PAULO Sousa`s QPR will be looking to pick up the maximum points as they host relegation threatened Norwich City in a midweek kick off in W12.
Bryan Gunn`s men are without a win in seven games, spelling trouble for the Canaries as they slip further into the relegation mire.
Norwich are four points from fourth bottom Nottingham Forest having played a game more than some of their rivals around them, a fact that makes their plight increasingly grim.
Rangers by comparison have stuttered in their chase for a playoff place, going five games without a win. Following the joy of a midweek away win up at Blackpool the R`s have drawn three and lost two as they conspire to throw away a place in the top six that was once so close to their grasp.
Some of the Canaries biggest issues have revolved around the basics of the game, goalscoring and defending, with the majority of their top goalscorers being expired loan signings such as Antoine Sibierski, Leroy Lita and Arturo Lupoli.
The loan addition of Jonathan Ground has been a positive at Carrow Road as he bolsters a faltering rearguard and adds three much needed goals into the bargain as he is first choice left back infront of Chelsea loanee Ryan Bertrand and long-term servant Adam Drury.
The game will also mark another return for Jamie Cureton to Loftus Road. The forward has fought his way back into contention under Bryan Gunn and will be looking for a goal against the side he left back in 2005.
This is a must win game for both sides, as Rangers want their promotion credentials to be taken seriously and Norwich`s Championship safety will crumble should they lose in W12 on Tuesday.
View From The Bench
Rangers boss Paulo Sousa told QPR.co.uk that the defeat didn`t dent his side`s promotion ambitions.
He said: ‘This result hasn’t damaged my ambitions. My goal this season is to build a solid base for the future. That future is next season. But, if you are in and around the play-offs, like we are, you must think play-offs. ‘
‘In our league, everything is possible. We still believe we can achieve something this season and anything is possible. You need to believe that anything can happen and it will.
‘What’s important is that the teams around us all dropped points. So while we didn’t capitalise on that, our position is still as it was.
‘Every time, we are looking for the three points and I am happy with the effort my players showed in trying to achieve that. We’ve got two home games now and that presents us with another chance to begin another run of results. Six points will help us a lot.’
Norwich City legend and manager Bryan Gunn spoke to canaries.co.uk in the aftermath of a disappointing defeat at home to Coventry City.
He said: ‘It’s a massive game on Tuesday night now against QPR – they’re physical, tall and will compete in set-plays and all around the park. We need to get the guys ready for that game, we’ve got 11 games and 33 points to play for and we need to make sure everyone’s up for the fight.
‘Jamie’s (Cureton) a finisher, and when he doesn’t finish and doesn’t score, he’s disappointed. When you see the chance it’s a good move from us and we get the ball across the goal.”
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Rangers boss Paulo Sousa looks set to make more changes to the side that lost in lacklustre fashion up in Barnsley as he continues to tinker with his line-up.
Lee Camp will be forced to sit out once more despite a poor display for Radek Cerny against Barnsley. It seems that the Czech stopper is virtually immovable between the sticks despite the fact he is prone to the odd error.
One would assume that Paulo Sousa has learned from tinkering with the defensive unit and he is set to name an unchanged back four against the Canaries with Fitz Hall due to warm the bench, and Kaspars Gorkss and Damion Stewart the preferred central defensive partnership. Matthew Connolly and the improving Damien Delaney will take the full back berths.
The midfield will depend on what formation Sousa chooses to deploy, with Gavin Mahon looking to return and proved himself to the Loftus Road crowd. Liam Miller looks set for the chop after a string of poor displays with Jordi López pushing for his full debut alongside Mikele Leigertwood as he returns to fitness.
On the flanks Matteo Alberti will make way for Lee Cook who was rested against Barnsley, with Wayne Routledge destined to occupy the other wing and give Jonathan Grounds some food for thought.
Up front and with Heidar Helguson and Dexter Blackstock going goalless once more Sousa may want to give Samuel Di Carmine another chance to impress in W12 after scoring against Ipswich last time out.
Long-term absentees Rowan Vine, Akos Buzsaky and Martin Rowlands will once again be missing from the sixteen while Patrick Agyemang will be looking to regain his fitness before rejoining the squad.
Player to watch: Wayne Routledge
Wayne Routledge will be looking to re-gain some home form and assert his impetus on the Championship once more as he comes up against the Canaries tomorrow night.
Routledge had been instrumental in the R`s upsurge in away form during February, inspiring much of Rangers creativity both home and away. He has created four assists since joining in January most recently for Samuel Di Carmine against Ipswich Town – he has also bagged a goal against Derby County in his second game.
His performances like the R`s have suffered of late, and he will be looking to bounce back to form by creating and bagging goals against relegation strugglers Norwich City.
To view Routledge`s profile Click Here >>>
Norwich City Team News:
The Canaries have no fresh injury worries following their defeat against Coventry City at the weekend. With only long-term absentee Adam Drury unavailable for the clash against QPR tomorrow night.
David Marshall remains uncontended in goal while the Canaries are set to name the same back four for the fifth game in succession with John Otsemobor and Jonathan Grounds in their respective full back berths.
Veteran Gary Doherty has had a new lease of life under Bryan Gunn and he will be partnered by Jason Shackell on loan back to the Canaries from Wolverhampton Wanderers until the end of the season. While Chelsea loanee Ryan Bertrand remains on the bench in the wake of some excellent displays by Grounds.
Lee Croft and Wes Hoolahan will continue on the flanks with no other genuine options to replace them unless a young forward such as Luke Daley or Cody McDonald is chosen to play wide. 18 year old Daley will be pushing for a starting place upfront but may come up short due to the sheer numbers available up top.
Jamie Cureton and Carl Cort have been the preferred partnership of late with both Alan Gow and Chris Killen returning from injury to push them for their places.
Player to watch: Jamie Cureton
Vital QPR has singled out forward Jamie Cureton as the One to Watch ahead of the midweek clash against Norwich City
To view all the stats on the one to watch Click Here >>>.
QPR: Last 5 Games: D D L D L
Norwich City: Last 5 Games: D L L D L
QPR are going through a rough patch of late going five games without a win in total and five without a win at Loftus Road. You have to go back to December 20 for the R`s last home win as they visibly struggle in front of the home crowd.
Norwich haven`t won in seven games and lost three of their last four fixtures under Bryan Gunn. They have only two away wins against Plymouth and Nottingham Forest this season both edged by the odd goal in 19 attempts in all competitions.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Norwich City: 41
Last Time Out
Saturday 17th September 2008 – Carrow Road
Coca Cola Championship
Norwich City 0
QPR 1 (Martin Rowlands 33)
Rangers Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Damien Delaney, Matthew Connolly (Sent Off 25), Damion Stewart, Emmanuel Ledesma (Akos Buzsaky 82), Lee Cook (Kaspars Gorkss 30), Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood, Martin Rowlands, Dexter Blackstock (Patrick Agyemang 77)
See also: Norwich City 3-4 QPR – 1993-94.
See also: QPR 4-0 Norwich City – 1969-70.
Referee– Mr G D Scott
Assistants – Mr D S Margetts and Mr I J Woodward
Fourth official – Mr M D Rowley
Mr Graham Scott from Oxfordshire will officiate the R`s midweek clash Norwich City tomorrow night.
To get all the stats on the official Click Here >>>.
The R`s simply put must bounce back against a struggling Norwich City side, and to keep a fussy crowd on side they must do it in style; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-0 Rangers
Who– Sheffield United
Where– Loftus Road
When– Saturday 7th March 2009 – 3:00pm