IAN Holloway has predicted “a totally different game” for QPR this weekend as they travel to table-topping Cardiff City, and the R’s chief says his players will need to be ready to battle.
Having taken maximum points from their opening four league games, Neil Warnock’s men are the early pacesetters in the Championship, and Holloway said:
“Neil has got Cardiff going and it’s going to be a totally different type of game to our previous league games.
“They put you under massive pressure and almost play a 2-4-4 formation with the new strikeforce he has put together there.
“They beat Wolves away last weekend, and Wolves have been outstanding so far, in their performances, not just their results.
“We’ll have to go there and compete with what they are going to do.
“We know what they are going to do, but stopping it and being able to do what you want to do is the challenge for us – and it’s a great challenge.”
Rangers have made a very encouraging start to their own league campaign, picking up seven points from four tough opponents – Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and Hull – and Holloway has called on his players to be ready for the battle this weekend as we look to build on our solid start.
“We are going to need to be big and strong, and we’re going to have to battle,” he said. “We have to look at what they do, and when they do it.
“They are a fantastic team and their two wide men are on fire, so we are going to have to deal with that.”
The game against the Bluebirds comes four days after both sides were knocked out of the Carabao Cup. The R’s went down 4-1 against Brentford, while Cardiff lost at home to Burton Albion.
Both Holloway and Warnock made ten changes for their cup ties, and while disappointed with Rangers’ result against their local rivals, the R’s boss said using his squad to cope with the congested August fixture calendar was a necessity.
“The games come thick and fast, and get more and more competitive, that’s the challenge for all of us” Holloway said.
“I know the crowd were upset with the result on Tuesday night. I made ten changes, and that was something I needed to do.
“There were players carrying knocks after five games in the space of two weeks, and I had to bear that in mind.
“I also needed to see where we are as a squad. I expected us to do better than we did but I have to say I felt the boys kept going. You could feel that during the second half with the way the crowd were right with us.
“I am trying to build a squad here that can handle the challenge of a long, hard season.”
Now Holloway wants his squad to dust themselves down and produce their best performance of the campaign in order to achieve a positive result tomorrow.
“We will have to be better than we have been all season,” he said. “Will we be able to do that against a team so high on confidence? I believe we can, yeah.
“It’s a big ask, but I can’t wait to take it on.”
Centre-back Joel Lynch is doubtful for this weekend with a hamstring injury, while it is hoped Josh Scowen (ankle) will be fit.
Kazenga LuaLua is also expected to be available after missing Tuesday night’s game on compassionate leave.
James Perch (knee) is out, along with Jordan Cousins (hamstring) and Grant Hall (tendonitis).