that Martin Rowlands has begun full training this week and when he is fit will be like a new signing.
Apart from the aforementioned Neil Warnock should have a fully fit squad to choose from as Adel Taarabt, Kaspars Gorkss and Heider Helguson return from international duty.
It is expected that Heider Helguson will start upfront in place of Leon Clarke. We should see Alejandro Faurlin replace Mikele Leigertwood in midfield who was less than impressive against Port Vale on Tuesday.
Josh Parker will drop to the bench and Adel Taarabt is expected to return to the starting eleven to give the R`s some much needed creativity whilst Hogan Ephraim and Jamie Mackie should keep their place on either wing.
A back four of Orr, Hall, Gorkss and Hill should be in place after Gary Borrowdale failed to impress at left back against Port Vale.
Paddy Kenny is expected to continue in goal and face his former club for the first time.
Orr – Hall – Connolly – Hill
Ephraim – Taarabt – Faurlín – Mackie
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
A person that needs no introduction to QPR fans he is a player that can turn a match on its head in an instance. Sometimes petulant and disruptive he can be a temperamental figure but when he is in the mood Adel Taarabt can be devastating.
The attacking midfielder signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 after a successful loan spell from French side Lens. Spurs paid around £3 million for him and big things were expected but after lack of first team appearances he has since had two successful loan spells at QPR.
This summer saw Adel Taarabt sign permanently for QPR for a figure believed to be in the region of £1 million. Taarabt is also an international footballer making his Moroccan debut against Czech Republic in 2009.
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: W W D W L
Sheffield United: W W W D L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 15
Sheffield United: 19
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship – 13-03-10
Sheffield United 1 (Cresswell)
QPR 1 (Taarabt)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Matthew Connolly, Matt Hill, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss, Mikele Leigertwood, Alejandro Faurlin, Hogan Ephraim (Cook), Adel Taarabt (Buzsaky), Tamas Priskin, Jay Simpson.
SEE ALSO: Sheffield United 1-1 QPR – 20/04/1974
Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire)
Assistants: Phil Dermott (Cheshire) Amy Fearn (Leicestershire)
Fourth Official: David Benton (South Yorkshire)
Andy Woolmer takes charge of the game on Saturday, interestingly QPR have never won when Woolmer has officiated.
To read more on the referee see: Men In Black
1-1 Score Draw
Former Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock will relish the prospect of a return to Bramall Lane and to add excitement to the occasion the return of Paddy Kenny is sure to ignite the atmosphere some more.
Sheffield United will be solid and tough to break down and although they won`t create many chances players like Ched Evans and Daniel Bogdanovic won`t need many opportunities to score as Evans showed against Cardiff last weekend.
Last season we played them four times drawing three and losing the other and if history dictates then I`m afraid a draw is the most likely outcome although part of me feels that Sheffield United will find a way through our seemingly fragile defence. It must be said though with Taarabt in our side we always stand a good chance as he has the ability to unlock any defence.
With both teams fairly even on paper a score draw is my prediction.
Who: Scunthorpe United
Where: Loftus Road
When: 21/08/10 – 15.00