Q.P.R Preview - Away, Feb 16th
Watford get the chance to complete a rare league double tomorrow night as they take on Mick Harford`s low-flying Queens Park Ranger`s side at Loftus Road. All that stands in the way of the Hornet`s claiming their fourth, fifth and sixth points off the R`s this campaign is their abysmal away record; the Golden Boys last away triumph came at Middlesbrough way back in October.
Rangers have been on a dismal run of their own of late and have slipped to five straight losses which leaves them lying precariously in 17th place, just two points above the relegation trapdoor. The slide was arguably started by the Hornet`s as they romped to an impressive 3-1 victory over the West London outfit back in December.
The defeat caused self-implosion with Jim Magilton, allegedly, head butting talismanic midfielder Akos Buszaky in heated changing room fracas before casting the Hungarian out of the locker room to wait in a toilet. Patrick Aygemang was then offered the same treatment before Magilton was eventually suspended and unsurprisingly relieved of his duties. Paul Hart came in but one win in five plus a few broken promises saw him leave and since then his assistant Harford has re-taken over control on a temporary basis.
Outspoken R`s owner Flavio Briatore is apparently searching for a household name and that man could be former Germany skipper, Lothar Mattheus, the rumours have since cooled regarding another change of manager however.
On the pitch, January was a busy period for the R`s who were still very active in the transfer window despite not having a manager. Patrick Aygemang, Fitz Hall, Alessandro Pellicori and Heidar Helguson all completed loan deals away from the Loftus Road madhouse until the end of the campaign. Arriving at the Loft were Nigel Quashie who returned for a second spell on a free transfer from West Ham United, whilst former 'Orn Tamas Priskin continued his self-improvement quest by penning a loan deal along with Birmingham reject, Marcus Bent. Hogan Ephraim has returned from his loan spell at Leeds United and has held down a place in the starting XI since, whilst Nigerian 'keeper, Carl Ikeme has extended his loan spell from Wolves having taken over from experienced Czech, Radek Cerny between the sticks of late.
The home side will be without captain Martin Rowlands and vice, Gavin Mahon, both of whom are missing due to long-term knee problems. Also likely to remain sidelined is experienced forward Marcus Bent who has a hamstring problem.
Watford will be without Heidar Helguson who is prevented from playing against his parent club, so the early season partnership of Cleverley and Graham may be renewed if the former is fit again following injury, if not it will surely fall to Henri Lansbury to tuck in behind Graham who returned against Bristol City in midweek.
Queens Park Rangers: LLLLL
Likely Queens Park Rangers XI
Ramage Gorkss Stewart Hill
Taraabt Quashie Faurlin Cook
Likely Watford XI
Mariappa Taylor DeMerit (c) Doyley
Cowie Jenkins Eustace Harley