Big match preview: QPR v Ipswich Town - everything you need to know
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Ipswich Town face QPR, at Loftus Road, in a Championship match today. STUART WATSON brings you quotes, stats, team news, odds and a prediction.
There was a mutual admiration society as Mick McCarthy and Ian Holloway prepared to do battle this week.
The pair are in an exclusive club of managers who have won promotion to the Premier League with two different clubs.
‘Big Mick’, the straight-talking Yorkshireman, has done it with Sunderland (2005) and Wolves (2009). ‘Ollie’, the eccentric Bristolian, managed the feat with Blackpool (2010) and Crystal Palace (2014).
Ipswich Town and QPR may have been in relegation battles last season, but have started this season with renewed vigour. It’s testament to the duo’s durability in the most ruthless of businesses.
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Holloway was the first to launch a staunch defence of McCarthy during the dark winter months of 2016/17, manically finger-pointing at his post-match press conference at Portman Road and telling anyone and everyone to ‘be careful what you wish for’.
“I was made aware of that and was very appreciative of it,” said McCarthy. “He knows how hard the job is. He knows what it’s like when you aren’t spending millions. The pair of us have crossed swords many times and have a lot of respect for each other because we keep doing the job and enjoy it.
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“Ollie is as good as anybody at getting a team organised, making them a threat and generating a good atmosphere. He just gets on with it and makes a competitive team wherever he goes.”
Holloway, whose side have beaten promotion-hopefuls Reading and Hull at home in a difficult set of opening fixtures, said yesterday: “Why would anybody be surprised that Mick McCarthy, who has won this division twice, has got his team near the top? You don’t get anything against Ipswich unless you match the honesty and hard work that Mick gets out of them.”
With Town looking to get back to winning ways after a comprehensive 2-0 home defeat to Fulham prior to the international break, McCarthy said: “They have got the advantage of Loftus Road which is a tight stadium. I can’t think of anybody who likes going there.”
And having missed out on the manager-of-the-month award to Cardiff boss Neil Warnock, another with multiple promotions on his CV, McCarthy said: “Warny couldn’t not get it. Hopefully it means we’ve dodged that so-called manger-of-the-month curse!”
Team name: Queens Park Rangers
Nickname: The R’s / Hoops
Manager: Ian Holloway (Nov 2016: P38 W13 D4 L21)
Ground: Loftus Road
Key summer signings: Josh Scowen, Kazenga LuaLua, Alex Baptiste, David Wheeler, Bright Osayi-Samuel
Top-scorer 16/17: Idrissa Sylla (10)
Most apps 16/17: Alex Smithies, Nedum Onuoha (46)
Last result: L 2-1 at Cardiff City
Finished last season: 18th in Championship
100 - Years since QPR’s first fixture at Loftus Road
2010 - Town’s last win at QPR. They’ve lost their last four visits since then.
2 – Town have won just two of their 12 post international break games under Mick McCarthy (W2 D5 L5)
Ipswich Town team news
• Tom Adeyemi could make his long-awaited Town debut after finally overcoming illness and a calf strain. The summer signing from Cardiff made two appearances for the Under-23s over the international break and says he is raring to go.
• Versatile defender Callum Connolly, the 19-year-old signed on loan from Everton on transfer deadline day, goes straight into the squad. McCarthy says he has impressed in training.
• Luke Chambers (ankle), Tommy Smith (hamstring), Adam Webster (ankle), Luke Hyam (knee), Teddy Bishop (groin) and Andre Dozzell (knee) remain sidelined. Chambers is pushing for a return next weekend.
• Tristan Nydam and Flynn Downes made their England Under-19 debuts last Friday and Tuesday respectively. Nydam was kicked in a 7-1 win over Poland (at St George’s Park) and is unavailable today, while Downes played an hour of a 3-1 defeat to Germany (at Mansfield) in midweek.
QPR team news
• Ian Holloway has played a variety of formations this season ranging from wing-backs, to a diamond midfield to an ultra-attacking 4-3-3.
• He too is short of options at the back with James Perch, Joel Lynch and Grant Hall all injured. Midfielder Jordan Cousins is also out.
• David Wheeler (Exeter, £500k) and teenager Bright Osayi-Samuel (Blackpool, undisclosed) – both wingers – joined on transfer deadline day and could make their debuts.
Phil Spencer (Get West London) said: “The Hoops were handed a particularly difficult opening run of fixtures, but have managed to pick up positive results against the likes of Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Hull.
“Josh Scowen, Luke Freeman (above) and Massimo Luongo have formed an excellent unit in midfield. The team looks stronger, fitter and more tactically astute this time around
“While I fully expect QPR to threaten, I feel that the Tractor Boys will cause problems for a lightweight Hoops defence, meaning goals are almost guaranteed.”
Prediction: 2-2 (@PhilSpenc23)
QPR (1/1) Draw (11/4) Ipswich (16/5)
Andy Davies (Hampshire)
Games: 4, Yellows: 13, Reds: 0
Date: January 2, 2017
Tom Lawrence’s swerving wonder strike (48) counted for nothing as Town conceded two soft goals, Idrissa Sylla taking advantage of a poorly defended throw-in (30) and Adam Webster misjudging a high ball for Pawel Wszolek to score (83).
The travelling Blues fans voiced their ire when Mick McCarthy chose to bring on Jonathan Douglas ahead of Andre Dozzell when the score was 1-1.
QPR 2 Ipswich Town 1
I hate to be pessimistic, but the R’s have beaten promotion hopefuls Reading and Hull at home and gave high-flying Cardiff a good game prior to the international break. Their midfield looks strong.
Town rode their luck at times in all four opening league wins and were comprehensively beaten by Fulham. They need players back soon.