Reading v QPR - Preview
Next stop on the R's promotion trail is the Madejski Stadium where Neil Warnock's table toppers will face in-form Reading. Since the clubs last met in November, Brian McDermott's men have only tasted defeat once, which ironically came against fellow promotion hopefuls Swansea City, managed by former Royals boss Brendan Rodgers.
Reading have managed to cope well without midfield maestro Gylfi Sigurdsson who left to join Hoffenheim for £7 million at the end of summer transfer window. Players such as Shane Long and Jimmy Kebe have more than filled the void left by Sigurdsson with numerous goals and assists. R's loanee Mikele Leigertwood has also suitably impressed since his arrival and it's no coincidence that their upturn in form has coincided with Leigertwood's arrival.
Neil Warnock will be delighted to have come out of the match against Portsmouth with a win. The R's were second best in the first half but a much improved second half performance clinched the points for Rangers, courtesy of goals from Adel Taarabt and Clint Hill. The R's home record has been excellent this season. The confidence that has come from playing at home has benefited none more so than the mercurial Taarabt. Hopefully he can provide the Reading fans with a taste of his Loftus Road antics on Friday.
Looking ahead to the match Warnock told the official website 'Reading are a good side. Brian's done a great job there and they're absolutely flying at the moment. They don't come much more difficult than Reading away if I'm honest.' I`d have to agree with Warnock's sentiments, Reading are in tremendous form and if we were able to avoid defeat then I'd be more than pleased.
QPR 2 (Taarabt, Hill)
Team: Kenny, Hill, Orr, Connolly, Gorkss, Routledge (Hall), Derry, Ephraim, Taarabt (Vaagen Moen), Faurlin, Miller (Hulse)
Cardiff City 2 (Bothroyd, Bellamy)
Reading 2 (Leigertwood, Manset)
Team: Federici, Mills, Harte, Griffin, Ingimarsson, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Kebe, Karacan, Long (Hunt), Church (Manset)
Reading Team News:
Brian McDermott will be hoping star striker Shane Long shrugs off a hip injury in time. Long suffered the injury in aerial challenge in the Cardiff match.
Mikele Leigertwood is unavailable owing to the terms of his loan agreement. Incidentally Leigertwood is banned for three matches after an alleged bust-up with Craig Bellamy in the tunnel after the game.
Griffin - Mills - Ingimarsson -Harte
Kebe - Howard - Karacan - McAnuff
Church - Long
Player to watch: Jobi McAnuff
Jobi McAnuff has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this week's match against Reading.
For Daniel's comprehensive review of the midfielderClick Here >>>
QPR Team News:
QPR are without winger Tommy Smith (hamstring) and striker Heider Helguson (groin). Rob Hulse could come in for Ishmael Miller who continues to gain full fitness after several years of bad injuries.
Long term absentees Jamie Mackie, Patrick Agyemang and Peter Ramage remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Possible line up:
Orr - Connolly - Gorkss - Hill
Faurlin - Derry
Routledge - Taarabt (c) - Ephraim
Player to watch: Alejandro Faurlín
Alejandro Faurlin was back to his best on Tuesday night with what was arguably his best performance this season. Faurlin`s contribution is sometimes overshadowed by the likes of Adel Taarabt but his ability is not to be underestimated.
He has fantastic technique and possesses a wide range of passing which enables him to start a counter-attack very quickly. Faurlin wins his fair share of aerial battles in midfield and can put a foot in when required. The Argentinean is considered an important member in the Rangers team, and has developed a superb partnership with experienced midfielder Shaun Derry. The pair seem to complement each other very well with Derry as the enforcer and Faurlin as the architect.
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: LDWDW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 26
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship - 06/11/10
QPR 3 (Taarabt, Faurlin, Smith)
Reading 1 (Long)
Team: Kenny, Orr (s/o 44), Connolly, Gorkss, Walker, Derry, Taarabt (Clarke), Faurlin, Mackie, Smith (Ephraim), Hulse (Agyemang)
Referee: Mr R Booth
Assistants: Mr A Davies & Mr N Radford
Fourth Official: Mr D Sheldrake
Russell Booth is the match official for Friday's game and has officiated 16 games this season. His most recent game was Barnsley's 2-0 victory over Preston on Tuesday.
Last season Booth issued 75 yellow cards and four red cards in 37 games.
Here's to hoping the fourth official doesn't have to get involved, with Darren Sheldrake causing chaoas at Colchester in a televised clash just the other day.
My initial prediction was a home win. I felt Reading's recent form would give them a significant edge over a QPR side that struggle to score goals on the road, but after Cardiff's extremely late equaliser on Tuesday, Reading's confidence may have been knocked slightly. Had Reading won then they would've have no doubt fancied their chances and it's more than likely they still do. However there is a chance that there will be suspicions of doubt after Tuesday's late showing, especially if QPR are piling on the pressure in the latter stages of the game.
If Shane Long is fit to play then the R's defence could be in for a bit of a run around. Long is a player I rate highly, his intelligence off the ball is coupled nicely by his improving finishing ability. The Irishman is a dangerous player at this level with 13 goals to his name so far this season. Wingers Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff will be given license to roam and will pose obvious threats. I think if we can keep Reading quiet for the majority of the first half then there is no reason why we can't go on and snatch a win. We're due one away, although, I feel a draw is a much more likely result.
Who: NOTTINGHAM FOREST
Where: LOFTUS ROAD
When: 13/02/11 - 13.15