Three to watch at Portman Road

QPR take on Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Boxing Day. The Tractor Boys are going well in the league and are currently situated in the top ten. We take a closer look at the players who are performing so well for Mick McCarthy’s side.

Joe Garner

Strengths:

  • Heading
  • Work-rate
  • Hold-up play

The leader of Ipswich’s front-line and someone likely to be a real pest to the Queens Park Rangers defence. As well as his work rate the striker will often win headers he simply has no right to win and has found the net six times this season. But perhaps more important than his goals is his build up play and the focal point that he finds himself in Ipswich’s setup. It’s worth noting that Ipswich are the third highest goal-scorers in the division and Garner’s forward play is instrumental to other players getting chances.

Martyn Waghorn

Strengths:

  • Shooting
  • Set-pieces
  • Commitment

An excellent set piece taker and tireless worker, Waghorn is the perfect foil for Garner and they are a fine combination leading the attack for Ipswich. The forward usually drifts to both the right and left hand side and his direct running can often cause defenders problems. The former Leicester City man is Ipswich’s top goal-scorer with ten strikes to his name and has proved to be one of the bargains of the season – arriving from Rangers for a reported £250,000. His powerful left foot is a real danger from range and Rangers will have to be weary of giving him too much space around the edge of the box.

Callum Connolly

Strengths:

  • Tackling
  • Awareness
  • Positioning

The move from right back to the middle of the park has really given the Everton loanee a new lease of life. After failing to establish himself at right back the 20-year-old has hardly put a foot wrong in the middle of the park. In this position he’s effectively read the game as well as throwing himself into tackles and distributing the ball accurately. Connolly has also somewhat surprisingly netted three times in the last five matches but it’s his partnership in the middle of the park with Cole Skuse that has allowed Ipswich to flourish going forward in recent matches.