Date:Friday October 17 2008
Saturday 18th October
COLIN Calderwood finds himself under increasing pressure as rock-bottom Nottingham Forest visit W12.
They sit at the foot of the Championship table, winning only one game so far this season, without picking up a single point on the road, sparking rumours in recent weeks that Sam Allardyce could be in line to take over at the City Ground.
Forest fans have surprisingly enough rallied around the manager, backing the Scotsmen to turn things around. The manager who found himself increasingly unpopular helped the Reds to promotion on the final day of last season, an achievement that has given him a stay of execution with many fans.
Bolstered by the return of summer signing Robert Earnshaw, the tricky trees are looking to show that form counts for nothing in their trip to Loftus Road.
Rangers boss Iain Dowie was left disappointed following the 1-0 defeat against Birmingham City at St. Andrews:
'It's a bitter pill to swallow,' Dowie told QPR.co.uk.
'The last thing we deserved after the first half showing was to get beaten.
'They got behind us once all game and Kevin Phillips does what Kevin Phillips does best. That sums up our luck at the moment.
'Other than that, it looked like a 0-0 all day.
'The timing of the goal couldn't have been any worse. It's a straight ball and we failed to deal with it and O'Connor got in behind.
'The cross took a slight deflection off Fitz (Hall) and Phillips did the rest.'
The goal which was timed one minute into first half injury time was something of a blow to the Rangers boss,
'It was a blow conceding then and thereafter we lacked the incisiveness you need in this division.
'The second half was far more even, but I felt we were by far the better side in the first period and they didn't threaten us at all up until Phillips popped up.
'Our final ball in the attacking third has been killing us lately and it did again today.'
Forest boss Colin Calderwood was left forlorn after his side put in another disappointing display to lost 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace:
'We missed opportunities. We put the ball in the right area time and time again and although there was a big improvement in lots of areas in the final third, there wasn't one in the area that makes the vital difference.'
'If your organisation is poor, you give the opposition a chance to score. A little bit of confusion afforded the boy a chance to shoot for the first goal, which gave them a great start.
'When you are guilty of errors like that, you don't deserve to win.'
Calderwood added: 'I still have no doubts we'll get out of the bottom three. No disrespect whatsoever to Neil but it's easy for opposition managers to praise us after they've taken points offs us.
'We've got to be careful that doesn't become a recurring theme through the season. We've got to take points - they are nice words but it's no help to us.
'But I've still got a strong belief we can turn the corner and get ourselves out of the situation we're in.'
Iain Dowie will once again have a selection headache ahead of the R`s game with Nottingham Forest this weekend.
The midfield department has become increasingly saturated with Damiano Tommasi coming through another 90 minutes in the reserves fuelling speculation he may be involved on Saturday.
He will have to displace midfield duo Gavin Mahon and Mikele Leigertwood, who are vying for places with Daniel Parejo and Akos Buzsaky, as the midfield department continues to burst at the seams.
Lee Cook and Martin Rowlands will also have to battle it out with Emmanuel Ledesma and Hogan Ephraim to keep their places on the flanks.
With Kaspars Gorkss, Damien Delaney, Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky all on international duty mid-week it remains to be seen how many of them will make a contribution this weekend.
Rangers joint longest serving player has been deployed as a right midfielder of late, but may return to a central berth should Dowie deem Emmanuel Ledesma worthy of a place on the right flank.
The Hammersmith born midfielder has struck a solitary goal this season in ten appearances in all competitions, a rasping drive against Norwich City to settle the game at Carrow Road.
Rowlands signed for the R`s under Ian Holloway back in 2003 from local rivals Brentford. He has since made 172 league appearances scoring 32 goals from midfield after joining the R`s with a broken leg.
Five years later and Martin has produced some of the best football of his career to date, reverting to central midfield while filling gaps at right back and right midfield. Given a new lease of life under Luigi De Canio, Rowlands has extended his form into the reign of Iain Dowie - making him formidable opposition and certainly one for Forest to watch if they want success in W12.
Forest have managed to shake off their injury woes for the trip to W12, with several influential players once again in contention for a starting place.
Young prodigy Lewis McGugan, Liverpool loanee Paul Anderson and livewire forward Robert Earnshaw are all anticipated to be included in the squad to travel this weekend.
Joe Garner is also back in the fray following his £1.14m summer move from Carlisle United, as Nottingham Forest will provide a sterner test than their form suggest should their big guns start to fire.
Lest we forget Robert Earnshaw`s stunning hat-rick for Cardiff City as they thumped the R`s 4-0.
Vital QPR`s Nik has identified Robert Earnshaw as Nottingham Forest`s 'one to watch`, ahead of Saturday`s Championship clash at Loftus Road.
To read his report on the Welsh forward Click Here >>>
QPR: Last 5 Games: W L L D L
Nottingham Forest: Last 5 Games: L D L L L
Rangers have stuttered their way back down into mid-table of late with a string of indifferent performances. An admirable away win over Norwich seems a distant memory as the R`s have lost three in the last five.
Forest are no better losing four of the last five, without scoring in the last four games. The recent poor run in form was epitomised by a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Wolves at the end of August, while a draw against Charlton Athletic sandwiches six defeats.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Nottingham Forest: 24
Last time out
Saturday 30th April 2005 - Loftus Road
QPR 2 (Curtis 45og, Bircham 51)
Nottingham Forest 1 (Bopp 77)
Rangers Team: Generoso Rossi, Marcus Bignot, Danny Shittu, Georges Santos, Gino Padula, Martin Rowlands, Kevin Gallen, Marc Bircham (Marcus Bean 89), Lee Cook, Tony Thorpe, Paul Furlong.
See also: One Day In History - Nottingham Forest 1968-69 >>>.
Referee- Mr. F Graham
Assistants - Mr. S J Lond & Mr. M T McCoy
Fourth official - Mr. M McLaughlin
Fred Graham from Essex with referee Rangers fixture at the weekend against Nottingham Forest. To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
Both teams will be looking to bounce-back after some poor recent form. Calderwood is fighting for his life, but then again if you believe the rumours so is Iain Dowie, potential of goals-a plenty but in truth will probably only be settled by the odd goal; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 2-1 Rangers
Who- Swansea City.
Where- Liberty Stadium, Swansea.
When- Tuesday 21st October: 7:45pm.
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Date:Friday October 17 2008
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