WBA-MAD Preview: QPR vs Albion
Joseph Chapman analyses Albion's FA Cup tie
Queens Park Rangers will be hoping it will be third time lucky when West Brom travel to Loftus Road once again in the FA cup.
The Baggies have completed the league double over the Hoops, after winning 3-2 at the Hawthorns in October, before controversially taking all three points from the forthcoming venue on Boxing Day prevailing 2-1.
However, Albion have suffered back to back defeats since, losing to Manchester United and then Fulham on New Year's Day. Rangers on the other hand were on the end of a 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool recently, only to go and produce one of the results of the season at Chelsea. They claimed a 1-0 win at their neighbours on Wednesday, only their second league win of the season and their first away win in all competitions.
Despite this being a big boost to their survival hopes, it remains to be seen how seriously Harry Redknapp will be taking the competition, with Premier League safety the primary aim. The chance of winning back-to-back matches and producing a general boost for morale around the club is, however, something that must be considered.
Albion boss Steve Clarke stated at the beginning of the season that he would be looking for his team to progress as far as they can in the cup. With his side sitting comfortably on 33 points by the turn of the year, there may well be a 'what have we got to lose?' approach by the modest Scot.
After requiring a substitute early into the Chelsea match recently, Junior Hoilett is a doubt for the tie. Park Ji Sung made his return from a lengthy injury-related absence, and alongside recalled DJ Campbell and new signing Tal Ben Haim, could feature. Although Adel Taarabt is staying at home, Samba Diakite is going to the AFCON.
Steve Clarke hopes to welcome back some key players over the next couple of weeks. Claudio Yacob, Goran Popov and Jonas Olsson and Steven Reid are all unavailable, but Clarke is hoping they will make their returns in the coming weeks. Youssouf Mulumbu makes his farewell appearance before flying off to the African Cup of Nations.
Both Redknapp and Clarke are expected to make a number of changes.
Match StatsBoth teams got as far as the fourth round last year – Rangers losing to Chelsea and Albion being knocked out by Norwich. The only meeting between the two sides in the FA cup was in 1983, the Baggies prevailing at the Hawthorns 3-2. QPR have only beaten Albion once in the last 10 meetings between the two clubs. A name that relates to both teams: Rob Hulse
I can see this going to a replay. I think Rangers' squad is big enough for Redknapp to still put out a competitive side, even if his intentions aren't solely on the cup. Clarke still has multiple injuries (which I hope clear up for the trip to Reading next week!) but will once again be looking for a response after setbacks at Manchester United and Fulham.
Match score: 1-1 (WBA to win the replay 2-0).
Can Albion progress to the fourth round? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD
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