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Behind Enemy Lines | QPR

A London derby in SE16...

15 February 2022

Ian McCullough, Senior football writer for West London Sport, has his say on Queens Park Rangers.

Rangers head to The Den currently sat 4th in The Championship table with two games in hand on 3rd place Blackburn Rovers.

“Supporters are very positive. Of course, they weren’t after losing to Barnsley – QPR just couldn’t get anything going. They’re very reliant on Chris Willock and he wasn’t playing. He’s the key man in attack. Without him they’re nowhere near as effective.

“Overall fans are happy. Since relegation from the Premier League seven years ago this is the first time they’ve really been in the mix for promotion.”

QPR were relegated from the Premier League back in 2016, but The Rs could well achieve a return this campaign.

“They beat West Brom a few weeks ago and that felt like a really big result because they were well beaten at Craven Cottage and lost to Bournemouth home and away. Beating West Brom was the first time QPR managed to beat one of the so called ‘big three’ in this Division.

“They lost Ilias Chair and goalkeeper Seny Dieng last month to AFCON. The team managed to go unbeaten, and it’s injected a little bit of belief that Rangers can mount a promotion challenge.”

Mark Warburton's side suffered a 1-0 defeat to bottom of the table Barnsley at the weekend. 

“It was a really flat game and a flat atmosphere. It was cold and QPR didn’t turn up. It wasn’t a case of Barnsley being very good – QPR’s passing was off and they didn’t create many opportunities. You felt Barnsley grow in confidence and 15 minutes from the end Domingos Quina scored from 25-yards.

“It was a typical Championship game. Bottom can beat top and if you don’t turn up anyone can beat you. I think it was more of a bad day at the office rather than anything than Barnsley did.”

McCullough identified QPR's back three as the stand out men ahead of tonight's match.

“Defensively, QPR have three very good centre-backs in Rob Dickie, Jimmy Dunne and Yoann Barbet. They’ve been very good all season. Against teams who play direct, which you get a lot of in this League,  they’re very confident defending.

“Ilias Chair and Chris Willock are the two stand out players from an attacking sense. The weakness is their reliance on their wing-backs. Lee Wallace and Albert Adomah aren’t young. If you stop them getting forward, you prevent QPR getting on the ball. If the full-backs are kept in check, that really stifles them offensively.”

Loftus Road hosted the opening day draw between The Lions and Rangers, in a game that saw fans return to football stadiums.

“I watched Millwall last week at Craven Cottage and I didn’t think they were that bad. They perhaps lacked a little bit in the final third that night, but The Den is always a tough place to go.

“Jed Wallace scored a belting goal at the start of the season, and he always seems to play quite well against QPR. There doesn’t seem to be much between these two whenever they play. I would expect something similar. I’m going to sit on the fence and say 1-1.”

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