Ollie: This isn’t just another game!

IAN Holloway admits tonight’s fixture against Brentford “isn’t just another game”.

The R’s chief – who turned out for both Rangers and the Bees during his playing days – fully understands the rivalry that exists between the two sides, and he wants to use this match as an opportunity to get his team on the up again.

The R’s have suffered three straight defeats, but those losses have come on the back of impressive wins against high-flying duo Wolves and Sheffield United.

And the Rangers boss wants to see his men return to the style of play which saw them deservedly chalk up six points against their much-fancied opposition last month at Loftus Road.

“This is s a big game,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk.

“We need a win and what an opportunity this is for us against one of our neighbours.

“The rivalry between the clubs is massive. One of our best ever players played for both – Stanley (Bowles).

“I played for both too. As did Andy Sinton. We know the rivalry that exists.

“For a lot of our history we’ve been higher than them. But they’re on the up now and getting better and better.

“It’s not about history though. It’s about tonight. Everything else goes out the window - it’s all about us and our crowd.”

Dean Smith has been in charge at Brentford for two years and, despite a slow start to the current campaign, his side have been earning rave reviews for their style of football. And it is a style which is now reaping rewards – they have only lost one of their last 11 fixtures.

“They’ve been patient, building their identity,” Holloway said. “They’ve got good footballers who move the ball well.

“We’re creating our identity still, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from us for long spells this season.”

Holloway anticipates a full-throttle derby under the lights in W12 this evening, adding: “It’s not just another game. It’s bigger than that when it’s Brentford.

“It’ll be a blood-and-thunder affair.

“We need to get to them and stop them playing - because they move the ball so well - and see if we can hurt them at the same time.

“I can’t wait to get our midfield three going toe-to-toe with their midfield. That’ll be an interesting battle and could be where the game is won and lost.

“But it’s down to us to earn the right and if we do that, I’m confident we can get the result we all want.

“If we can get a victory, we’ll be heading in the right direction again.”

Holloway will once again be forced to shuffle his pack owing to an injury crisis which shows little sign of abating.

While Massimo Luongo is available following illness, Jordan Cousins will face a late fitness test while the defensive side of the squad continues to be hit by injury.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries, especially in the defensive areas,” Holloway said.

“It seems whoever comes in, they pick up an injury. It’s so frustrating. I’ve never known anything quite like it.

“Now unfortunately you can add Joel Lynch (ankle) and Darnell Furlong (knee) to that list.

“We’ve got eight defenders out in total at the minute. Nine if you add Niko Hamalainen, who is coming back from bronchitis.

“Osman Kakay might have to come into the mix too, but we’re down to three senior defenders really – Alex Baptiste, Jack Robinson and Jake Bidwell - so it’s something we’ve got to look at and adjust to accordingly.

“But that’s football and I’ll make sure those I do pick know the game plan and the set-up and we’ll be ready for this derby.”

In the tenth minute of tonight’s game, fans of both teams are urged to show their support for Bowles with a minute’s applause and Holloway explained: “Stan’s health is deteriorating. He’s not going to get any better. That’s the nature of his illness unfortunately.

“We want both sets of fans to show their respect to him in the tenth minute - he wore that number ten with so much personality.

“I’m sure you’ll see both sets of fans give him the respect he deserves and those fans who watch the game on TV, who maybe don’t even know who Stan is, will certainly know afterwards.

“The bloke was an absolute genius but he was more than that - he’s a great man.

“We’re coming up to the festive period which is a lovely time of year - all of QPR’s thoughts are with Stan and his family.”

It’ll be a blood-and-thunder affair.

Ian Holloway
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