As the Championship mercifully rolls into its final few weeks, Queens Park Rangers make the not too far journey to Bedfordshire, to face a Luton Town side fighting for their second- tier life.
Luton sit 23rd in the table, but only two points of Charlton in 21st and a win on Tuesday night would give them a great deal of hope, especially when you factor in Wigan still have a 12-point deduction to come for entering administration.
Their West London visitors come into the game in 16th place, a familiar position for R’s fans like me, and look to be virtually safe with eight points between them and Hull, who occupy the final relegation place, but a win at Kenilworth Road could guarantee Rangers place in the Championship for next year.
When and Where
The game will be played at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday 14th July, kicking off at 7:45pm.
While sadly none will be able to attend on Tuesday, it would be an understatement to say the fans of these two sides do not like each other. Over the course of the 97 competitive matches these two have played through history, there have been numerous occasions where it’s got, let’s just say a bit feisty, dating back to clashes between the two club’s hooligan firms in the 80s.
Thankfully, it didn’t kick off when these two teams played each at Loftus Road in September, when QPR came out 3-2 victors thanks to a goal from Ebere Eze and a Nahki Wells double, I really miss that little Bermudan. That was the Hoops 38th win overall, while the Hatters lag behind on 31.
Before then you have to travel back to 2007 for their last meeting, due to some comedy ownership at Luton; which saw them take a trip all the way down to the Conference and back up, when R’s legend Paul Furlong headed home an injury time winner in another 3-2 victory, which all but started Luton’s fall from grace.
Izzy Brown is “touch and go” on whether he will play again this season according to Hatters boss Nathan Jones, the 23- year old, who is one of the thousand of Chelsea players out on loan, limped off against Reading earlier this month; and has missed the last two games against Barnsley and Huddersfield.
R’s fans will remember Kazenga LuaLua, although I’m sure you’d rather forget him, who spent time on loan at Loftus Road a few years ago. The flippy forward is now on-loan at Luton and came on from the bench in their last game for his first appearance since football re-started.
Jordan Hugill remains doubtful for QPR, after the striker suffered a hamstring injury in the process of scoring against Middlesbrough a few games ago. This leaves Rangers with the option of either starting youngster Aramide Oteh up front, or converting winger Bright Osayi- Samuel into the striker position.
(W) 2-0 v Huddersfield
(D) 1-1 v Barnsley
(L) 5-0 v Reading
(D) 1-1 v Leeds
(W) 1-0 v Swansea
A 5-0 defeat to Reading at the start of July, made it look like it was all over for Nathan Jones’ men. Four goals from Yakou Meite and one from George Puscas secured the win for the Berkshire outfit and left Luton five points adrift at the bottom of the table. Matters weren’t helped in their next game, a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Barnsley, but a 2-0 win away at Huddersfield last weekend may have handed them a lifeline. Sitting just two points from safety and with Hull still to play, who are in great danger themselves, Luton might just do it and to be honest if you look at their results since the restart, Reading aside, they deserve to with after an impressive win over play-off chasing Swansea and a 1-1 draw with league leaders Leeds.
(L) 3-0 v Sheffield Wednesday
(L) 1-0 v Wigan
(W) 1-0 v Middlesbrough
(L) 2-1 v Fulham
(L) 1-0 v Charlton
For the many fans of my work, I know there’s lots of you out there, you’ll know the last preview I did for QPR was the game against Charlton. While at that point Rangers had lost their first game back against bottom of the table Barnsley, I remained optimistic. I should have known better. Since that preview, the R’s have lost that game to Charlton, lost to West London rivals Fulham, lost to the mess that is current day Wigan Athletic and worst of all lost 3-0 to Sheffield Wednesday. Yes, these losses were broken up by QPR winning their first and probably last ever game on my birthday against Middlesbrough, but I thought I was supposed to enjoy the return of football. Luckily for the Hoops the win at the Riverside is probably enough to keep them safe from relegation, and even luckier for me there’s only three games left of this season.
Normally I would have gone for a QPR win here, but Luton’s win over Huddersfield, which may have given them a new lease of life, and QPR’s determination to limp over the finish line has made me rethink. The Hatters have had some good results as of late and will be gunning for Rangers here. However, if players such as Eze and Osayi- Samuel can find their form from before the stoppage then the Hoops should walk out of Luton with all three points. So, because I’m uncertain I will take the easy way out and go for a draw.
Prediction: Luton 1-1 QPR
Match Preview written by Jamie Perry.