Date:Thursday November 22 2012
Queens Park Rangers are stumbling towards the weekend like the final dredges of a night out in Hammersmith, but we wonder what if anything will change ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.
Mark Hughes and Phil Beard have had discussions - with more emphasis on current results that normal, of that we are clear, but rumours persist over his future against the backdrop of a very daunting trip.
Manchester United generally do not drop points at home, and despite losing away at Norwich and a young side performing admirably in Turkey, they will be hurting at the sight of back to back defeats.
They will therefore be quaking at the prospect of Hughes returning to Old Trafford - Rangers without an away win during Hughes' tenure and as has been well documented have yet to win this season.
The conversations with Beard, as alluded to above have ranged from - 'Don't worry Mark - keep going but I expect a result soon' to 'You're gone - you'll remain in charge until our successor is lined-up' - The 'in the know' crowd postulating from the grey area as normal.
One thing is for certain, rock up at the home of the runner's up with the same tactics, players and attitudes then it will be more than a Southampton humble pie on the menu - it would come cost to Ipswich Town's 9-0 capitulation of the 1990s.
So what can we hope for - 'a miracle' I hear you cry, not even the divine intervention that temporarily blinded Lee Mason in the same fixture last season would yield a positive result on the basis of their home humbling by the Saints.
I would expect changes - there are players in the side, albeit talented that just don't seem to fit, and placing square pegs into round holes has not worked for us in the past and continues to belie our progress.
Esteban Granero is a top quality player, his range of passing, his skill, his composure on the ball - all admirable attributes in a top flight professional. The problem being is that he has not been able to reproduce the form consistently in the centre of midfield.
I would suspect that both he and Samba DiakitÚ have a lot to learn about the Premier League, and a player in Shaun Derry - despite his inferior skill would be an ideal candidate to step into the centre of the park and put tackles in and genuinely stop the steam-roller that keeps knocking the back four to cinders.
My second change would be Junior Hoilett - unquestionably a talented player but that will to take the game by the scruff of the neck rather sees him head down and running into blind alleyways. He does track back, but not 100% of the time.
Only one man should be starting - indeed every game, that is Jamie Mackie. Mackie causes problems to any defence at this level through his sheer tenacity and bravery - a modern day Ainsworth. Runs through brick walls and caused Arsenal's defence to have kittens in the final seconds of the Emirates encounter.
As alluded to in a previous piece, I care not for winning at these grounds - it's a virtual impossibility given our form. I do however accept no excuses for lack of fight, committment and passion - three attributes desperately lacking across the board against Saints.
I think the majority of the Premier League would like to see a QPR 2-0 win. A Shaun Derry wondergoal and the ball bouncing in over Ashley Young's prostrate corpse for a bizarre yet wonderful own goal - in fairness it is a good a chance as we'll have of getting anything out of a game I expect us to lose.
A bit of extra steel to the set-up will do us little harm, as I wouldn't want us to be expansive and blow out five minutes into the game. A bit of pride is all we need at the moment and hopefully kick us on to a positive result at Sunderland. Hopefully Mr CissÚ keeps his temper in check this time.
Date:Thursday November 22 2012
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