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The Godfather

Preview of Reading match

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Tuesday 20th October 2009
The Coca Cola Championship
Loftus Road Stadium
Referee: Andy Hall
Kick-off: 20:00
Queens Park Rangers (10th) V Reading (21st)
By The Godfather


Saturday afternoon’s match report was a pleasure to write. In short, Queens Park Rangers were outstanding. Preston North End were unable to cope with the pace and skill of Buzsaky, Taraabt and Routledge. Each of the four goals was brilliantly worked, but the Moroccan loanee’s opener stood out as an early “goal of the season” candidate. If QPR can produce a similar performance against Reading on Tuesday night, they could well deal out another thrashing. Let’s hope that happens.

Reading

Season 2008-09 finish: 4th place.

Manager: Brendan Rodgers


Over the last few years, something of a rivalry has developed between these two sides. Perhaps this is a result of the “you’re not fit to wear the hoops” chant that Reading supporters sang at Loftus Road four or five seasons ago. However, so far this campaign, the Royals have not had much to cheer about.

The club has struggled to cope with the departures of manager, Steve Coppell, and several key players such as Stephen Hunt and Kevin Doyle. Coppell’s replacement, Brendan Rodgers, has not got off to a very good start, only picking up ten points from a possible thirty-six. Of course, it’s early days, but with the team sitting in 21st position in the league table, fans will be feeling concerned.

After such a poor start, Rodgers will need his players to perform to the best of their ability on Tuesday night. Another loss could see the Royals drop into the relegation zone. The manager will be viewing this as a crucial fixture, even at this stage in the season.

Men to watch

Up front, Brendan Rodgers is likely to select Republic of Ireland international striker, Noel Hunt. He enjoyed a successful career in Scotland with Dunfermline and Dundee United before joining Reading in 2008. The 26 year-old has netted 13 goals in 46 appearances for the Royals. Hunt has established himself as a first team regular with his hard-working performances and could pose a threat on Tuesday night.

Grzegorz Rasiak could partner Hunt in attack. The former Derby and Tottenham striker is perhaps best known for his spell at Southampton, where he notched 24 goals in 65 appearances. The Polish international signed for Reading last summer. At the age of 30, he offers experience to the Royals’ frontline.

On the wing, expect to see Jobi McAnuff start. The 27 year-old has bags of experience in the Championship, having played for Crystal Palace and Watford. McAnuff signed for the Royals during the summer for an undisclosed fee and brings pace and skill to the team’s attack.

In central midfield, Jimmy Kébé could keep his place. The 25 year-old signed for Reading in 2008 from Lens and has since made 55 appearances for the club. The Malian international has eight international caps to his name.

Jem Karacan could partner Kébé in the heart of midfield. The talented 20 year-old is a product of Reading’s youth academy and has impressed the supporters with some skilful and hard-working performances. Karacan, who has represented Turkey at Under-21 level, could provide the QPR defence with a threat on Tuesday evening.

Rodgers might also select versatile midfielder, Jay Tabb, in his starting line-up. The 25 year-old enjoyed successful spells with Brentford and Coventry City before joining Reading in January 2009. I have always been impressed with Tabb – no doubt he will make an important contribution to Reading’s 2009/10 campaign.

At the back, Brendan Rodgers is likely to play club captain and former Brentford and Wolves defender, Ivar Ingimarsson. The Icelandic international has made over 200 appearances for the Royals since signing for the club in 2003. A reliable and experienced centre half, expect to see the 32 year-old provide the QPR forwards with a stern test on Tuesday evening.

In goal, Adam Federici will probably keep his starting place. The Australian keeper has finally been able to gain a first team place after the departure of Marcus Hahnemann. The 24 year-old is a talented shot-stopper and has made 4 international appearances.

Previous Match

January 2009 – Queens Park Rangers were held to a goalless draw by automatic promotion contenders, Reading, in an entertaining encounter at Loftus Road. Heidar Helguson squandered the best opportunity of the first half, somehow failing to connect with Lee Cook’s cross. Reading’s best chance came after the break, when Lee Camp pushed Kalifa Cisse’s low drive around the post.

QPR Manager, Paulo Sousa: “I'm never happy with one point, I always want three, but I'm happy with the performance of my team. It's not easy to play against a very compact, intelligent and clinical team. We needed to be strong and competitive and I felt we were. We controlled the rhythm of the game.”

Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Reading

Referee

Andy Hall will take charge of Tuesday night’s fixture. He is not the most popular of match officials amongst Queens Park Rangers supporters, having sent off Super Hoops players and having awarded bizarre penalties to the opposition on a number of occasions. Let’s hope he produces a better performance on Tuesday night.

QPR Team News

Ben Watson could return to the first team after missing the Preston match through a suspension. Matthew Connolly is still out with glandular fever, whilst Mikele Leigertwood is suffering from the flu. Allessandro Pellicori was unavailable for Saturday’s fixture, but could return on Tuesday night. Martin Rowlands will miss the rest of the season with a serious injury sustained during a Republic of Ireland international game. Lee Cook remains a long-term absentee.

Prediction

It will be interesting to see Jim Magilton’s team selection on Tuesday night. Will Ben Watson regain his place in central midfield after superb performances from Gavin Mahon and Alejandro Faurlin? Will Routledge be kept in the central role that gave him so much freedom to damage the Preston defence last Saturday?

In previous seasons, after winning a match in style, QPR have followed it up with a lacklustre performance. It is important that the team continues the momentum from last Saturday. If the players perform to the best of the ability, then I am sure that this will be a comfortable victory. To be optimistic, I shall predict a home win.

Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Reading

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