Doncaster Rovers v QPR - Preview
FOLLOWING their deserved win over Crystal Palace last weekend, the R's make the trip up to South Yorkshire where they will face Doncaster Rovers. Neil Warnock's side showed good mental strength to bounce back after last week's FA allegations came to light and the disappointing defeat to rivals Millwall.
Rangers will be heading into the match on Saturday with three points set in their sights, as they look to increase the gap between them and the rest of the chasing pack. Hopefully they can remain undeterred by the recent allegations and put in another focused performance.
Sean O'Driscoll has done a terrific job so far since arriving from Bournemouth in 2006. O'Driscoll has established Doncaster Rovers as one of the more attractive sides in the Championship, with a terrific brand of slick passing football.
This season, Donny have had terrible luck with injuries, certainly a contributing factor to their lack of progress this year. At one stage this year they had no fewer than 14 first team players out injured and still managed to pick up a few points, which is quite incredible considering the lack of depth in their squad.
With the international break fast approaching, it is important for QPR to keep the momentum going and pick up another win. The teams around the Rangers seem to be very hit and miss at the moment, with Norwich the latest team to rise to second, after Nottingham Forest, Cardiff and Swansea all failed to hold onto the second automatic spot with several inconsistent performances.
For me, Norwich have been very impressive, grinding out results all season and are the team most similar to QPR in respect to their spirit and determination. It has been those key attributes - and possibly fitness - that has seen the Canaries pick up more points in the last five minutes than any other team in the division.
QPR 2 (Heidar Helguson 20, 54pen)
Crystal Palace 1 (James Vaughan 40)
Team: Paddy Kenny, Bradley Orr, Clint Hill, Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gorkss, Shaun Derry, Alejandro Faurlín, Tommy Smith (Hogan Ephraim 86), Adel Taarabt (Ákos Buzsáky 89), Wayne Routledge, Heidar Helguson
Nottingham Forest 0
Doncaster Rovers 0
Team: Gary Woods, George Friend, Shelton Martis (Matt Kilgallon 55), Joseph Mills, Sam Hird (Mustapha Dumbuya 77), Brian Stock, Franck Moussa, Mark Wilson (Ryan Mason 63), Simon Gillett, James Coppinger, James Hayter
Doncaster Rovers Team News:
John Oster and Steve Brooker returned to training this week and could be in contention for Saturday's game. Shelton Martis, Sam Hird and Mark Wilson who were all substituted through injury against Forest are fit to play.
Rovers still have several key players out with Billy Sharp, James Chambers, Paul Keegan, Adam Lockwood and James O'Connor all unavailable.
Hird - Kilgallon - Martis - Friend
Coppinger - Stock - Gillett- Wilson - Oster
Player to watch: BRIAN STOCK
Brian Stock has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of this weekend's match against Doncaster Rovers.
For Daniel's comprehensive review of the midfielder Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Wayne Routledge is a doubt after pulling out of training on Monday with an ankle injury. Danny Shittu returns from suspension but may have to settle for a place on the bench after impressive performances from Fitz Hall and Kaspars Gorkss last week.
Tommy Smith will be hoping to continue in the starting eleven. Neil Warnock has plenty of wide options with Ishmael Miller, Hogan Ephraim and Akos Buzsaky all waiting in the wings.
Jamie Mackie, Patrick Agyemang and Peter Ramage remain long term absentees.
Possible line up:
Orr - Gorkss - Hall - Hill
Faurlin - Derry
Routledge - Taarabt (c) - Smith
Player to watch: FITZ HALL
A player that has certainly had his critics since joining the R's from Wigan in 2008, although it has to be said that Fitz Hall has played very well since Neil Warnock's arrival, who regards him as one of the best defenders in the Championship.
Hall who has been blighted by injuries whilst at QPR and has struggled to hold down a regular first team spot, mainly down to his inability to complete three or four consecutive games. However, when he has played he has looked the part, especially alongside to Danny Shittu. The pair formed a solid partnership in the reserves that transcended into the first team after a few shaky performances from Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss.
Hall is a competent footballer and possesses a decent range of passing, particularly the cross-field pass into the channel. Hall also has a long-throw which has been used regularly by Warnock, an unsurprising tactic when you consider the aerial threat that is in the R's team. Players like Clint Hill, Kaspars Gorkss and Heider Helguson are all useful from set plays and look to get forward when Hall takes a long-throw.
The towering centre-back has one goal to his name this season, a tap in against Barnsley. Coincidently Hall`s only other previous goals came against Barnsley in the opening fixture of the 2008-09 season.
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WWWLW
Doncaster Rovers: DWLDD
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 6
Doncaster Rovers: 7
LAST TIME OUT
Coca Cola Championship - 25/09/2010
QPR 3 (Kaspars Gorkss 53, 88, Adel Taarabt 81pen)
Doncaster Rovers 0
Team: Paddy Kenny, Kyle Walker, Clint Hill, Kaspars Gorkss, Matt Connolly, Shaun Derry (Mikele Leigertwood 76), Ákos Buzsáky, Hogan Ephraim, Adel Taarabt, Jamie Mackie (Tommy Smith 89), Heidar Helguson (Patrick Agyemang 87)
Referee: Mr P Gibbs
Assistants: Mr M Duncan & Mr C Harwood
Fourth Official: Mr N Murphy
Phil Gibbs is the match official for Saturday's game and has officiated 27 games this season. His most recent game was the 2-2 draw between Shrewsbury and Port Vale.
Last season Gibbs issued 121 yellow cards and four red cards in 36 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
I think considering all of the off-field drama that has surrounded QPR recently, Saturday's performance against Crystal Palace was a remarkable portrait of professionalism that was a credit to the club and to the fans.
I can only hope that the same attitude is taken by the players and coaching staff this Saturday, which is a tough ask, considering the inevitable FA punishment that looms over the club like a vulture ready to swoop. Here's hoping that it can be sorted out during the international break, rather than lingering on into the final weeks of the season.
If QPR perform as they did against Palace then I can't see anything other than a Rangers win. Doncaster are bereft with injuries and are missing star man Billy Sharp, who has a groin injury. Without him in their side they look toothless.
QPR have several players who have entered a rich vein of form recently. Heider Helguson has hit six goals in as many games since returning from injury. Alejandro Faurlín has put in several classy performances and Wayne Routledge has assisted in some crucial goals, notably against Leicester. That said, while the ongoing off-field drama continues, I do fear for Rangers, and the match could be a lot closer than when the two teams last met.
1-2 Helguson and Hall to score for the R's.
Who: SHEFFIELD UNITED
Where: LOFTUS ROAD