Queens Park Rangers' Likely Line Up Against Reading in Capital One Cup
The last time Queens Park Rangers played Reading, both were in the Championship, Rangers were flying high at the top of the table in their promotion season, and Damien Delaney was in the team. This time, the situation is a little different: both are one division higher, both languishing at the bottom of the table and both have yet to find a league win. But luckily, there is no sign of Damien Delaney.
The Capital One Cup is usually a chance for managers to rest their star players and give the reserves and academy a run out in a competitive game. But Mark Hughes doesn't really have a choice; Jose Bosingwa, Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore and Fabio da Silva are all still out due to minor injuries, and the luckless Andy Johnson is out for the foreseeable future.
Hughes will want to win this game. Judging by his last team selection versus Walsall, he seems to be taking this competition seriously. However, due to the number of injuries his team has already succumbed to, Hughes may not want to risk playing a full strength team.
So what will QPR's probable starting 11 look like?
GK: Rob Green
With Julio Cesar likely to be rested, Rob Green will be crying out for a game to prove to Hughes that he is still serious about challenging for that number one jersey or, if that fails, at least to prove to onlooking managers that he is worth a punt should he leave QPR in January.
In all honesty, I would like to see Brian Murphy handed a start, but with Reading being Premier League opposition, Hughes will probably give the nod to the more seasoned choice.
RB: Michael Harriman
Michael Harriman's first QPR appearance was in the League Cup last season, and with Bosingwa out, Harriman could well be given his first ever start.
Although Kieron Dyer played well at right-back against Spurs, Harriman looked promising in preseason, and Rs fans will be eager to see the young lad in action.
CB: Clint Hill
After a shaky start, Clint Hill is beginning to look like the player he was last season. Hill's experience will be an asset for Hughes, and so long as he keeps a sensible head on his shoulders, he should command the back line.
Once Ferdinand is back fighting fit, Hill will probably lose his spot in the team, but for now, he remains a solid pick for center-back.
CB: Stephane M'bia
Who? Oh yeah, that guy we signed from Marseille.
Stephane M'bia has been invisible since his move from the Ligue 1 side, mainly thanks to internationals and injuries, but he has been named as fit to play against Reading, which could be a great way to kick off his Rangers career.
M'bia was a highly rated defensive midfielder in his early career, but since joining Marseille he was repositioned to center-back and seems to thrive in that role. Hughes will most likely start him in that position on Wednesday, and his strength will be an added bonus to what is a threadbare defense.
LB: Nedum Onuoha
Nedum Onuoha performed well at left-back against Spurs and could well be asked to play there again against the Royals. His pace definitely aids him when it comes to playing as a full-back, and his versatility is one of the reasons Hughes signed him from his old club Manchester City.
Onuoha will be looking to challenge for a first team place this season, and he has already made a great claim for himself as a starting defender, so any games he can get under his belt will help him fight his corner.
RM: Kieron Dyer
Kieron Dyer excelled against Tottenham at right-back, but Hughes will more than likely move him into a position he is more comfortable with for the Reading game; especially as he looks to give some of his star players a rest.
Dyer hasn't started a game for Queens Park Rangers since last season, and that only lasted three minutes, but his near-on 90-minute appearance on Sunday proves that his match fitness is back on track.
CM: Alejandro Faurlin
It feels like Alejandro Faurlin has never been away, but he has actually only played two full Premier League games since his return from the knee injury he suffered in January. Faurlin will most likely get another run out against Reading, as not only have his performances been outstanding, but both he and Hughes will want him to get as many minutes as possible this season.
Faurlin will probably not play the full 90, but if he can take the game to Reading and leave QPR a couple of goals to the good, he can be substituted safely, and Rangers fans can breath a deep sigh of relief.
CM: Ji-Sung Park
A lot has been mentioned of Esteban Granero and Alejandro Faurlin so far this season, but while they have been hitting the headlines, Ji-Sung Park has been beavering away with some fine performances.
The captain will want to dominate the midfield, and his experience and attitude will be essential to keep Rangers in control.
LM: Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt has been M.I.A this season, having only played against Swansea City so far and then dropped after that game. In all fairness, he was called up to the Moroccan national team at the beginning of the month and was suffering from an injury last weekend, but Hughes admitted Taarabt needs to "bide his time" to reclaim his place in the first team. However, a cup match at home could well be the place for Taarabt to start forcing his way back in.
Having said that, Taarabt could well have fallen out of favor with the manager, as he seems to fall out of favor with managers a lot. So don't be surprised to see Park moved out to the left and Samba Diakite switched into central midfield.
ST: Junior Hoilett
Junior Hoilett started up front on Sunday, and although his finishing touch needs a little polishing, he looked aggressive and caused the Spurs' back line a lot of problems. He definitely did enough to warrant a strong shout for a place against Reading, and this could be a great game for Hoilett to get a goal or two under his belt and get off the mark for Rangers.
With Blackburn last season, Hoilett showed glimpses of what he could do, and he just needs to recapture that form he showed up north, down south.
ST: Djibril Cisse
Even if this were the Champions League Final and Queens Park Rangers were facing Barcelona, I would still champion Djibril Cisse for a start. Yes, he has looked a little off color, and Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson, Jamie Mackie and Junior Hoilett have all been ahead of him in the pecking order so far this season, but Cisse can always produce a little bit of magic.
The penalty miss against Norwich was his last real contribution to QPR's season so far (technically it was an assist), and since then, he has had to make do with substitute appearances. But Cisse is without a doubt a confidence player, and, as they say, confidence is key.
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