Thursday night, live on Sky
QPR are back in League action on Thursday night as the R’s make the short trip down the M4 to take on Reading live on Sky Sports.
Both teams suffered defeats in the cup at the weekend and now only have the Championship to focus on. Reading are flying high in third place whereas Rangers find themselves in 15th but are coming off the back of two straight wins.
Reading, under Dutchman Jaap Stam, have been extremely consistent this season. Their attractive free-flowing style of play has brought many plaudits and more importantly points. They’ve been especially dominant at home, picking up 27 points with only Brighton securing more.
The Royals have lost just three of their last 11 league matches, which included a run of five wins between October and November. Stam’s side will certainly prove a difficult challenge for the R’s but if there’s a weakness in the Royals makeup it will be likely be in their defence. Reading have conceded 36 goals in the league this season and have shipped four or more goals on three separate occasions. Their philosophy of playing out from the back can lead to potential opportunities.
But it’s going forward where the home side have been so impressive this term. They seem to have struck the perfect balance of skill, technique and power illustrated by the quality of some of their goals and performances.
Earlier when the two sides met at Loftus Road this season it ended 1-1 after Pawel Wszołek’s first half strike was cancelled out by Danny Williams with both sides having chances to win it late on.
Ian Holloway would have taken a lot of positives from the last two results but he will know that his side will more than likely have to be near their best to take anything from this fixture.
QPR: Jordan Cousins is out with a thigh injury whilst James Perch could miss out through illness. New signing Kazenga Lua Lua will be in the squad as will Darnell Furlong and Michael Doughty who will be pushing for recalls after returning from their loans with Swindon. Both Jack Robinson and Steven Caulker remain side-lined.
Reading: Reading’s skipper Paul McShane will once again miss out with a wrist injury. Callum Harriott faces four to six weeks out with a hamstring injury, while Stephen Quinn (knee) and striker Deniss Rakels (ankle) remain doubts.
Predicted line up: Al Habsi, Gunter, Moore, van den Berg, Blackett, Williams, Swift, McCleary, Kelly, Beerens, Kermorgant.
Key Player – Garath McCleary: The tricky winger is a real threat for Reading. Capable of operating on both sides the former Nottingham Forest man has also chipped in with eight league goals this season.
PRE MATCH TALK
Ian Holloway: “Reading are an excellent team with a fantastic manager. Jaap Stam's doing a great job. We’ve got to try and block Reading and then have enough to counter that and show we can play a bit too. We’ve not done well on Sky Sports so I’d like to be interviewed first after the game because that will mean we’ve won. There's a freshness in training right now, which is fantastic. We're all ready for tomorrow night.
Andries Ulderink (Reading Assistant Manager): “After QPR switched managers, they have been a little bit unlucky when their new manager started. And in the last couple of games they have got some good results – winning at Wolves was a difficult one, so I think their team will have a little bit more confidence than they had five or six weeks ago. It is a good and well-organised team, with some quick players up front, so we have to be sharp and at 100%.”
QPR win: 17/20
QPR first goal scorer: Idrissa Sylla 7/1
Reading first goal scorer: Garath McCleary 9/2
LAST TIME OUT
QPR 1 - 1 Reading - Championship, Saturday 15th October 2016
QPR goal-scorers: Paweł Wszołek
Reading goal-scorers: Danny Williams
HEAD TO HEAD
(In all competitions)
QPR wins: 28
Reading wins: 38
Referee: Oliver Langford
Assistant Referees: Steven Meredith and Nick Hopton
Fourth official: Andy Woolmer
Kick-offs 3pm unless otherwise stated
Leeds United v Derby County (7:45pm)
Bristol City v Cardiff City (12pm)
Birmingham City v Nottingham Forest
Brentford v Newcastle United
Burton Albion v Wigan Athletic
Fulham v Barnsley
Ipswich Town v Blackburn Rovers
Preston North End v Brighton
Rotherham United v Norwich City
Sheffield Wednesday v Huddersfield Town
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa (5:30pm)