It seems like an age since the Owls’ five-star performance against Southampton, but Wednesday get back to action this weekend hoping to have a better time in London than the England national side.
Brian Laws’ men are in top form ahead of the clash and have had a decent record at Loftus Road of late – but it will be a tougher challenge against QPR than in previous weeks, with a new manager and new players in the blue and white hoops.
Brian Laws told the Sheffield Star:
‘Everybody wants to play in the team; those in the team are working hard to try to stay in; and those outside it are working to stake their claim and show that they can come in an do a job if they are required.
‘That can only be good for the club. There were some exceptional performances the other day against Hull, who have spent a fair bit of money and have a strong squad.
‘Our squad is in great nick.
‘Our players are saying the atmosphere in the dressing room is the best it’s been for years; that’s something I love to hear. It’s one of the vital cogs in our wheel.
‘They can’t wait for the next game. It’s all very encouraging to hear. Training has been top drawer.’
Luigi De Canio told the official QPR site:
‘Sheffield Wednesday are in a splendid run of form at present and will represent a tough test.
‘They are in optimum condition and will provide us with a very hard obstacle to overcome.’
QPR Team News:
De Canio is likely to hand a debut to new loan signing Bob Malcolm, who joins the R’s from Derby County, and is likely to fill in for broken leg victim Martin Cranie.
Former Southampton striker Dexter Blackstock could also be brought back in to the squad after a number of weeks on the sidelines after coming through the midweek reserve clash unscathed.
Butt Simon Walton is still a few weeks away from returning to first team action.
Player to watch: Scott Sinclair
The Chelsea winger was a massive hit with Championship rivals Plymouth Arglye last season and the youngster is hoping to continue his progression with the R’s. Will be a big test for Owls’ right-back Frank Simek.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Laws is set to stick with the same eleven that crushed Southampton in their last outing, should midfielder Glenn Whelan overcome a hip injury picked up in the midweek Republic of Ireland B international against Scotland.
Should Whelan not pass fit, Kenny Lunt and Yoann Folly – both listed for loan moves – will both be waiting in the wings to fill in.
Striker Akpo Sodje is set to get the nod again after putting in a top-notch performance with two goals against the Saints, while Wade Small and Etienne Esajas will also be pushing for recalls.
Player to watch: Akpo Sodje
The in-form Owls striker has become a key cog in Laws’ team, having blasted two by the Saints last time out and also bagging in the Owls’ 2-1 victory at Plymouth not long back.
Match Facts & Stats
QPR wins: 17
Wednesday wins: 25
Last Time Out:
QPR 1-1 Wednesday
Loftus Road, 10 March 2007
Chris Brunt’s strike just before the hour mark looked to put the Owls on course for all three points before a Martin Rowlands spot kick rescued a point for the R’s.
QPR: Camp, Timoska, Stewart, Mancienne, Barker, Rowlands (Ainsworth 86), Bolder (Rehman 90), Buzsaky, Leigertwood, Sinclair, Vine (Sahar 90). Subs Not Used: Cole, Nardiello.
Wednesday: Grant, Hinds, Simek, Michael Johnson (Beevers 87), Spurr, Whelan, Watson, Jermaine Johnson (Small 76), O’Brien, Tudgay, Sodje (Burton 71). Subs Not Used: Esajas, Folly.
V Barnsley (H) – 27/11/07
V Colchester United (H) – 01/12/07