This weekend sees Alex Neil’s men face Mark Warburton’s QPR side who haven’t won at Deepdale since February 1980.
Just over 40 years on, and this will prove to be a massive game for North End who look to get back on track from their previous 2 games which have both ended in defeat.
But that form is nothing to be panicking over, with the defeats being somewhat expected. Most would have expected the results considering we were facing 1st and 3rd in the league whilst being away from home on both occasions.
Nevertheless, Alex Neil will know how important it is to get the winning feeling back amongst the camp whilst currently still sitting in the play-off positions, 2 points ahead of 7th placed Bristol City.
North End will be looking to bounce back after their defeat at the hands of Fulham. The game looked comfortable for North End in the first 30 minutes with the away side having the majority of the chances and should have been ahead going into the interval.
But we were left to rue those missed chances as Fulham pretty much completely dominated the second half limiting North End to minimal chances and taking their own when they came along.
A David Nugent own goal from a corner plus a late goal to seal the win from Aboubakar Kamara proved to be the difference in the capital as North End returned to Lancashire with nothing to show for their first-half efforts. However, we’re still sitting in 6th with an advantage over the chasing pack.
QPR, on the other hand, have dropped off in recent weeks away from the chasing pack and sit in 14th, but are still only 9 points behind us. With there always being a team that comes from absolutely nowhere with 10 or so games to go and manage to finish in the play-off positions, it’d be foolish to rule any team out considering the unpredictability of the league this season.
QPR go into the encounter at Deepdale 5 matches unbeaten with their last defeat coming away at Huddersfield early last month. During the 5 game period, they have picked up draws against Swansea, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham as well as picking up 3 points against struggling Stoke and Derby.
With a few winnable fixtures coming up for the London-based side after Saturday’s game, they will be keen to head back down south with all 3 points to extend their run and to try and build some momentum.
One of the two players who I have picked out for the potential dangers in the QPR side is a player the North End faithful already know very well, Jordan Hugill.
After leaving Deepdale on transfer deadline day in January 2018, Hugill followed his Premier League dream with a move to West Ham United for a reported £10 Million. The target man only managed 3 appearances for the Hammers and has since been loaned to Middlesbrough where he scored 6 goals in 37 appearances, before moving to QPR on loan this season.
So far in his loan spell, he’s notched 11 goals in 34 appearances despite suffering from a few injuries.
He was at Deepdale for 4 years, despite having loan spells to Tranmere and Hartlepool during that time, but North End know of the quality he possesses on his day. There’s no doubt he’ll prove a handful for our centre-halves, Ben Davies and Patrick Bauer.
The second player I would pick out as a potential danger is Eberechi Eze. The 21-year-old made his professional breakthrough with QPR after coming through the ranks with Millwall but being released in 2016 after 2 years with the Lions.
Eze became a regular in the QPR side under Ian Holloway in the second half of the 2017/18 season, and when Steve McClaren came in to replace Holloway, it was clear Eze was a big part of his plans. Eze managed 4 games in the 18/19 season, contributing 4 goals.
But this season, he has really started to show his potential, showing the league week-in, week-out what he can do and what he’s capable of. He’s made 34 appearances so far with 11 goals to show for his efforts.
But his trickery, passing ability and now goal contribution, is something that shows he is thriving under Mark Warburton and will be a danger to us come Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, there’s no opposition view this week as we couldn’t find a Queens Park Rangers fan to give us a rundown of their season and what they expect from the game.
So, a slightly shorter piece for you all this week. Hopefully, you enjoy it all the same!
There is no doubt that this will be a tough game for North End who are probably still considered out of form having not scored in 3 of our last 4 games. However, saying that, I can see Alex Neil getting a reaction out of his players and based on his comments in his pre-match interview on Thursday morning.
I can see us having a fast start like the Fulham game on Saturday. Hopefully, there will be an early goal to show.
I can see us also making a few changes to the team as we have been very slow in attack as of late. I also believe it’s time for Jayden Stockley.
I think he deserves a run in the side and the chance to start up top after his impressive performance from the bench last time we played at home against Hull.
I also think we need more of a defensive-minded midfielder in the centre of the park to make up for the loss of Ben Pearson who has been confirmed to be missing for around a month. Who will come in for Pearo though, I’m not sure. As was said on this week’s episode of the From the Finney podcast, we don’t have anyone like Ben who can play like he does.
For a score prediction, I think we will run out comfortable 3-0 winners with Daniel Johnson, Alan Browne and Jayden Stockley getting on the scoresheet.
As for a starting XI, I’d personally like to see: Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Hughes; Ledson, Browne; Sinclair, Johnson, Barkhuizen; Stockley. Ultimately though, who knows?
This would provide us with pace at the top end of the pitch as well as a different type of option with a target man up top much like QPR are going to have in the form of Hugill. But hopefully, we have enough, even with the big loss of Ben Pearson, to grab what would be a massive 3 points on Saturday afternoon and keep us on track for a finish in the top 6.
Finally, if you haven’t yet listened to this week’s episode of the From the Finney podcast or our latest episode of From the Finney Meets… check them both out below.
From the Finney Meets… Andrew Lonergan 👇🏻
Episode #34 // From the Finney Podcast 👇🏻