HISTORY suggest there’s usually very little to separate QPR and Hull with the previous 47 matches between the two clubs ending in 16 draws, 16 wins for the Tigers and 15 victories for Rangers. With that in mind we take a closer look as to where Saturday’s game can be won and lost.
Nedum Onuoha v Fraizer Campbell
Two players who will be no strangers to one another, having been team mates for Sunderland and England under-21 sides, will go head to head on Saturday.
Campbell, who has been plagued by injuries in recent years, has started all three of Hull’s league games this season. Whilst perhaps not being quite match fit the forward has looked lively and in the last game against Wolves was especially unlucky not to open his account. With Abel Hernandez out injured, much of the goal-scoring burden will lay with the former Manchester United graduate.
Onuoha remains the R’s skipper and has featured alongside Joel Lynch and James Perch in the opening three games of the season. With Campbell being a pacey operator this could be one area that Onuoha needs to keep a close check on his old teammate.
Massimo Luongo v Markus Henriksen
The battle of the two ball playing central midfielders who have both featured in pretty much every minute of the three league games this term and have already showed the potential impact they can have over the course of the campaign.
Henriksen was recruited last season from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar and began to have more of an impact as the season went on. The Norwegian, who like his counterpart Luongo, is an international regular for his country has been impressive alongside the in demand Sam Clucas playing a deeper role in Leonid Slutsky’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
With Rangers likely to have an extra man in midfield on Saturday much will be expected of Luongo who has previously shown that he has the ability to control games especially when facing teams who like to play a possession style of football. Knowing he has the ball winning qualities of Josh Scowen behind him has certainly allowed Luongo to flourish in these early games and could potentially be a big part of Saturday’s game.
Jamie Mackie v Michael Dawson
Two extremely experienced players are likely to go head to head on the weekend and play a big part in proceedings.
Ex-England international Dawson has played at the very top for much of his career but at the age of 33 is still a vital member of the Tigers back-line and is captain of what is a very young side. Despite his lack of pace, his reading of the game is still outstanding and his leadership qualities are second to none.
Perhaps the early surprise of Rangers season has been the inclusion of Mackie up top in a 3-5-2 formation. The versatile forward was put in the team against Reading for his ability to press high but also impressed on the ball and his determined running was a catalyst for Rangers victory. He backed that up with an impressive goal-scoring performance against Sheffield Wednesday whilst also being busy against Norwich, creating a few opportunities and going close on more than one occasion. Ollie may be tempted to shuffle the pack following Wednesday’s defeat but will know it will be hard to leave Mackie out given what he’s currently bringing to the team in this set-up.