QPR v Reading - Preview
This Saturday QPR welcome fellow hooped rivals Reading to Loftus Road in what should be interesting match-up between two experienced Championship sides with aspirations of promotion.
Last week against Burnley, QPR got drawn into a long ball match and without the aerial prowess of front man Heider Helguson the R's attack was somewhat impotent and lacked a focal point. That said there were some positives from that match, the defence looked solid and Paddy Kenny made an excellent save in the first half.
QPR will need a repeat performance from their talismanic figure Adel Taarabt. In the first half against Burnley Taarabt produced some of his excellent early season form and scored a fantastic goal, more of the same will be required if the R's are to shake off their winless run.
Reading are another one of those teams that seem to epitomise the unpredictability of the Championship. After successive defeats to Bristol City and Swansea their last two games has seen The Royals win 4-0 and 4-3 to Burnley and Doncaster respectively.
They have some fine wingers at this level in Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe plus a natural finisher in Shane Long who will cause headaches for any back four in this division. Good news for Reading fans as Long signed a new contract this week in a deal which keeps him at the club until 2012.
QPR 1 (Taarabt)
Burnley 1 (Alexander pen)
Team: Kenny, Hill, Connolly, Gorkss, Walker, Derry, Ephraim (Agyemang), Taarabt (Smith) Faurlin, Mackie, Hulse (Clarke)
Reading 4 (Mills, Karacan, Harte, Church)
Team: Federici, Mills, Harte, Griffin, Khizanishvili, McAnuff, Tabb (Hunt), Howard, Karacan, Robson-Kanu (Antonio), Long (Church)
QPR Team News:
Hungarian midfielder Akos Buzsaky has been ruled out for up to 5 weeks after he was told he will require knee surgery to correct an injury sustained in the match against Norwich.
Latest signing Georgios Tofas is out with a minor hamstring injury. Gavin Mahon is also a doubt with a similar hamstring complaint.
Rob Hulse is expected to start upfront again as Heider Helguson is a major doubt with a shoulder and neck injury. The Iceman has not responded as well as hoped to his treatment and is likely to once again miss out.
Martin Rowlands should be included on the bench alongside Mikele Leigertwood, Patrick Agyemang, Leon Clarke, Radek Cerny, Tommy Smith and Bradley Orr.
Walker - Connolly - Gorkss - Hill
Faurlín - Derry
Mackie - Taarabt (c) - Smith
Player to watch: Paddy Kenny
As the season has progressed there have been players that have started well but have subsequently faded but Paddy Kenny along with Kaspars Gorkss has improved game by game. The Halifax born shot-stopper has been nothing short of a revelation in between the sticks this season, not only does he possess excellent reflexes he organises the back four superbly, praising and criticising the defence when necessary. In my opinion he is one of the best in the league along with Lee Grant, David James and Kaspar Schmeichel.
Kenny started his career at non-league outfit Bradford Park Avenue before joining Bury in 1998. After making 145 appearances for Bury the Irish international joined Neil Warnock`s Sheffield United on loan before signing permanently. Kenny played over 240 times for the Blades and in that time won player of year in 2003.
A career that has had the occasional moment of controversy off the pitch Kenny was banned from football for nine months after testing positive for Ephedrine, a banned substance found in cough medicine.
After returning from his ban Kenny played for Sheffield United twice at the back end of last season and kept two clean sheets against Swansea and Ipswich.
Reading Team News:
Winger Jimmy Kebe is unavailable due to a knee injury which has kept him out of the last two matches. Hal Robson-Kanu is expected to deputise.
Irish striker Noel Hunt is pushing for a start as is the in-form Simon Church who has scored two goals in as many games.
Experienced midfielder Brynjar Gunnarsson is out with a hamstring injury so Brian Howard, Jem Karacan and Jay Tabb should start in midfield.
Griffin - Khizanishvili - Mills - Harte
Tabb - Karacan
McAnuff - Howard - Robson-Kanu
Player to watch: Jimmy Kebe
Jimmy Kebe has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this weekend`s match against Reading.
For the One to Watch
Last season Tanner issued 11 yellow cards and nine red cards in 34 games.
To read more see:
In all seriousness I think it will be a game where Rangers have the potential to dominate but they must be much more clinical up top. QPR should counteract their recent attacking potency with our well marshalled defence, saying that I'm sure QPR`s opponents will get their obligatory penalty.
Although Warnock is adamant on selecting the same team I can't help but feel we need freshening up, especially in wide areas. Enter Tommy Smith, hopefully earlier than after 80 minutes. Hogan Ephraim has really gone off the boil recently although it might be down to the recent rigidness that the team appear to be playing with. QPR's free flowing football has gone amiss and Ephraim is finding it increasingly difficult to get into games and is having little to no influence. I'm sure Tommy Smith is desperate to show everyone what he can do and with three games in the next week Smith should get a chance to really impress.
I think QPR will try and attack from the off and try to assert some dominance. Reading are good going forward, Shane Long, Noel Hunt and Simon Church are all a handful in this division and given the chance all three are good enough finishers to make us pay. They also have two of the better wingers in the league in Kebe and McAnuff but luckily for Rangers Kebe is out with a knee injury that said, our full backs still will need to be on fine form if they are to stop McAnuff and potentially Noel Hunt or Hal Robson-Kanu.
Scrappy 1-0 QPR win
Where: Fratton Park
When: 09/11/10 - 0745