The Opposition: QPR

Last updated : 04 November 2007 By Simon Skinner
The Gameplan
This is a bit of a tricky one as we have a new manager, Luigi De Canio, at the helm. He is a bit of an unknown quantity, we have been told he likes his sides to play attractive attacking football. Being Italian I am also fairly confident that he will make us pretty tight at the back.

If he sticks to anything like Harford had us doing in the last few games expect a 4-4-2 with the first half being pretty cagey and the team opening up in the second. There has certainly been a lot more football played of late so I would like to think the new man will carry on in the same fashion.

In the last few games we have certainly tightened up defensively. One goal conceded in four, and that was a thirty yard volley!

Goals have come from all areas, albeit in small quantities. We have one player with two goals and another nine players with one each! Rowan Vine has certainly added some impetus to our attack and you can see why Phil Brown tried to take him to Hull. He is very direct with the ball at his feet and he has brought a new dimension to a team that was really struggling. It offers a different threat to a side that was playing a lot of long ball rubbish and looking to feed off the flicks and second balls under Gregory.

Rangers have struggled with set pieces for a couple of seasons now. Successive managers have adopted zonal marking at set pieces and unless you are AC Milan it is bloody difficult to get it right! Even now that system has been abandoned there still seems to be hesitancy if a decent corner or free kick from wide is fired in.

Skipper and former Hull man Adam Bolder seems weighed down with the burden of captaincy at the moment and if a midfielder can outmanoeuvre him then there will certainly be some joy there. He also gives the ball away too easily at times. Chris Barker at left back is slower than a London Routemaster bus so any pace wide right will have him struggling. Other than that things have looked pretty good in the last few games so it's tricky to pick anything else out.

Nobody is suspended but there are a few on the long term injured list. Simon Walton broke his leg during pre season and has yet to play a competitive game for the club as a result. Pat Kanyuka tore a thigh muscle at the end of last season and during summer rehab it tore away from the bone! Needless to say he had to have surgery and is still battling back. Dexter Blackstock developed a tear in his knee cartilage and had a tidy up a couple of weeks ago so he is still rehabbing.

Player by Player:
GK: Lee Camp - Superb shot stopper and a great kicker. Sometimes a bit shaky when coming off his line for crosses but certainly the best keeper we have had at the club for many a season.

RB: Michael Mancienne - England U21 defender who is a centre back by trade. Cool as a cucumber and with excellent pace. Sometimes his passing lets him down but defensively he is top class.

CB: Martin Cranie - Another England U21 defender who played at right back in the last two internationals. Recently came on loan from Pompey and has been superb in his four games. Reads the game well, rarely gets caught out and seems to jump more than his height.

CB: Damion Stewart - Stew Peas is a Jamaican international who was playing against England when Crouch bagged a hat-trick and debuted The Robot! Searing pace, he often has to use it as some poor positional play means he has to make a lot of recovery challenges! Decent in the air but should probably be more dominant than he is.

LB: Chris Barker - Having been excellent on loan at Colchester last season it is fair to say he has been fairly underwhelming so far. He was playing with a groin injury but that is now sorted so an improvement could be on the cards. Painfully slow!

RM: Martin Rowlands - Rowly works like a dog up and down the wing and can beat players both ways. Is an excellent finisher when the chance presents itself and usually deadly from the penalty spot, his miss at Charlton was his first for the club. Gets on most of the set pieces but that may change now due to the player below.

CM: Akos Buzsacky - The Hungarian midfielder joined this week on a two month loan prior to a permanent move from Plymouth in January. A genuine playmaker from the middle of the park, has quick feet, can shoot off either side and is top class on free kicks.

CM: Mikele Leigertwood - When the new money arrived at Rangers around £900k of it went to Sheffield United to secure Leigertwood's services. He was a bit shaky in his first few games but has really found his form now and is turning in some powerful, athletic displays. A decent short passer, he is far better when he keeps it simple, he also has a great engine and will run all day.

LM: Hogan Ephraim - Hogan is on loan from West Ham and whilst considered a striker by trade, he has been deployed on both the left and right wings. Blistering pace means he can take on any full back although his final ball needs work. He tends to some inside a lot when getting to the by-line might serve him better. A real box of tricks.

ST: Marc Nygaard - The Danish striker is a beast of a man. Standing 6'5" and looking like he has been hewn from granite he should be a menace. Should be. Sometimes he disappears for weeks at a time and then sometimes he turns in a top display like the one at Charlton. He has ability - a thirty yard volley at Leicester last season pays tribute to that - but often his touch lets him down and he has become a target for the more fickle amongst the R's fans.

ST: Rowan Vine - Vine, along with Cranie, has been the catalyst for the upturn in form in the last few games. He may have bagged just one goal in his five games but he has created countless chances for others with his direct running and close control. I fancy the cheque book will be out in January to make his loan from Birmingham a permanent deal.

Click here for full squad list

Courtesy of QPRnet's Simon Skinner