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Friday, March 20, 2009

Next: QPR vs Bristol City at Loftus Road

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QPR vs Bristol City

Next: QPR at home to promotion-chasing Bristol City (who have a great away record of 8 wins, 3 draws and 8 defeats. QPR's confidence meanwhile will have totally restored after their mid-week win.

- Bristol City Stats this season: Results, leading goalscorers, etc

- QPR vs Bristol City: Head to Head

Last Meeting: In August, Iain Dowie's QPR drew 1-1 at a then "recuperating" from not-winning-promotion, Bristol City. QPR had Ledesma sent off. QPR's team:Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Connolly, Delaney, Ledesma, Leigertwood, Mahon, Cook (Rowlands 54), Parejo (Agyemang 75), Blackstock.- Subs: Camp, Gorkss, Balanta.
- Bristol City vs QPR Match Reports and Dowie comments

- If you believe what pundits and Managers alike have to say, momentum is the key to any play-off charge, and tomorrow's visitors Bristol City have that component in abundance.
- As the clock ticks down to the business end of the Coca Cola Championship campaign, Gary Johnson's men - buoyed by a profitable run of results since their 4-2 win at Watford on Boxing Day - travel to W12 occupying eighth place in the division.
More importantly perhaps, they lie just four points adrift of the top-six, and having been here before at the same stage last season, few would be against the Robins gate-crashing the party in the final few weeks of the season.
- Last Sunday's 1-1 draw against fellow promotion hopefuls Cardiff City only served to heighten the expectation levels at Ashton Gate.
Nicky Maynard put City in front with a stunning drive from distance, only for Ross McCormack to hit back for the Bluebirds late on.
And Maynard - who has 10 league goals to his name in his first full season in the second tier - has called on his team-mates to start believing they have what it takes to book their place in the play-offs.
"I believe in myself, I believe in the team we've got here and I believe that we can make the play-offs still," Maynard told BBC Radio Bristol.
"The main thing is to get the points we need to get in the play-offs - that's my target for the moment."
Johnson echoed his star strikers' sentiments, commenting: "We're hanging on in there. We've got to be positive.
"We've got seven games left. We've got to go out to win them all and we're at our best when trying to go and win a game. Whatever happens, it's going to be a fantastic end to the season."
Whether Johnson sticks by that statement come ten to five tomorrow evening will probably be determined by the final scoreline - but win, lose or draw, the race for the top-six seems destined to go right to the very wire.
Team News
Skipper Louis Carey sits out the trip to W12 owing to a two-match suspension, whilst Gavin Williams (calf) is a major doubt for the Robins. QPR

- Bristol Evening Post - Know your opposition: QPR v Bristol City
- As managing director of Formula One team Renault, club co-owner Flavio Briatore has long subscribed to the theory that winning is everything.
So Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Swansea City at Loftus Road - QPR's first in nine Championship games - came just in the nick of time for first-team manager Paulo Sousa.
- Rangers have slid into mid-table since the turn of the year, naturally prompting speculation over Sousa's future.
He is the seventh manager to inhabit the warmest of hot seats since Ian Holloway departed just over three years ago and a failure to reach the play-offs, let alone secure promotion, is not likely to go down well with the club's hierarchy. Now seven points adrift of sixth place with seven games left, victory over Swansea at least allowed the London club to cling to their faint hopes. But anything less than three points from tomorrow's game against Bristol City will almost certainly signal the end of their play-off quest.
- "We have had a lot of criticism from outside the club and this win has been a long time coming," said Sousa, speaking in the aftermath of victory over the Swans, which dented the Welsh club's play-off hopes. Sousa must decide whether to retain a winning line-up or recall top scorer Dexter Blackstock and winger Wayne Routledge. - The pair were ruled out of Tuesday's game by injury but should be fit to face City.
- Rowan Vine is back in contention after recovering from the broken leg which has sidelined him for more than six months and was an unused substitute against Swansea. Bristol Evening Post

Bristol Evening Post - Bristol City can still control their own destiny, says Carey
- Louis Carey feels sure Bristol City's fate is still very much in their own hands.
Shrugging off the sense of despondency which descended upon Ashton Gate following Ross McCormack's last-gasp equaliser for Cardiff in Sunday's Sky-televised promotion clash at Ashton Gate, the long-serving captain sought to accentuate the positives.
Now four points and two places off the play-off zone with just seven games remaining, the Robins are in a position where they are relying upon other results going their way.
But Carey begs to differ and points to a series of fixtures against rival play-off contenders to make his point.
City still have to play Queens Park Rangers, Preston North End, Swansea, Ipswich and Burnley between now and the end of the season and Carey believes the fixture list improves the chances of he and his team-mates making the play-offs for a second year in succession.
- "Given the situation we are in, we want to be playing the teams around us in the table," argued the Bristolian.
"Winning those games will do us a massive favour and put pressure on our rivals. I know it's a cliche, but they really are six-pointers.
"Nottingham Forest are the only team we have to play who don't still have a chance of making the play-offs, so our fate is very much in our own hands.
"People will say we now need other teams to do us a favour, but I don't see it that way. If we win most of those games against our nearest rivals, we'll be there or thereabouts come the end."
He added: "A lot of the other play-off contenders still have to play one another and they'll be dropping points along the way.
"That will help us, providing we can win most of our games. We came on strong at the end of last season to reach the play-off final and we can definitely do it again."
Results elsewhere have certainly helped this week. One place beneath City in the table, Swansea lost their game in hand at QPR on Tuesday, while Crystal Palace lost at Barnsley and Ipswich and Burnley cancelled one another out.
"The play-off race goes all the way down to the teams in 11th and 12th place," said Carey.
"It's come down to a mini-league of about six or seven teams who are competing for the last couple of places and we have to make sure we win that league."
Victory over Queens Park Rangers in the capital tomorrow could potentially propel City back into the top six and will almost certainly end the London club's play-off challenge.
But Loftus Road has proved an especially unhappy hunting ground for the Robins and their captain in recent times. City have failed to win any of their last 10 games there and last beat Rangers away from home way back in 1977.
Carey has good reason to rue visits to west London.
He was injured when City last played at Loftus Road and watched from the stands as his team-mates crashed to a 3-0 defeat.
And he will again be consigned to a watching brief tomorrow, having incurred a two-match ban after accruing 10 yellow cards.
"I seem to be jinxed when it comes to games at QPR," joked Carey. "I ended up doing a radio commentary last season and it was a pretty painful afternoon.
"But this could be a better game to watch from our point of view. Although expectations are still high at QPR, I don't think they are the team they were last year.
"They've not had the best of runs since the turn of the year and have dropped down the table and out of contention.
"Although conceding a goal so late in the game against Cardiff was a real blow, we've been playing some good stuff and we're going into the next game in form."
Bristol Evening Post

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