By Alex Bullamore
Tomorrow QPR play their third game in the space of seven days against local rivals Brentford. Some people look forward to these games, I don’t and I never really have. Back when we were more competitive against Brentford I hated it even then, 90 minutes of nerves with me simply wanting QPR to avoid a loss and get the game done. So forgive me for not being too optimistic here but I’m not expecting much from this encounter. Recent matches against our neighbours have been less that enjoyable from our point of view and tomorrow I see a familiar trend continuing. I’ve been to or seen on the tv all but one of our recent clashes with Brentford, apart from two wins and one last minute goal to earn a draw all the games have been highly disappointing defeats.
Going into tomorrow’s game we have a QPR team who’ve gone from being competitive and at times dominant against Watford, to being brilliant against Rotherham in the first half, and then shocking in the second. Brentford on the other hand have ended their run of three games without a win with a win over Barnsley which I’m sure banished some bad memories from the final day of last season. When you look at the table you may think this could be a competitive game, but the table is radically different from QPR’s point of view from Tuesday. Before kicking off against Rotherham we were languishing in 18th, now we’re up in 13th and only 5 points off the play offs, not that at this stage that really matters.
Brentford have made a better start to this season than last according to the table with their current position of 9th mainly down to the form of Ivan Toney who is the division’s second top goal scorer. And that is oh so comforting for R’s fans isn’t it, especially considering our second half display against Rotherham which by all accounts was woeful and the fact that we just love to concede stupid avoidable goals. Think back to Barnsley away with Barbet’s own goal, Watford at home conceding in the 3rd minute from a corner and both of Rotherham’s goals on Tuesday. As with many of our games you can guarantee that if we win, we would have scored at least 3 goals so it might be an entertaining game.
Chances are sadly it probably won’t be and I would loved to be proven wrong, I think about the selection for the Watford game. The white flag was being waved before our lads even got on to the pitch, and in the end they were unlucky not to come away with a win. However tomorrow seems to be a game in which someone is conspiring against us. Like the fact that it takes place on a Friday, and as the fantastic Jack Supple (@JTSupple) pointed out QPR have only won once on a Friday in our last 19 matches. Add in that it’s behind closed doors, live on Sky and against Brentford and you have literally the worse circumstances for this QPR team to play under.
So what could we do to change our fortunes and pull off a win. Well I think at the very least we need an identical start to the one we had on Tuesday night, attack them early and hopefully catch them off guard. Key to this will be Bright Osayi-Samuel, in the past he has terrorised Rico Henry specifically last season at home if he can replicate his performance from Tuesday night then that’s a good start. You can also guarantee Brentford will take their chances and they will get plenty of them to. So fairly simply if we are on top at any point in the game then we have got to score. This sounds simple and no it is not groundbreaking analysis but it is something we have at times failed to do.
I would like to see a starting 11 not too dissimilar to the one which started against Watford although that may not be possible due to injuries to Barbet and Masterson. Warburton was quoted saying that it was like “emergency ward 10” at QPR right now, referring to all 3 of our centre backs being injured in one way or another. Barbet picked up a knock on his foot after a last ditch slide, Masterson has a broken nose and Dickie has an ankle issue. What I hope is that Warburton is playing his cards close to his chest, earlier in the week the club was hopeful that Dickie would be fit for this match. Also Barbet only has a knock and I’m guessing that when you have limited options, a player with a knock just has to play. I’m not keen on an overworked Cameron playing alongside an out of position Dom Ball at CB, we need them playing where they are most effective.
Kane starting I think is a must after his impressive performances recently and Kakay being rather suspect against Rotherham. Willock performed well on Tuesday and Dom Ball is again proving his worth by playing in different midfield roles and making a success of it. Also you have to think about Cameron still playing at the ripe old age of 35, could he really play 3 games in 7 days? So it’s likely that Carroll returns to the side and plays next to Ball at the base of the midfield. Warburton has done well to rotate the team and I hope he continues to rotate it with the success he’s found this week. It will mean that Carroll, BOS, Dykes, Adomah and Kane can make better impacts in the games they do feature in.
So going into tomorrow I’m not confident of the win, unfortunately it’s just doesn’t feel like it will happen. But that’s for us fans to feel and believe not for the players, they cannot afford to play like they did last year at Griffin Park. They have to believe that they can win because believe it or not we have actually beaten Brentford before. I want our lads to understand that it is only Brentford, there is a reason that they are also in this league. As much as their fans might proclaim otherwise they do not deserve to be in the league above no one is entitled to that you have to earn it. So for goodness sake go out there tomorrow and at the very least match them for effort and put up a fight.