Fulham V QPR at Craven Cottage : Match Preview
Warnock eyes first Cottage victory.
QPR boss Neil Warnock has declared he finally has a team capable of ending his Craven Cottage hoodoo ahead of Sunday's west London derby. Rangers make the short trip to Fulham this weekend for the first ever top-flight meeting between the neighbours, who have only squared off 27 times in more than a 100 years. Fifteen of those games have come at Craven Cottage, a stadium Warnock has visited himself eight times as a player and manager.
The 62-year-old has never won there but he believes his star-studded Rangers side are ready to change that in Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash. Warnock, who led QPR to the npower Championship title last season, said: "Last year, we broke one or two bad omens. "I've definitely never been to Fulham with a team like this." QPR are four points and seven places better off than winless Fulham, and Warnock added: "I can't see us not performing. "It'll be a good game because I think Fulham are a good team. "I think they're in a false position as well. "They'll be desperate to get a win over us and, likewise, I'm sure our fans are looking forward to it. "Chelsea coming up as well - it's fabulous for the supporters to have local derbies like that in London."
This season's QPR-Fulham games could be among the last to be played at Craven Cottage and Loftus Road, amid reports of the two clubs sharing a new stadium. Warnock said: "It's only a matter of time before both stadiums are bulldozed, unfortunately, because no clubs playing at the level that they're playing at can sustain that. "So I think it's something that'll be talked about."
QPR defender Armand Traore is supended for the derby clash following his red card against Aston Villa last weekend. Danny Gabbidon (knee) looks certain to miss out again while the game comes soon for the returning Jamie Mackie (broken leg). Fulham have received a huge boost ahead of the encounter with the news forwards Bobby Zamora and Mousa Dembele are both available after recovering from illness. The Cottagers will give Aaron Hughes (knee) a fitness test while Matthew Briggs (ankle) is also a doubt. Fulham boss Martin Jol is not worried by his side`s winless start to the season and is convinced they will start climbing the Premier League table once they improve their goalscoring form.
Fulham are hovering just above the relegation zone after failing to win any of their opening six league games. Jol's men are currently the only top-flight side yet to win this term, but they have picked up four points thanks to draws against West Brom, Chelsea, Manchester City and Blackburn. Thursday night's 2-0 win against Odense BK in Denmark has left the Cottagers boss in an upbeat mood ahead of Sunday's west London derby and he is convinced his team will start winning league games soon. Speaking on Friday, an upbeat Jol said:
"Today is great. We have sunny weather, it's a nice atmosphere in Fulham, the people are relaxed and we had a nice win (against Odense). Life is great. I'm totally enjoying it "I don't think there is a big concern because we have got a lot of draws and we should have won two or three games. "It's not a disaster. We have had five draws on the trot and we could have win three easily." One glance at the table reveals the reason behind Fulham's poor start to the season - a lack of goals. Jol's men have scored a measly four times in the league this term. Andrew Johnson is the only marksman who has scored on a regular basis, but each of his six goals have come in the Europa League. Johnson scored both goals in Thursday night's win and Jol now hopes others can repeat his efforts in the league.
"Last week at West Brom in the first half we had 60% possession away from home and we created four or five chances but we couldn't put them away," Jol continued. "That's probably the biggest worry. "The only thing is that you have to score goals. "That didn't happen so there is no real place for concern but we need the players to put the ball away. "Andy Johnson solved that on Thursday so hopefully other players will do the same in the future." Aiming to score goals for the opposition on Sunday will be a man who Jol knows well - Adel Taarabt. Taarabt was coming through the ranks at Tottenham while Jol was manager at White Hart Lane. "He is capable of doing anything in the game and if you are looking for a number 10 then he is a number 10," Jol said.
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