Barnsley will look to get a crucial three points on the board this weekend, as we travel to West London to face Queens Park Rangers.
The Reds are bolstered by Paul Heckingbottom’s deadline day recruitment of Matt Mills, Oli McBurnie and Christoph Knasmullner and are looking to register their first win since the New Year’s Day victory at Sunderland.
Ian Holloway’s QPR side sit in 17th, six points ahead of the Reds and picked up two wins and two defeats from their Sky Bet Championship matches in January.
Seeking to close the gap at Loftus Road, Hecky’s Reds will be out to rekindle their league form after successive 3-1 losses to Fulham and Aston Villa.
Queens Park Rangers have been in their current spell in the second tier since 2015. Having dropped out of the top flight in 1996, the Hoops returned to the Premier League in 2011. After initially staying up, QPR propped up the league the following season but then won the play-offs in 2013/14. A season followed in which the side only won four league games, and have since managed finishes of 12th and 18th in the Championship.
QPR are looking to make their league form more consistent before a predicted play-off push next season. Whilst not yet out of the woods, Ian Holloway’s men should comfortably have enough to avoid the drop and can then start to rebuild.
The Hoops finished as top division runners-up in 1976, and reached the 1982 FA Cup final where they were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur. They do have a League Cup title to their name, triumphed in 1967 and they made the final in 1986. Their most recent success saw them crowned Championship title winners in 2011, sealing their return to the Premier League.
Ian Holloway has a number of experienced Championship players at his disposal. Former Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies dons the gloves for the Hoops, with Jake Bidwell and Darnell Furlong recently deployed as wing-backs. Ex-Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha is often at the back with Jack Robinson, Rangers also possessing Joel Lynch and Alex Baptiste.
Luke Freeman, scorer of QPR’s late leveller at Oakwell in September, currently stands on nine assists, jointly leading the goal-providing table. He is likely to be joined by former Reds man Josh Scowen, who made the switch from Barnsley to Loftus Road last summer. Australian international Massimo Luongo and Polish wide man Pawel Wszolek could start, with Jamie Mackie out after back surgery.
QPR’s forward selection consists of players such as Northern Irishman Conor Washington and top league scorer Matt Smith. Other options include last season’s top marksman Idrissa Sylla, Ryan Manning and Bright Osayi-Samuel, who last year netted a heartbreaking late winner for Blackpool at Oakwell in the FA Cup. Youngster Aramide Oteh began last weekend’s defeat to Bristol City, and could be in contention for another starting berth.
In The Dugout
If you like your football, you will be no stranger to Ian Holloway. The eccentric and entertaining character returned to Loftus Road in November 2016 after the departure of Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, to the club he had previously played for over a five-year period and also managed between 2001 and 2006.
The Gloucestershire-born manager was a midfielder in his playing days, gaining cult status over three stints with local club Bristol Rovers. Holloway took a player-manager role between 1996 and 1999 at the side before managing full-time and then moving to QPR, and has also taken the reins at Leicester, Crystal Palace and guided Blackpool to their Premier League debut in 2010. Joining Holloway in the QPR dugout are Curtis Fleming and Marc Bircham.
QPR are somewhat of a bogey-team for Barnsley, particularly away from home. In fact, the Reds can double their total tally of wins on Hoops turf with three points on Saturday afternoon, having only won on their travels the once, remarkably a 5-0 thrashing in January 1950, the same year they smashed the Hoops 7-0 at Oakwell.
Rangers have won the last 10 Loftus Road meetings between the sides.
The Reds have a total of 15 wins against the Londoners, drawing 11 and losing 27 – a catalyst to improve the record with an important victory.