Stoke Q & A
Vital QPR spoke to Stoke fan Ian Baldwin ahead of tonight's Championship clash at Loftus Road.
1) Stoke have had a turbulant season, what with the management wranglings and problems with your star striker? What have the fans made of your season?
Definitely underperformed. Fans cannot believe how the management and board manage to shoot themselves in the feet every time we start to achieve on the pitch.
2) Have you come close to the fans expectations in your placing in the table? What was expected?
On July 1st, we had just sacked a manager that seemed to be getting somewhere but was denied any cash, appointed someone no one had heard of and a first team that consisted of 10 players. Most thought we were going down. By Christmas, we were in 6th place and the fans were dreaming of the Premiership. We are now down in 15th place and although fairly 'safe'. The fans always expect the club to reach at least the play-offs and are understandably upset at another missed chance. But at the start of the season most would have taken 'mid table security' like a shot.
3) Obviously last time we met there was a flare-up with your supporters and Simon Royce, your side are always on the physical side- are they a dirty side?
Off the record: I'm in two minds whether to answer that question, given your implications and your teams' conduct after the game! I don't recall any of our team being fined by the FA even though they also went to help your keeper. But I will say that the guy who attacked your keeper was totally out of order and got what he deserved - 4 months in jail and a 3 year ban from any football game (and no doubt a life ban from the Britannia Stadium). To then link that to the suggestion that our team are overly physical is taking it a bit far!
On the record: The Championship is more physical than the Premiership generally, but I don't believe we are any more or less physical than any other team. In fact I see that QPR have exactly the same card count as Stoke - 73 yellow and 7 red.
4) What style of football do Stoke play and how will they line-up at Loftus Road?
Boskamp has been playing a very attacking form of football this season with defenders getting along way up the field. This has caused us to come unstuck in defence on several occasions, but in recent weeks we have reverted to being more defensive which has at least reduced the goals we have been letting in. Team should be: Bangoura, Sidibe; Gallagher, Brammer, Russell and Chadwick; Hill, Hoefkens, Duberry, Buxton or Broomes; Simonsen
5) Who have been your best players this season and your unsung heroes?
I'm reserving opinions on Sam Bangoura as he has not played well since he finally returned from the African Cup. Luke Chadwick has been an inspiration on the wing - worth far more than the £100k we paid West Ham for him. Clint Hill, recently returned from a long injury layoff, has bolstered up the defence dramatically.
6) Which Rangers player will you be watching out for?
Marc Bircham has always been a target for Stoke fans after the game at the Brit last season.
7) Your opinion on QPR's season?
You seem to have had a similiar season to us - could be a close game.
8) Who have been the most impressive sides you have come accross this season?
Wolves, Crystal Palace
9) Your prediction?
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