Battle of the Hoops
Tuesday October 20, 2009
QUEENS Park Rangers are riding the crest of a wave as they host an underperforming Reading side this evening.
The Royals are undergoing a period of transformation under Brendan Rodgers, ushering in prudent era at the Madejksi Stadium.
Rumours concerning the ownership of the club persist with John Madejski limiting his injection of cash following relegation back to the Championship.
The Berkshire club overspent last season, and the sale of key players such as Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt have helped foot the bill for an expensive disappointment last season.
Rodgers has charged his youngsters with the task of stepping forward and seeing the Royals to a comfortable Championship finish, but thus far it's been far from plain sailing for his side.
Defeat at Loftus Road could see Reading drop into the bottom three, not an ideal scenario when coming to face one of the division's form sides.
Rangers have thumping back to back home wins, scoring nine goals and once again rekindling a previously stagnate atmosphere at Loftus Road.
For the first time in many years between the two sides QPR go into the game as favourites, and they will be looking to draw on their key players to complete their first W12 win over Reading in 42 years.
QPR 4 (Taarabt 11, Buzsáky 63pen, Simpson 74, Routledge 85)
Preston North End 0
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Kaspars Gorks, Damion Stewart, Gary Borrowdale, Gavin Mahon, Alejandro Faurlín, Ákos Buzsáky (Patrick Agyemang 66), Adel Taarabt, Wayne Routledge (Gareth Ainsworth 87), Jay Simpson (Rowan Vine 66).
West Bromwich Albion 3 (Thomas 29, 65, Mulumbu 87)
Reading 1 (Mills 6)
Team: Adam Federici, Matthew Mills (Grzegorz Rasiak 82), Ívar Ingimarsson, Ryan Bertrand (Darren O'Dea 42), Shaun Cummings, Jobi McAnuff, Brian Howard, Jimmy Kébé, Kalifa Cissé, Jem Karacan, Noel Hunt (Shane Long 53).
QPR Team News:
Jim Magilton may have several injury complaints but nevertheless his selection quandary continues as Ben Watson returns from suspension.
Radek Černý retains his place in goal behind an unchanged back four of Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorks and Gary Borrowdale - while Fitz Hall remains on the bench despite his recovery from a groin complaint.
Gavin Mahon and Alejandro Faurlín performed outstandingly against Preston North End and with Ben Watson returning from suspension Magilton must decide whether or not to reintroduce him to the winning line-up.
The trio behind Jay Simpson should remain unchanged with Wayne Routledge flanked by Ákos Buzsáky and Adel Taarabt - all three netting goals at the weekend.
Angelo Balanta (groin), Hogan Ephraim (ankle) Martin Rowlands (knee), Matthew Connolly (glandular fever), Mikele Leigertwood (virus) and Alessandro Pellicori (knee) are all sidelined for Rangers.
Possible line up:
Ramage - Stewart - Gorks - Borrowdale
Watson - Faurlín
Buzsáky - Routledge - Taarabt
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Tottenham Hotspur loanee Adel Taarabt could be the One to Watch tonight if he turns in a similar calibre of performance to that at the weekend.
The creative Moroccan opened the scoring against Preston with a stunning individual strike, and seemed to temper his selfish streak to help set up chances for Wayne Routledge among others.
With Shaun Cummings struggling to find form, putting a shaky performance against West Bromwich Albion, Taarabt could be an influential figure once more this evening.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
Reading Team News:
Who R Ya? >>>
Reading have a couple of injury concerns ahead of this evenings clash in W12 with a couple of omissions from this weekend's defeat at West Brom.
Adam Federici will continue in goal behind a back four of Shaun Cummings, Ívar Ingimarsson, Matthew Mills - should he pass a late fitness test, and Celtic loanee Darren O'Dea. The latter comes in to replace Chelsea loan defender Ryan Bertrand who sits out with concussion.
Depending on what formation Rodgers chooses to deploy he could once again punt for a five man midfield comprising of Kalifa Cissé, Jem Karacan and Brian Howard through the middle and Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kébé attacking the flanks.
One of the central pairing my drop out to accommodate Shane Long and Grzegorz Rasiak as Noel Hunt is forced to drop out through injury. However it is more likely one of the duo will play with the other forced to sit on the bench alongside possible returning forward Simon Church.
Long-term absentees include Julian Kelly (shoulder), Chris Armstrong (knee), Oliver Bozanic and Radoslav Vasilev are all unavailable.
Cummings - Ingimarsson - Mills - O'Dea
Howard - Cissé - Karacan
McAnuff - Rasiak - Kébé
Player to watch: Shane Long
Reading forward Shane Long has been outlined as the One to Watch by Vital QPR ahead of tonight's clash.
The striker has always proven tricky and effective in previous seasons as he continues to grow into his role at the Madejski following his move from Cork City.
He has overseen the rise and fall of the Coppell empire and is now looking to fire the goals that keeps Reading comfortably in the Championship after a shaky start.
To read our profile of the striker Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: W W D L W
Reading: L D W L L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 24
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship - 31-01-2009
Queens Park Rangers: 0
Team: Lee Camp, Matthew Connolly, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorks, Damien Delaney, Wayne Routledge, Gavin Mahon (Hogan Ephraim 77), Mikele Leigertwood, Liam Miller, Lee Cook (Samuel Di Carmine 89), Heidar Helguson (Dexter Blackstock 85).
Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Reading - 07-03-1960
Referee: Mr Andy Hall (West Midlands)
Assistants: Mr Richard Kendall (Beds) & Mr Matthew McLaughlin (Beds)
Fourth Official: Mr Wes Linden (Middlesex)
Referee Andy Hall returns to Loftus Road, a place where has overseen a string of controversies in recent years
The peak of his controversies was in 2003 when he sent off Clarke Carlisle and Stephen Kelly in a 0-0 draw with Crewe Alexandra.
Further controversies including Rangers' trip to Preston North End in 2004, along with a list of all QPR and Reading games he has refereed are included in our report.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
Rangers will be looking to continue their recent red-hot form at Loftus Road with back to back victories and nine goals greeting games against Barnsley and Preston North End.
They face a Reading side that have suffered great disappointment sitting two points above the drop zone conceding ten goals in their last five games.
Rangers form and outstanding football could see them through against a disappointing Reading side, who are looking to haul themselves away from the drop zone.
LCF'S CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION LEAGUE >>>
BEAT THE CLOCK >>>
Teams: Derby County v Queens Park Rangers
Date: Saturday October 24, 2009 - 5:30pm
Ground: Pride Park, Derby