QPR head to Wigan this weekend
QUEENS Park Rangers will look to bounce back in the Championship but face a tricky tie against newcomers Wigan Athletic at the DW stadium.
After starting the season in fine form with a convincing 3-0 win at home to Leeds and a professional 2-0 victory over Cardiff in Wales, the R’s have suffered back-to-back league defeats to Barnsley and Preston North End.
Wigan have experienced a real mix of emotions in the last few seasons. Back in 2013 they were relegated just days after remarkably winning the FA Cup with victory over Manchester City. They were then beaten by QPR in the Play-Offs before being relegated the following season in what was a dismal campaign for the club. However they made no mistake in climbing back to the Championship last year, convincingly winning the league under the management of Gary Caldwell.
They began the season with a 2-1 loss to Bristol City but comprehensively outplayed Blackburn to win the local derby 3-0 and followed this up with a valuable home point against Birmingham City. They were beaten 4-3 last time out away against Nottingham Forest in what was one of the games of the season so far.
Having previously played for the Latics, Caldwell is in his first managerial job since retiring from playing in 2015. He was impressive in his debut full season of management picking up the LMA League Manager of the Year award.
The Latics strength lies in going forward highlighted by the fact that last season they were joint leading goal-scorers alongside Peterborough with 82 goals in League One. They are extremely flexible in terms of formations, with their three at the back capable of interchanging to a three upfront.
Caldwell’s side have been very busy in the transfer market so far bringing in ten players including Neil Warnock from Derby County and Jordi Gomez from Sunderland.
QPR: Ariel Borysiuk could be in line to make his Championship debut after coming through 60 minutes in the EFL Cup midweek. Ben Gladwin (ankle) and Jamie Mackie (ankle) remain unavailable.
Predicted line up: (3-5-2) Bogdan, Warnock, Burn, Morgan, Jacobs, Garbutt, Macdonald, Gomez, Power, Grigg, Wildshutt
Key Player: Will Grigg: The Northern Ireland international certainly knows where the back of the net is and his goals will be instrumental to how Wigan’s season pans out.
PRE MATCH TALK
Grant Hall: "Wigan have some good players and they are playing with a lot of confidence at home.
"It is going to be a tough game we know that but we have to get three points to go into the international break with confidence."
Stephen Warnock: “We’re still in high spirits; it’s tinged with disappointment that we haven’t got more points on the board and we know we’re capable of winning more games than we have done.
“We’re a confident bunch though and we believe in what we are doing. I expect them to be a very well organised team, I think if you look at Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s teams, he’s got them well-drilled. They’re very strong, but we’re more than capable of causing them problems.”
QPR win: 21/10
QPR first goal scorer: Sebastian Polter 6/1, Tjaronn Chery 6/1
Wigan first goal scorer: Will Grigg 4/1
LAST TIME OUT
2-1 Championship Play-Off semi-final 12th May 2014
QPR scorers: Charlie Austin (x2)
Wigan scorer: James Perch
HEAD TO HEAD
(In all competitions)
QPR wins: 5
Wigan wins: 2
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh
Assistant Referees: Timothy Wood and Tony Peart
Fourth official: Darren Strain
TUESDAY’S OTHER LEAGUE FIXTURES
Kick-offs 3pm unless otherwise stated
Barnsley v Rotherham
Birmingham v Norwich
Blackburn v Fulham
Brentford v Sheff Wed
Bristol City v Aston Villa
Cardiff v Reading
Huddersfield v Wolves
Ipswich v Preston
Nottm Forest v Leeds
Newcastle v Brighton (17:30)