Date:Monday January 28 2008
29th January 2008
Queens Park Rangers go into the game at Ninian Park off the back of a good victory and performance at Home to Barnsley. With Cardiff fresh of the heels of a tremendous away draw at West Bromwich Albion both sides will be looking for the maximum as they clash in the evening kick off in Cardiff.
Gigi De Canio spoke following the Barnsley clash:
'The new players are really starting to gel,'
'But I am only moderately satisfied with the display, because I know there is still so much more to come from this group."
'I strive for perfection and I wanted us to finish Barnsley off in the second half and that didn't happen."
'We will work on it though and I am sure we can achieve our objectives.'
De Canio continued:
'I'm really happy though, because we're moving forward as a group.
'We have a group of players that can withstand any problems thrown their way.'
Gigi responded to speculation that he was unsettled in London:
'The man who wrote that is wrong."
'I just don't know where he got his information from. I am very happy here.'
Fresh off the back from a narrow 2-1 win at Edgar Street, Cardiff will have a decision to make regarding a Strike partnership in the up and coming match at Ninian Park. Ex Chelsea and Leeds striker Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink has started recent league games, bagging a goal in their 1-0 home victory over Sheffield Wednesday. However Steven Thompson will look to retain his place in the starting line-up after a goal in the F.A Cup against Hereford from the spot.
The Bluebirds have no fresh injury concerns going into the game in the Welsh capital. Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler is still sidelined with an injury, other than that the Bluebirds have a fresh and fit squad to choose from.
The tricky number 11 signed from Hereford for a £75k price tag has impressed during he four year spell with the Bluebirds. He has scored 19 goals in a total of 150 appearances for the Welsh side since his move. This had earned him 6 international caps, yielding one goal in the process. He has scored 7 goals this season, most notably at Loftus Road in a 2-0 victory, and more recently a brace at the Hawthornes to help hold West Bromwich Albion to a draw.
The midfielder from Newport has been pushed forward recently and likes to roam in and around the area to further his goalscoring tally. His brace against the Albion was an exquisite strike from distance, and then some direct running enabled the Welsh-man to add to his tally to slot low and left past the keeper.
A talented individual that must be stopped if Rangers are to keep a clean sheet in the Welsh capital.
Rangers can call upon a fully fit squad for the trip to Cardiff, and Gigi De Canio will have somewhat of a selection dilemma going into the encounter.
Damion Stewart and Fitz Hall should be ok to continue as the centre back pairing following injury scares to the duo last Saturday against Barnsley.
Rangers look set to start in a familiar away formation of 4-5-1/4-3-3, seemingly with hitman Patrick Agyemang set to lead the strikeforce after some impressive performances, with Rowan Vine supporting from the flank.
Akos Buzsaky could line up on the other flank, but may also support through the middle paving the way for Hogan Ephraim or Kieran Lee to get a start, with Gavin Mahon returning following a virus.
The striker had a somewhat unsung performance at home to Barnsley, bagging himself a goal before laying a second on for Rowan Vine in a neat and slick passing move that tore the Tykes defence in pieces.
His intelligent running had the Barnsley backline in knots on occasions, with some clever step-overs and decoy runs, he has made that starting place his own with 2 goals in 2 games for the R`s.
The Ghanaian took a pass from Dexter Blackstock in his stride to chip the ball delightfully over the oncoming keeper and then nodding into an empty net to put the R`s infront against the Tykes. More wizardry of this ilk will be required to get the better of the Bluebirds backline.
Cardiff City are on a good run of late, unbeaten in 6 Championship games, and unbeaten at home in 5 games after the home defeat by Charlton Athletic. This coupled with cup victories against plucky underdogs Chasetown and more recently Hereford United, makes the Bluebirds formbook impressive reading going into the encounter at Ninian Park. Cardiff are currently unbeaten in the month of January with 5 wins and 1 draw to their name in all competitions.
Rangers have had somewhat inconsistent form on the road. A truly incredible performance against Watford is negated by abject displays against Plymouth and Sheffield United, both games in which the Rangers team failed to show up in the second half. In the last 5 away games Rangers have won 2, lost 2 and drawn 1. This makes inconsistent reading for any fan, and it could depend which Rangers show up as the key to the result.
Historically QPR have narrowly the best record over their Welsh counterparts with 23 league wins to Cardiff`s 21. The teams drawing 9 times. Rangers were not beaten by the Bluebirds two seasons running until the more recent game at Loftus Road.
Last time out
18th August 2007 - Loftus Road
Cardiff City 2 (McLean 29, Parry 59)
Rangers Team: Camp, Rehman, Curtis, Stewart, Mancienne, Moore (Ward 64) Bolder, Ephraim, Rowlands, Nardiello (Nygaard 64) Blackstock.
Last time out
17th November 2006 - Ninian Park
Cardiff City 0
QPR 1 (Jones 88)
Rangers Team: Royce, Mancienne, Rehman, Stewart, Bignot, Ainsworth (Ward 15) Bailey, Smith, Cook, Nygaard, Blackstock (Jones 65).
Referee- P Walton
Assistants - M Cairns & J Flynn
Fourth official - R East
The last time Mr. Walton took charge of Rangers was the 1-1 away draw at Crystal Palace; Booking Mikele Leigertwood. Before that he also officiated Rangers television game against Norwich City, Rangers won 1-0 and Mr. Walton finally granted one of three Rangers cast iron penalty appeals.
More recently he sent off Spurs Michael Dawson, in the FA Cup encounter at Old Trafford, which Manchester United duly won 3-1.
For all the latest match odds click onwww.williamhill.com
Who- Bristol City
Where- Loftus Road
When- Saturday 2nd February. 3:00pm
Date:Monday January 28 2008
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