R's To Break The Curse?
Saturday 13th December 2008
QUEENS Park Rangers are back on the road once again, looking to rid themselves of their baron streak in front of goal.
It has been more than 777 minutes since the R`s bagged a goal on the road, the last strike coming from Martin Rowlands against Norwich City back in September. Couple that with Dexter Blackstock`s strike against Bristol City and these are the only goals the R`s have scored on their travels this campaign.
They face a Plymouth side which contains familiar faces in Simon Walton and Chris Barker, with the former beginning the impress after a poor start at Home Park.
If that wasn`t enough the Pilgrims are also rumoured to be in for another Rangers misfit, Zesh Rehman. The Pakistan international has been out on loan to Blackpool after failing to impress a succession of bosses in W12.
The Green Army haven`t picked up win in four games, with three back to back defeats proving a real worry for Paul Sturrock`s men, who have only scored one goal during that period. Not in quite as epic proportions as QPR, but nevertheless an unwanted statistic.
Confounding many pundits expectations, Argyle currently sit in 13th place in the Championship, only three points behind Rangers with a better goal difference. Essentially meaning a win for the Pilgrims would take them above the R`s in the Championship.
Rangers winger Lee Cook looked ahead to the clash at Home Park this weekend:
He said: 'We`ve got Plymouth this weekend and we`ll be looking to definitely win that game. The gaffer`s already spoken to us and said we have to win that game, it`s a game we want to win.
'The boss said the other day that it`ll be going in sooner rather than later, we`re not too worried about that stat, the two goals in away games, we don`t really think about that.
'We go into each and every game with the same mentality and I don`t know if there`s a witch doctor stopping us from scoring goals away from home, but at the minute it just isn`t happening.'
The self professed Rangers fan continued: 'I`m sure after seeing the performance and playing the other night, I`m sure sooner rather than later we`ll get some goals.'
'It`s another away game which we`re going to look to win, Plymouth are round-abouts where we are as well so it`s going to be an important game.'
While former Rangers midfielder Simon Walton said:
"They are not doing as well as I thought they would do,' He said.
'Maybe there is a bit of uncertainty in the players whether they are going to be there from one day to the next, so we have got to take advantage of it.
'But, at the same time, it's there for everybody to see the quality of the players they have got and the potential they have.'
Walton continued: 'There have been a lot of changes since I left QPR, but I enjoyed my time there,
'It's a good club with good people.
'Obviously, you always want to do well against your old teams, and I'm yet to lose against one of my old teams, so long may that continue.'
Jim Paterson added:'QPR will be a difficult game. I saw them on the TV last Saturday, when they beat Wolves 1-0, and they played some good stuff.
'But we know every game in the Championship is hard, and we are looking forward to it - especially picking up three points.'
Plymouth Argyle Team News:
Argyle will be without striker Emile Mpenza as they host Rangers tomorrow afternoon.
The Belgian international is suffering from a hamstring problem and will not be available for selection.
Former Colchester United man Karl Duguid is also out with a calf problem, but there is some positive news for Paul Sturrock.
Former R`s target Krisztian Timar will line up in the heart of the defence after recovering from a gash picked up against Birmingham City, while an unnamed player could be in the squad subject to a late fitness test.
This could be trialist Akihiro Ienaga. The Japanese international has been looking to impress during a short spell at Home Park.
Player to watch: Paul Gallagher
Plymouth Argyle loanee Paul Gallagher has been selected as the one to watch at Home Park tomorrow afternoon.
To view all the detail regarding the One to Watch Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Rangers are beginning to recoup some of the players lost through both injury and suspension as they head down to the south west.
Dexter Blackstock and Matthew Connolly may return from their respective back problems. However with Rangers` defence bolstered by the recent return of Fitz Hall and the outstanding performances of Kaspars Gorkss.
The R`s are set not risk Connolly unless Damien Delaney`s recent performances prompt Sousa to place the former Arsenal man at left-back.
Fitz Hall is set to be on the bench once more in the face of a good partnership between Gorkss and Damion Stewart, while Emmanuel Ledesma is set to sit out once again owing to a niggle.
Heidar Helguson is set to partner Patrick Agyemang upfront in a bid to end his and Rangers drought in front of goal.
Player to watch: Heidar Helguson
Surely this time round for the Icelandic international, as missing two sitters in two away fixtures will have no doubt dented the confidence of the R`s latest acquisition.
Heidar had been laid in twice by Patrick Agyemang for open goals against Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday, and twice he has failed to score. At Selhurst Park he placed wide, and at Hillsborough he drew an excellent save from Lee Grant.
However at home it appears Heidar is brimming confidence, playing well against Wolverhampton Wanderers, proving that day his aerial prowess and how much he has to contribute to the Rangers cause.
Helguson started his career with Þróttur in his native Iceland before moving to Lillestrom in Norway. Soon after Watford brought him over to England.
He made 174 league appearances for the Hornets over five years at Vicarage Road, before making the switch to Premier League Fulham for £1.3m.
Two years at Craven Cottage passed with 11 Premier League goals in 57 appearances for the Whites, before Heidar moved north with Bolton Wanderers.
Just over a year with the Trotters has yielded limited opportunity for the experienced international, who has made only seven Premier League appearances.
Match Facts & Stats
Plymouth Argyle: Last 5 Games: W D L L L
QPR: Last 5 Games: L W D L L
The R`s away form has been consistently poor for the last two seasons having only won two away games in the calendar year, and only scoring two away goals this Championship campaign, the figure now stretches to 777 minutes without an away goal
Plymouth have suffered 3 back to back defeats, two have come at Home Park against Birmingham City and Blackpool both by the odd goal. They have also failed to win in 4 games, drawing a blank against Southampton. The Pilgrims have only scored one goal during this period.
Lenny367 has all the stats in The Stat Attack >>>.
HEAD 2 HEAD
Plymouth Argyle: 24
Last time out
Tuesday 4th December 2007 - Loftus Road
Coca Cola Championship
Plymouth Argyle 2 (Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 50pen, 90)
QPR 1 (Rowan Vine 20)
Rangers Team:Lee Camp, Bob Malcolm, Simon Walton, Zesh Rehman, Chris Barker, Martin Rowlands (Marc Nygaard 68), Mikele Leigertwood, Adam Bolder, Akos Buzsaky (Dexter Blackstock 78), Rowan Vine, Gareth Ainsworth.
See also: One Day In History - Plymouth Argyle 1967-68.
Referee- Mr K Friend
Assistants - Mr K Johnson & Mr A Matthews
Fourth official - Mr M Philpott
Mr Kevin Friend from Leicestershire will oversee Rangers as they take on Plymouth Argyle. To get all the stats concerning the official Click Here >>>.
It`s been a tough time on the road, but now is the time where the R`s turn it around. All the pain and frustration of previous weeks and months will culminate in a goal and a win, Cookie thinks so, and so do I; Which is why I predict:
Boxer`s Prediction: 1-0 Rangers
Sandy`s Prediction: 2-1 Rangers
Who- Preston North End
Where- Loftus Road, London.
When- Saturday December 20 - 3:00pm