Preview - Boro v QPR
The Riverside Stadium
A WIN came for Mick Harford at the seventh time of asking last weekend and now the R's search for what is a highly coveted second successive victory.
It was Middlesbrough who contributed to the demise of Jim Magilton, exploiting his attacking instincts to hit Rangers for five in W12 - and now the R's are hoping to compound Gordon Stachan's recent misery.
The Scotsman's side currently sits off the playoff chase with indifferent form blighting their every step - remaining undefeated at home since mid-December is the stand out positive during his tenure.
An influx of talent in January has seen Boro resemble a second Celtic as Strachan brought with him players such as Barry Robson and Willo Flood - with Scott McDonald following suit.
The stage has been reached in Rangers' season whereby every point is crucial, and three points would be an incredible boost to the R's survival hopes as they look to not only escape trouble but drag others into the mix.
QPR 2 (German 25, Simpson 76)
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Hayter 51)
Team: Carl Ikeme, Peter Ramage (Adel Taarabt 77), Kaspars Gorks, Damion Stewart, Matt Hill, Ákos Buzsáky, Alejandro Faurlín, Matt Connolly (Gary Borrowdale 85), Lee Cook, Antonio German (Rowan Vine 90), Jay Simpson.
Nottingham Forest 1 (Cohen 72)
Team: Danny Coyne, Emmanuel Pogatetz, Stephen McManus, David Wheater, Kyle Naughton, Willo Flood, Barry Robson, Julio Arca (Jonathan Franks 80), Gary O'Neil, Scott McDonald, Jeremie Aliadiere (Leroy Lita 67)
Middlesbrough Team News:
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Boro have a couple of doubts ahead of the clash at the Riverside stadium with strike duo Scott McDonald and Chris Killen nursing complaints.
Danny Coyne will start in goal behind what should be an unchanged back four of loanee Kyle Naughton, Stephen McManus, David Wheater and Emmanuel Pogatez.
Celtic signing Barry Robson should partner skipper Gary O'Neil in the middle with Willo Flood and Julio Arca looking to continue in wide areas.
Leroy Lita may return in place of McDonald (hernia), with Lee Miller also pushing for a starting place alongside Jeremie Aliadiere with Killen (hamstring) doubtful.
Rhys Williams (pelvis) and Chris Riggott (hamstring) also remain doubtful for the weekend's fixture, while long-term complaints Seb Hines (knee ligaments) and Matthew Bates (knee ligament) will not take part.
Naughton - McManus - Wheater - Pogatez
Flood - Robson - O'Neil - Arca
Lita - Aliadiere
Player to watch: TBA
QPR Team News:
Mick Harford will to retain the nucleas of the side that showed well against Doncaster last weekend, with another positive result sought this time out.
Carl Ikeme will keep his place ahead of Radek Černý with Kaspars Gorks and Damion Stewart at the heart of defence, and Matt Hill and Peter Ramage taking their place at full back - the latter looking to overcome an abdominal complaint.
Matt Connolly meanwhile is rated as doubtful after rolling his ankle against Rovers, so Nigel Quashie or Adel Taarabt could take his place in midfield alongside Alejandro Faurlín.
Lee Cook and Ákos Buzsáky should start on the flanks with Antonio German and Jay Simpson the sure-fire starters up front - with Marcus Bent and Tamás Priskin also rated doubtful.
Martin Rowlands (knee) and Gavin Mahon (knee) remain sidelined, with no word on the possible return date for the influential latter.
Possible line up:
Ramage - Gorks - Stewart - Hill
Buzsáky - Quashie - Faurlín - Cook
German - Simpson
Player to watch: Antonio German
Antonio German has proven his capabilities in the victory over Doncaster Rovers last weekend, and will once again be looking to maintain some good recent form.
The young forward was excellent aerially in the second period against Rovers and capped off his performance with a goal - earning himself a standing ovation.
With a pacy player plying his trade on such a wide surface, German will be looking to take advantage and notch in his second successive fixture.
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The Stat Attack
Middlesbrough: D W W L L
Queens Park Rangers: L L L L W
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 13
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship - 05-12-2009
QPR 1 (Agyemang 53)
Middlesbrough 5 (Kitson 31, Lita 50pen, 60, O'Neil 75, Yeates 87)
Team: Radek Černý, Fitz Hall, Mikele Leigertwood,Wayne Routledge (Alessandro Pellicori 82), Ákos Buzsáky (Rowan Vine 52), Kaspars Gorks, Ben Watson, Alejandro Faurlín, Jay Simpson (Patrick Agyemang 52), Gary Borrowdale, Adel Taarabt.
Middlesbrough 0-2 QPR - 16-04-1977
QPR 6-1 Middlesbrough - 05-03-1983
Referee: Mr Andy Woolmer (Northants)
Assistants: Mr David Benton (S. Yorks) & Mr Darren England (S. Yorks)
Fourth Official:Mr Danny Markham (Tyne & Wear)
Andy Woolmer will be the man in the middle as Rangers travel to the Riverside this weekend - a referee that has yet to preside over an R's win in three attempts.
The Northamptonshire-based official has taken charge of defeats against Burnley and more recently Sheffield United at Loftus Road - with Paul Hart's men crashing out of the Cup.
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Albeit this is one of the more optimistic and hopeful predictions I will make this season, but a confident QPR side as we know can be a dangerous one.
The R's finally stopped the rot of defeats against Doncaster and a performance to unsettle the home crowd at the Riverside could see Rangers come out with an unlikely maximum.
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Teams: QPR v West Bromwich Albion
Date: Saturday March 6, 2010 - 3.00pm
Ground: Loftus Road, London