Pr: Hull City vs QPR
Whenever Hull City play QPR, I’m reminded of a few standout moments; the petulance of Adel Taarabt motioning to the bench to be subbed off because he was being bullied by James Harper, James Chester getting the better of Rio Ferdinand to score the winner on the opening day of the 2014/15 season, watching Joey Barton look dejected time and time again.
And so in what feels like yet another important game, Hull City face off against the R’s in the hopes of starting the season strongly. Last week’s brilliant 4-1 win over Preston was unexpected but most welcome and even Grant McCann will probably admit he didn’t see it coming. Ignoring the dressed up pre-season friendly that is the first round of the League Cup (which City lost on penalties), City couldn’t have asked for a better start and plenty of players got minutes into their legs, with KLP looking particularly sharp with two goals in two games already.
QPR started the season off with a 1 – 1 draw away at Millwall, a game that saw two fantastic strikes; the equaliser from defender Rob Dickie was particularly impressive. Then, like City, they faced a penalty shootout against lower league opposition, but they were able to overcome Leyton Orient and go through to the next round.
At this stage of the season, it tends to be difficult to gauge just how influential opposition players can be, but that’s certainly not the case with Mark Warburton’s side. He likes to play a 3-4-1-2 formation, with two wing-backs pushing forward to support the forward line. Goalkeeper Seny Dieng has been linked with Premier League clubs and the Senegal international kept 11 clean sheets in his debut season for QPR. City fans will be familiar with Moses Odubajo and Jordy De Wijs in that defence, while former Fulham midfielder Stefan Johansen is known for his calming influence in the middle of the park. Chris Willock, brother of Arsenal attacker Joe, plays a roaming number 10 role and brings pace and guile to the forward line. Playing in front of him is probably the most dangerous forward line in the Championship in Charlie Austin and Lyndon Dykes, so a start like the one at Preston can’t be on the menu for City on Saturday, else they’ll be punished badly.
I’ll be blunt, this is going to be a good game, a really, really good game. Both teams have attacking talent in abundance, and it’ll be finely poised for either team to take the spoils. It’s a game City can win, without question, but they’ll have to be on guard and strike a balance between attacking play and consolidation in possession.
Player to watch: Ilias Chair: The newly christened Morocco international has scored against the Tigers before, but he has had to tussle for a place with former Arsenal and Benfica attacker Chris Willock. On his day, the Belgian born number 10 is unplayable and can score from distance or spot a pass at will. A real threat.
QPR Team News
Jordy De Wijs and Sam Field face fitness tests having missed the League Cup game against Leyton Orient with an illness.
Hull City Team News
Honeyman, as he was last week, is out. Mallik Wilks picked up a calf injury after a horror tackle in the Preston game. Randell Williams, Tommy Mayer and Ryan Longman are available after recovering from Covid. Matt Ingram should continue in goal against his former club, while Callum Elder could be welcomed back after picking up an injury in pre season.
Predicted Hull City XI: Ingram, Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Elder, Smallwood, Docherty, Moncur, KLP, Longman, Magennis.
Reported by: Tom Haymes (Hull City OSC)
Predicted score – Hull City 2 – 1 QPR