Date:Friday January 15 2010
MANAGERLESS Rangers desperately search for a confidence-boosting win as they travel to Ian Holloway's Blackpool this weekend.
There are few certainties in football - particularly QPR - but with Paul Hart the recent off the growing conveyor belt to leave Loftus Road, whoever is in charge will be undoubtedly searching for a crucial three points in a bid to bolster confidence in a visibly flat R's line-up.
The cup defeat midweek against Sheffield United ensured next year will mark a decade without an FA Cup win, and going three goals down was an indictment of the lacklustre defending on display.
Rangers rallied late on to give the supporters something to cheer, and indeed those supporters that braved the conditions will be hoping for that calibre of attacking prowess this weekend.
As has become customary for an Ian Holloway side, Blackpool have had a sudden resurgence of form at the start of this season, bolstered by their record capture of Charlie Adam, weighing in with nine goals.
This ushers in a new era of prosperity at Bloomfield Road with the newly-built South Stand poised for opening, and Latvian Valērijs Belokoņs giving them a timely cash injection as they look to achieve an remarkable playoff place.
Contrasting fortunes and feelings at both clubs, but R's fans will be hoping to ditch their dismal recent run and make every mile home The Golden Mile.
QPR 2 (Buzsáky 71pen, Stewart 88)
Sheffield United 3 (Williamson 19, Ward 68, Cresswell 70)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Routledge, Ákos Buzsáky, Patrick Agyemang, Kaspars Gorks, Alejandro Faurlín (Adel Taarabt 69), Jay Simpson (Antonio German 80), Gary Borrowdale.
Cardiff City 1 (Hudson 9)
Blackpool 1 (Adam 46)
Team: Paul Rachubka, Alex Baptiste, Andy Butler, Neil Eardley, Keith Southern, Charlie Adam, Joe Martin, David Vaughan, Gary Taylor-Fletcher (Daniel Nardiello 77), Brett Ormerod (Barry Bannan 77), Ben Burgess.
Ian Holloway has no fresh injury concerns ahead of this weekend's clash and he is in fact boosted by the return of defender Stephen Crainey.
Paul Rachubka will start in goal with former QPR target Andy Butler set to be given the go ahead alongside Alex Baptiste at centre-back.
Crainey will challenge for Joe Martin at left full-back with former Oldham Athletic man Neil Eardley starting on the right hand side.
The midfield trio should comprise of Keith Southern, David Vaughan and the more advanced Charlie Adam, with Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod playing off target-man Ben Burgess.
Former QPR man Daniel Nardiello could be an option from the bench, but with Rob Edwards and Ian Evatt out owing to suspension the main problem appears to be in defence.
Billy Clarke (knee) is still missing while Hameur Bouazza is away on international duty with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations.
Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam has been outlined as the One to Watch ahead of this weekend's clash at Bloomfield Road.
The former Glasgow Rangers man has been in impressive form in his brief time with the Tangerines, initially on loan then following a club record Ł500,000 transfer in the summer.
He has already scored nine goals this season as he supports the Pool strike force in attack. He will be a key player this weekend that the R's defence must stop.
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
Changes could and indeed should be afoot as Rangers travel to Bloomfield Road this weekend, after a disappointing result against Sheffield United.
Radek Černý may well be dropped for Wolves loanee Carl Ikeme after another in a string of disappointing displays. Quite what this will achieve is open for debate with Ikeme due to return to Wolves after his month is up.
Kaspars Gorks and Damion Stewart look set to retain their spots at centre back despite a disappointing showing against the Blades, but changes could come at full-back with Matt Connolly poised to plug any potential gaps.
Wayne Routledge should start wide-right and rekindle what was a fine display against Blackpool last season, while Angelo Balanta and Adel Taarabt vie with Ákos Buzsáky for a spot on the left flank.
Patrick Agyemang and Jay Simpson could be the preferred front-two but the impact of Antonio German from the bench will not have gone unnoticed by Paul Hart during the week.
Martin Rowlands (knee), Gavin Mahon (knee), Gareth Ainsworth (calf) and Lee Cook (knee) remain sidelined.
Possible line up:
The man who Rangers fought to purchase before the beginning of last season, Kaspars Gorks, is Rangers man to watch this weekend.
He has started looking potent in the attacking third, while proving Rangers' most consistent player defensively for quite some time.
His transfer to Rangers certainly got Karl Oyston talking, but Kaspars has done his speaking on the pitch since then, and has openly stated he has not regrets about the move.
He can go a long way to dealing a blow to his former club and a timely boost for QPR as he travels to Lancashire this weekend.
To read his career profile Click Here >>>
Blackpool: W L W L D
Queens Park Rangers: D W L D L
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 13
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship - 08-08-09
Queens Park Rangers 1 (Ramage 86)
Blackpool 1 (Burgess 37)
Team: Radek Černý, Peter Ramage, Gavin Mahon, Fitz Hall, Wayne Routledge, Heidar Helguson (Rowan Vine 56), Kaspars Gorks, Martin Rowlands (Patrick Agyemang 60), Angelo Balanta (Ákos Buzsáky 56), Gary Borrowdale, Adel Taarabt.
QPR 6-1 Blackpool - 26-08-1969
Blackpool 2-2 QPR - 18-02-1990
Referee: Mr Trevor Kettle (Berkshire)
Assistants: Mr Paul Kettlewell (Lancashire) & Mr Peter Wright (Lancashire)
Fourth Official: Mr Robert Jones (Cheshire)
Trevor Kettle will take charge of this weekend's clash against Blackpool, a referee that has overseen several R's games previously.
He has officiated seven games involving QPR, including games at Preston, Ipswich and Peterborough while sending off Sami Timoska against Stoke City on the final day of the season.
To read our report on the official Click Here >>>
This is going to be an important game in the grand scheme of Rangers' playoff chasing credentials, with recent poor results making this a must win game. Others in and around the top six don't seem to be able to put in a consistent run seeing Nottingham Forest and Newcastle start to assert their impetus on the top positions. Rangers possess a good threat going forward, and regardless of lack of form that is not something that can permanently elude them - while defensively they seem to have gone missing on too many occasions. Therefore a victory is crucial, and judging by Blackpool's recent sporadic record at Bloomfield Road there is a chance it could come on Saturday - only by the odd goal mind! Predictions:
LeeCookFan: 4-0 QPR
jezza99: 3-0 Pool
Ranger1975: 2-0 Pool
Cartouche: 17-0 Pool
southernhoop: 1-0 Pool
beforerodney: 2-1 QPR
nomar: 3-1 Pool
LCF'S CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTION LEAGUE >>>
BEAT THE CLOCK >>>
Teams: Nottingham Forest v QPR
Date: Tuesday January 26, 2010 - 7.45pm
Ground: City Ground, Nottingham
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Date:Friday January 15 2010
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