QPR v Scunthorpe
Sat 21 August
QPR could make it three wins from as many games this Saturday when Scunthorpe travel to Loftus Road. The R`s haven`t won their first three league games since 1947, so caution is required if Rangers are to break a sixty-three year record this weekend.
It has been an interesting week for QPR after losing out to Stoke with the Jonathan Walters transfer this week for a reported £3.2 million the R`s are expected to continue their pursuit for more attacking options despite the current team scoring seven goals in the opening two league games.
Although scoring seven in two games might look impressive the lack of depth in the squad was highlighted during the embarrassing defeat to Port Vale in the league cup. It`s fair to say a couple of forwards wouldn`t go amiss especially if starting striker Heider Helguson, who has been in good form inevitably gets injured.
Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins has a tough job on his hands this season after losing star strikers Gary Hooper and Paul Hayes to Celtic and Preston respectively, the squad looks light particularly upfront and it is hard to see where the goals will come from.
If history repeats itself then summer signings Chris Dagnall and Bobby Grant should be a hit this year as The Iron are synonymous with purchasing strikers from the lower leagues and selling them on for a handsome fee. Most notable successes Gary Hooper, Andy Keogh, Martin Paterson, and Billy Sharp have all been sold on for decent figures after joining for small fees.
Scunthorpe opened the campaign with an impressive 2-1 victory over Reading then followed that up with a win against Oldham in the League Cup but last weekend lost against Norwich in the last minute courtesy of a 90th minute Grant Holt header.
QPR Team News:
QPR Team News
The only absentees from the first team are injured trio Fitz Hall, Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook. Akos Buzsaky could be in line to make the squad after previously being out with a thigh injury.
Neil Warnock should name a similar side that beat Sheffield United 3-0 last Saturday barring one change at the back as Fitz Hall is injured. Warnock must choose between Matthew Connolly and Peter Ramage to replace the injured Skipper at centre back.
The R`s forward line has been potent to say the least - not sure how many would`ve expected that this season. The front three of Jamie Mackie, Hogan Ephraim and Heider Helguson are expected to continue and the system has worked well so far with Helguson holding up the ball for Taarabt to pull the strings playing in the likes of Ephraim and Mackie in behind opposition defences.
The 4-2-3-1 formation can only work if there is a certain discipline to it and Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin have provided exactly that. By keeping their shape in the middle they break up the play and keep possession by passing it onto the forwards. The formation is resilient in defence but effective in attack and Warnock has found a formation that compliments the squad yet suits the maverick Taarabt.
Possible line up:
Orr - Hall - Connolly - Hill-
Ephraim -Taarabt- Mackie
Player to watch: Hogan Ephraim
Player to watch: Hogan Ephraim
The winger has been excellent form in pre-season scoring eight times and much to the delight of the R`s fans he has continued that form into the new season with three assists and one goal already to his name.
Ephraim`s talent has never been in doubt but he has had his critics who believe he hasn`t been consistent enough over the years to warrant a first team place. The lack of consistency could be down to the constant change in manager and player personnel which must have an unsettling effect. It has to be said that his attitude has always been spot on even when asked to join Leeds on loan last season.
Since the arrival Neil Warnock, Ephraim has been starting nearly every game and this has seen a remarkable improvement in Hogan`s game. He is more direct in his approach taking players on and more importantly his final delivery has been excellent. If he continues this form Hogan could prove to be a big player for us this season.
Scunthorpe Team News:
Scunthorpe United Team News:
It is doubtful that Nigel Adkins will ring any major changes ahead of the match against QPR. His side only narrowly lost to Norwich after playing well throughout.
The only injury concerns are for Garry Thompson and David Mirfin. Adkins conceded that both are struggling with injury but Josh Wright and Michael O`Conner are both fit after coming off against Norwich.
Sam Togwell returns from suspension after serving a one match ban
Defender Trent McClenahan is challenging Eddie Nolan and Cliff Byrne for a full back position after successfully building up his fitness following his recent arrival. McClenahan signed a short term deal until January and is desperate to impress in hope to earn an extended contract.
Nolan - Jones - McNulty - Byrne
Woolford - O`Connor - Wright - Thompson
Dagnall - Forte