Date:Friday March 14 2008
Saturday 15th March 2008
WITH the R`s limping over the line against Blackpool on Tuesday night, they now move on from the poor second half performance to face relegation-threatened Scunthorpe.
The Iron picked up an excellent 3 points in the same evening in a bid to drag themselves away from the Championship trap door. And they travel to W12 looking for another 3 points in their quest for survival.
Luigi De Canio was philosophical following the narrow win over Blackpool:
'It`s a significant achievement especially when you consider where we were when I arrived"
"I`m very happy with the general work that is being done and I`m convinced that when we find that continuity that is required in this Championship, we will continue to grow and grow"
"Of course it will take time, but we will continue to take each game as it comes and see where it takes us at the end of the season"
De Canio added:
"We scored three good goals and we`ve won the game, so of course I`m happy."
"I hoped we would see the game out without conceding one, let alone two, but it`s three points and that was what we set out to achieve at the start of the night"
Gigi is beginning to master this English humour aswell:
"I think the crowd needed to enjoy themselves tonight, and we certainly gave them some thrills!"
Gavin Mahon will be looking for a starting place in the Rangers side this weekend following two substitute appearances for the R`s. Mahon is returning from a medial knee ligament injury and in being reintroduced slowly to the Rangers squad.
Fitz Hall struggled in patches against Blackpool with what appeared to be his groin injury, but following the win he may decide to rest the defender, with Damion Stewart set to deputise.
Gigi De Canio may look to reshape the strike force with Rowan Vine desperate for a place up-front and Dexter Blackstock failing to score once again.
Hogan Ephraim is two games into his three game suspension following his alleged elbow up in Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite the somewhat inconsistent form of Rangers, one player has stood out with some reliable and consistent performances.
Martin Rowlands scored once again from midfield on Tuesday night, impressing with an excellent array of passes, distributing long out to the flank and passing short with comfort and precision.
The midfielder has contributed 5 goals and 3 assists in 36 appearances this season for the R`s.
Matthew Sparrow returns from a three match suspension to face the R`s this weekend. The Iron youth product was sent off in the home fixture against Southampton in which Scunthorpe were punished with a penalty from an off the ball incident.
Sick-note duo Ian Morris and veteran Jim Goodwin may be unavailable for the clash in W12, so Curtis Weston and the man who caused a lot of problems against the R`s in the return fixture, Kevan Hurst, will be looking for a start.
Iron defender Andy Crosby was forced to leave the field in the defeat of Plymouth at Glanford Park with a knee injury. On loan Liverpool defender Jack Hobbs could be set for a starting place.
Yet another player could be struggling for contention, marksman Martin Paterson, who will face a fitness test to start at Loftus Road. He will be the man to watch if he makes the game at Loftus Road.
Paterson has been in scintillating form for the Iron this season contributing 13 league goals in 35 league appearances. He has had a difficult task in filling the boots of outgoing striker Bill Sharp, but has adapted very well following his move from Stoke City.
Paterson made his Stoke debut in a 2-0 home win over Plymouth in April 2004. He made only 6 appearances in the space of two seasons, but had a good run in the side at the beginning of the 2006/07 season, scoring his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw away to Sheffield Wednesday.
He was sent out on loan to League Two outfit, Grimsby Town, contributing 6 goals in 15 appearances, with 4 goals in his first 3 games. He made 3 further appearances for Stoke towards the end of last season, without scoring.
He made the switch to Scunthorpe on a free-transfer in the summer, and hasn`t looked back since. 13 vital goals for the Iron really have given them a fighting chance of survival. One of these goals was at Glanford Park in the return fixture against the R`s. The striker was in excellent touch to touch a Kevan Hurst corner home at the near post with the ponderous R`s defender looking on.
Accompanied with this, Paterson has called up to the Northern Ireland squad. He has got two caps in games against Spain in the European Championship Qualifiers, and a friendly at Home to Bulgaria; both ending in 1-0 defeats.
If Paterson makes the starting line-up he is the one to watch, and would certainly be a big miss for the Iron if he wasn`t able to make the clash in W12.
Following another home success it is only 1 Home defeat in 9 for the R`s. In Gigi De Cano`s reign Rangers have only failed to score twice at home in the Championship. This year the R`s have scored 17 goals at home in 7 games, conceding only 8.
In their last five games the R`s have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 1. Encompassing the 2 goalless away draws against Barnsley and Coventry, aswell as home wins against Stoke and Blackpool in very different circumstances.
The Iron`s away form has been disastrous of late, failing to win away from Glanford Park this year. They have won only 3 away games this season, which does not hold good omens at Loftus Road. They have only scored two away goals this year, both coming in the 3-2 defeat at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke.
In their last 5 games, Scunthorpe have picked up 7 points, looking for a resurgence of form in the push to stay up. Including over home wins over Coventry and Plymouth; a home point against Southampton, and defeats away to Stoke and Hull.
Historically, there haven`t been many meetings between the two sides, but the R`s have the better of the past, winning 5 games to Scunthorpe`s 1, with the sides only draw coming earlier in the season. The sides haven`t met at Loftus Road since 1967 in the old Division 3.
Last time out
Saturday 8th April 1967- Loftus Road
Last time out
8th December 2007- Glanford Park
Scunthorpe 2 (Paterson 24, Forte 55)
QPR 2 (Buzsaky 12, 42)
Rangers Team: Camp, Malcolm, Stewart, Rehman (Timoska 73), Barker, Buzsaky (Ainsworth 89), Rowlands, Bolder, Leigertwood, Sinclair (Nygaard 76) Vine.
Referee- M. Thorpe
Assistants - A. Davies & T. Mason
Fourth official - H.W. Lennard
In his first season as a referee, Mr. Thorpe officiated the R`s twice, in a 1-0 home defeat to bogey side Northampton Town and the 1-0 win over Stockport giving a last minute penalty to the R`s in 2002/03. Mr Thorpe refereed the R`s once in the following season, seeing the R`s to a 3-0 victory over Grimsby, a brace from Paul Furlong saw the R`s home.
Mr Thorpe was lucky for the R`s once more in their first season in the Championship as he gave Marcus Bean`s contentious goal away at Gillingham, where he appeared to handle the ball over the line, live on T.V; a vital 1-0 win for the R`s. Mr. Thorpe played a big part in the R`s refereeing 3 games in the 2005/06 season, with 1-0 Home wins over Luton and Cardiff, in the former sending off Tommy Doherty. A home defeat followed against Leicester, in ironically one of Ian Holloway`s last game in charge for the R`s.
In the 2006/07 season, he presided over two more games for the R`s, two home games with a 2-1 home defeat against Derby, and a 1-0 win at Home to Cardiff. Earlier this season he refereed Rangers` defeat at Home to Southampton, with Rangers minds on different matters remembering the life of Ray Jones.
So far this season Mr. Thorpe has officiated 30 games, handing out 87 Yellow Cards and 7 Reds. Most recently he sent off 2 players from his favourite club, Gillingham, defenders Garry Richards and Sean Clohessy given their marching orders.
This is a golden opportunity for Rangers to really kick on for a top half finish, and we will get a real indication of the players character against a team who have failed to win away this year; so that`s why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 3-1 QPR
For all the latest match odds click on www.williamhill.com
Who- Wolverhampton Wanderers
When- Saturday 22nd March 2008. 3:00pm.
Date:Friday March 14 2008
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