Preview QPR V Hull City. Can City get back on track at Loftus Road?

City travel to Loftus Road this afternoon looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season on Tuesday night. They were comfortably beaten by a very good Wolves side but they have had a reasonably positive start to the season and will be looking to get back on the horse at the first time of asking.

It’s certainly not been an easy few days for Leonid Slutsky. He has lost his star striker for 6 months, seemingly lost out on his top transfer target Kenneth Zohore and  has seen improved offers tabled for midfielder Sam Clucas. The Russian has a lot on his plate so a game of football may well be a welcome distraction for him and his team.

There are certain aspects of City’s game that will need to change today if they are to get anything from the game. Every player has to buy into the ethos Slutsky is trying to implement, they must track back as a team and not leave inexperienced defenders like Max Clark exposed as he was against Wolves. They also need to be clinical in front of goal because chances may be at a premium at one of the Championship’s toughest away grounds. Sam Clucas didn’t have his best game in midweek as he seems to have had his head turned by a potential move back to the Premier League. As long as City keep rejecting bids for him though Slutsky will expect him to perform as he is one of City’s most important players.

QPR also have four points from three games and began the season with an impressive home win over Norwich. Conor Washington scored both goals that day and City will need to be wary of him and fellow forward Jamie Mackie.

City have an impressive record against QPR and are unbeaten in their last 7 meetings with Ian Holloway’s side. They are without a win on the road in their last 19 attempts and Slutsky will be keen for that to change today.

Manager’s Views

Leonid Slutsky has backed his players to bounce back from their first defeat of the season, “Everything is good because we have a very strong character and a very good team, We have strong team leaders and a good core of players. This is important because it can help to change things quickly after losing on Tuesday. We will travel with a positive mood and all the things like injuries and losing a game will not break this team”.

He also appears to be aware of the dangers QPR will pose to his side, “QPR are a very good team and especially at home because of their specific stadium, pitch and atmosphere. They are a very dangerous team and it will be a tough match for us, but I know that will be the same with every game we play this season. I think this is why this league is very popular because it’s unpredictable every week”

QPR boss Ian Holloway wants his side to play the same way they have in their opening three games and is focussing on his own sides performance “Hull have just lost one of their best players in Abel Hernandez. Hopefully it’s not too serious for him because he is a very good player. But it’s all about us. Can we keep building our own style? It was evident again at Norwich. We dominated for spells in the game, particularly in the first half, and that’s what we want our identity to be”

“But that’s twice now where we have let a goal in right after the restart and we need to look at why that’s happening. We’ve got to make sure we are at it again, straight away.”

Team News

City’s defeat to Wolves was compounded by a couple of significant injuries. Star striker Abel Hernandez will be out for 6 months with a ruptured Achilles. Adama Diomande is likely to be the man tasked with filling the Uruguayan’s boots.

Norweigen midfielder Markus Henriksen also picked up an injury against Wolves. He sustained a foot injury that will see him set out the next 4-6 weeks. Kevin Stewart is still struggling with his ankle injury but could feature.

The hosts will be missing Grant Hall, Yeni Ngbakoto and Idrissa Sylla. They may also be without winger Pawel Wszolek who picked up a hamstring injury in midweek. He is likely to be replaced in the side by Brighton loanee Kazenga LuaLua.

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