Previewing: Sheff Wed
Saturday 8th March
WITH a disappointing draw still resonating amongst the Rangers faithful, the players and fans will have to pick themselves up for a crucial away game up in S6 to face Sheffield Wednesday.
Luigi De Canio spoke following the Coventry game:
'I'm happy with point, because Coventry made it very difficult for us."
'They were very strong in the middle areas and made it hard for us to play how we wanted."
'They were strong and aggressive, but we matched them and the players worked tirelessly."
Gigi had praise for the Rangers rearguard, in particular Lee Camp:
'I was pleased with the effort and performance of the back four and Lee Camp."
'They are playing very well at the moment as a unit, which is why I continue to pick those individuals."
'Camp had a very good game. He has often been a spectator in recent matches, so it was about time he earned his wage!'
De Canio also praised the Rangers travelling fans:
'They were fantastic, as they have been since I arrived here."
'They make me proud to be the Manager of this Football Club.'
Sheffield Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will be looking to pick up some much-needed points following last minute heartbreak at the hands of West Brom on Tuesday night. They currently sit in 22nd place, 4 points of next placed Coventry with a game in hand.
Adam Bolder is unavailable for the Owls this weekend, due to the terms of his loan agreement with the R`s. Despite this agreement, the midfielder also picked up his 10th booking of the season, and is suspended for two games.
Franck Songo`o recently joined the Owls on a one month loan deal from Portsmouth and could go straight into the squad for Saturday following the suspension of Jermaine Johnson following his red, given once more in controversial circumstances by Mr. D`Urso against West Brom.
Songo`o has face the R`s on loan before with both Preston and Crystal Palace, where in the latter he was hauled off at half time by manager Neil Warnock, who was said to be furious with the players contribution.
Former R`s loanee Ben Sahar will be pushing for a starting place at Hillsborough after some lively substitute displays.
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
The Sussex born Striker, formerly of Derby County has proven himself a worthy asset for the Owls scoring 22 goals from 89 appearances. In his 2 years in S6 he has put in some scintillating displays, culminating with an excellent performance in a 4-2 away win against promotion chasing Stoke City back in October.
The Striker made his debut for Derby County in a 1-0 away defeat to Gillingham in August 2002, and in the 8 subsequent games he appeared in that season he failed to net for the Rams.
Tudgay scored his first senior goal for the Rams against Wimbledon at Pride Park in November 2003. Mikele Leigertwood and Patrick Agyemang playing for the opposition.
In his first meeting against the R`s Marcus bagged one of Derby`s two goals in a 2-0 win at Loftus Road, this brought to an end a home unbeaten run lasting fully 17 months, previously defeated by a solitary Nathan Ellington strike in a 1-0 win for Wigan.
Tudgay also played against the R`s in a 0-0 draw at Pride Park in the same season, Inigo Idiakez was a real threat for Derby hitting the bar, Marco Reich replaced Tudgay in the 67th minute.
In October 2005, Tudgay came on as an 81st minute substitute, as Rangers picked up an invaluable win at Pride Park. A goal from Gareth Ainsworth came before Paul Furlong got his marching orders; Kevin Gallen doubled the R`s advantage against the run of play before R`s striker Dexter Blackstock halved the arrears for County.
Tudgay scored his last goal for Derby, against his soon to be new club. Sheffield Wednesday snapped up the striker on a free transfer and had an immediate impact, scoring on his debut in a 3-0 Home win over Crewe. He played one more time against Rangers in the 2005/06 season, a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough being replaced in the 77th minute by Steve McLean.
He faced Rangers twice more in the 2006/07 season scoring an excellent brace in a 3-2 victory over the R`s at Hillsborough; later that season he played in a 1-1 d
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
There are one again no fresh injury concerns for the R`s going into Saturday`s fixture against the Owls.
Gavin Mahon will still be unlikely to be available, owing to what the official website calls a "medical condition". Mikele Leigertwood will be set to continue in the middle, hoping to emulate his stunning performance at home to Stoke City, and not the midweek display against Coventry.
