HEIDAR Helguson is set to start upon his return to Vicarage Road, with a view to helping Rangers back into the play-off reckoning at the expense of former employers Watford.
This comes as new Queens Park Rangers manager Paulo Sousa takes his Rangers side on the road looking to getting his reign off to a winning start.
In Watford they face a side who also have also opted to change their managerial set-up, relieving Aidy Boothroyd of his duties after over three and a half years in charge at Vicarage Road.
Keith Burkinshaw is working alongside caretaker boss Malky Mackay as the Hornets look to steer themselves away from the wrong end of the Championship table.
Watford lost some valuable players in the summer including former Rangers defender Danny Shittu, strikers Darius Henderson and Nathan Ellington, not to mention Gavin Mahon made his move permanent last January.
In an uncertain football climate, there is one certainty, Rangers will be hoping to a similar start to the game to the last time these two sides met, when a highly-motivated Luigi De Canio side, blew the Hornets away in the first period.
Rangers boss Paulo Sousa spoke following his appointment in W12:
‘It is an honour to be part of this project. I am very excited about the opportunity to work for Queens Park Rangers.’
‘I have great belief in my ideas and my coaching ability. I believe in playing positive, attacking football.’
He has brought with him 30 year old coach Bruno Oliveira:
‘Bruno has great knowledge of the game
“We have both been working towards this moment for a number of years.”
Certainly Rangers supporters will be hoping to see immediate evidence of this come Saturday, continuing the excellent work of caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth.
Watford`s care-taker boss Malky Mackay has urged his side to have more self-belief following their 2-1 defeat away at Barnsley:
‘I can’t criticise any of the players’ commitment or effort – that was great.
‘They’ve just got to have a little bit more belief in themselves, that’s what I’ve been saying to them in the dressing room.
‘They need to have more belief in themselves to push on to the opposition, for five minutes they dropped back to their own 18 yard line and that invites pressure. However we’ve come away with no points.’
Watford Team News:
Caretaker boss Malky Mackay is set to ring the changes following defeat against Barnsley on Saturday.
Youth product Ross Jenkins has proven himself worthy of a starting place, and will be looking to continue his first team duties this weekend.
There is a great deal of competition coming from the bench as Tamas Priskin could be replaced by Grzegorz Rasiak, who has a fine goalscoring record against QPR.
Goal scoring midfielder John-Joe O`Toole could also come into the reckoning once again, as midfielder John Eustace is sidelined with suspension.
Player to watch: TBA
QPR Team News:
Former Hornet Heidar Helguson looks set to start upfront, but whether he has a strike partner will depend on whether Rangers` new ‘attacking` manager lives up to his billing. Dexter Blackstock and Samuel Di Carmine will wait in the wings to partner the experienced Icelandic international.
Mikele Leigertwood returns to the Rangers side following a four-match suspension at the hands of Mr Attwell, an official that this weekend`s opponents know all too well.
Leigertwood was given his marching orders for a high foot on Birmingham City`s Lee Carsley, which was arguably a yellow card, however the baby-faced assassin proudly brandished his party piece. Upon appeal the FA declined to view the replay and instead deemed the appeal frivolous, prompting a further match ban.
Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart are set to continue their partnership, while Matthew Connolly and Peter Ramage are set to continue at full back. The centre of midfield will be competitive as ever with Gavin Mahon itching to start against his former side. Damiano Tommasi, Martin Rowlands and Daniel Parejo will all be looking to join Mahon in the starting eleven.
In wide areas Hogan Ephraim is set to be dropped after a disappointing display with Martin Rowlands or Emmanuel Ledesma the preferred option on the right.
With a new manager comes new ideas and while previous performances may come into reckoning, Sousa will want to assess the playing squad for the season ahead.
Player to watch: Damion Stewart
Rangers stalwart central defender has proven himself to be one of the best in the Championship so far this season, as his performances have exceeded all expectations thus far.
Alongside Fitz Hall, Damion has grown in stature, proving composed on the ball, but overall dominant in the air, a tactic that may prove vital against a direct Watford outfit.
With Fitz Hall and Kaspars Gorkss seemingly first choice at the start of the campaign, it seemed that the Jamaican international was set to sit out on the periphery.
However a string of impressive displays have forced Damion into the reckoning, and the former Bradford City man has made himself undroppable at the heart of the defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Watford: Last 5 Games: L L L L L
QPR: Last 5 Games: D W L W L
Following a home defeat against Burnley the R`s, Rangers could point to their lack of goal scoring prowess once again, as five goals in eight games simply isn`t enough to achieve lofty credentials. Indeed the R`s have drawn a blank in half of those games.
Watford`s torrid form was given some respite with the Carling Cup progression against Swansea City, but it is unable to mask five successive League defeats that has seen them drop into the bottom three. Goal scoring has not been the issue for the Hornet`s as despite bagging three goals against Blackpool they still somehow ended up on the losing side.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Last time out
Tuesday 29th December 2007 – Vicarage Road
Coca Cola Championship
Watford 2 (Damien Francis 52, Danny Shittu 84)
QPR 4 (Martin Rowlands 13pen, 40, Damion Stewart 29, Akos Buzsaky 80)
Rangers Team: Lee Camp, Chris Barker, Zesh Rehman, Damion Stewart, Bob Malcolm, Adam Bolder, Martin Rowlands, Gareth Ainsworth (Rowan Vine 64), Angelo Balanta (Akos Buzsaky 73), Marc Nygaard (Simon Walton 89), Dexter Blackstock.
See also: One Day In History – Watford 1969-70.
Referee– Mr A Penn
Assistants – Mr M George & Mr GS Stretton
Fourth official – Mr S J Phipps
Andy Penn from West Midlands will officiate the R`s clash with Watford this Saturday
To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
Motivation won`t be a problem this weekend with Gareth Ainsworth still in the dressing room, this time under the guidance of a Portuguese legend, who has previously worked under another in Luiz Felipe Scolari. Rangers will be attacking in search of goals against a desperate Watford side; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-1 Rangers
Who– Charlton Athletic
Where– Loftus Road, London
When– Tuesday November 25 – 8:00pm