His partner in the middle, Martin Rowlands, should also be available for selection following no ill effects from limping off against the aforementioned Coventry.
Angelo Balanta may be set for a recall to the squad following a mediocre attacking display at the Ricoh Arena. Dexter Blackstock will also be pushing for a starting place upfront as Rangers will surely switch back to two upfront following their tactical shift against the Sky Blues.
Player to watch: Hogan Ephraim
The winger is proving himself to be an excellent asset to the Rangers squad, playing on both flanks and causing opposing full backs untold misery game after game.
He was Rangers best outlet on Wednesday night, and wasn`t used to his full potential by any stretch of the imagination, not seeing anything of the ball out on the left flank. When he received the ball he kept the ball on the grass and ran at defenders, exactly what the R`s were looking for to break an evenly poised game.
His cross in the dying second for Blackstock was pin-point, and a bit more composure infront of goal might have seen the R`s steal all 3 points at the Ricoh.
The Ex-West Ham winger has made 9 appearances for the R`s this season contributing 4 assists.
Match Facts & Stats
In their last 5 home games Wednesday have been in indifferent form with 2 wins, 2 defeats and 1 draw. One of the wins was an all important steel-city derby win over rivals United.
Wednesday have lost 2 out of the last 5 games, winning 1, and drawing 2. Last minute heartbreak at Home to West Brom has put a dent in their previous 3 clean sheets against Charlton, Cardiff and Barnsley.
It`s only 1 defeat in 7 now for the R`s, the surprise home defeat against Burnley, after being 2-0 up and losing 4-2. In their last 5 away games the R`s have lost 2, drawn 2, only winning 1, the 3-2 win over Southampton. The R`s stopped their opposition scoring once more on the road, most recently Wednesday night against Coventry.
Rangers are now 4 games undefeated in the league, and have kept 3 clean sheets in a row, they will be looking to make it 4 undefeated and yet another clean sheet up in S6 against a Wednesday side who have only scored 1 goal in their last 4 encounters.
Historically Wednesday have by far the better of the head to head record with 22 wins to Rangers 16, with the teams drawing 13 times. Rangers fans will have fond memories of Hillsborough as it was the sight where they secured promotion into the then Division 1. Over 7,000 Rangers fans came out for a glorious day in Sheffield.
Wednesday fans will look back with smiles over numerous thrashings they`ve handed out to the R`s over the years at Hillsborough. 5-2 in December 2000; 4-0 in December 1992; 4-1 in August 1991 and most alarmingly a massive 7-1 victory over the R`s in May 1987. Rangers had had their fun in the 1973/74 season beating the Owls 8-2 in a ten goal thriller in the League Cup at Loftus Road.
Last time out
21st October 2006- Hillsborough
Sheffield Wednesday 3 (Tudgay 13, 45, McLean 70pen)
QPR 2 (Blackstock 50, 54)
Referee- N. Swarbrick
Assistants - T Harrington & K.W Haycock
Fourth official - C.L Reeves
Mr. Swarbrick may evoke happy memories for many R`s fans as the firs time he refereed the Super Hoops was St. Patrick`s Day last season as Rangers ran riot to take all three points at Leicester City. He handed the R`s a penalty on the day in a game that will be remembered for THAT Marc Nygaard effort.
Earlier this season he took charge of Rangers home game against Ipswich Town. The game was drawn 1-1, with that man again Marc Nygaard getting on the scoresheet. This Ref must think the bloke was a goal machine!
So far this season Mr. Swarbrick has officiated 31 games, handing out 63 Yellow Cards and 7 Reds. Most recently he sent off Darlington defender Alan White, in a disastrous 2-1 home defeat to relegation threatened Mansfield.
Rangers were given a lesson on Tuesday night that no matter how good you play one game it can go against you the next. This game will be tight I feel with both defences performing admirably lately; so that`s why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 QPR
For all the latest match odds click on www.williamhill.com
Where- Loftus Road
When- Tuesday 11th March 2008: 8:00pm