Match Preview: Queens Park Rangers vs. Sheffield United

Last updated : 06 January 2010 By @blades_mad1889

queens park rangers vs. sheffield united - fa cup third round replay
The previous two fixtures between the two teams both ended 1-1 in both the Coca-Cola Championship and the FA Cup; Richard Cresswell was the hero in both fixtures at Loftus Road and Bramall Lane - finding the net in each of the two games.

The League fixture at Loftus Road on 19th December was always going to be an uneasy encounter at Loftus Road with the Hoops blowing hot and cold recently as well as appointing a new manager in the form of Paul Hart. And his new leadership obviously rubbed off on the shoulders of the QPR faithful as Mikele Leigertwood opened the scoring within 88 seconds.

A half hearted Clearance fell to the former Blades midfielder on the edge of the box and his low drive took a slight deflection as it spun past Mark Bunn and into the net; ten games ago that would have been game set and match for a United team with little faith but they have a new assurgency and made it seven games unbeaten when Richard Cresswell (8) tucked home Toni Kallio's low cross to put the Blades into a respectable 7th league position.

Blades boss Kevin Blackwell could turn to form Loftus Road defenders Ian Bennett and Andy Taylor who have represented the London club at some point during their careers.

Bennett, born in Worksop started his career with the Hoops in August 1988; starting as a junior - he failed to make any professional appearances before joining Newcastle United in a free transfer in March 1989.

Taylor spent just one month at Loftus Road whilst on loan from Blackburn Rovers January 2006; he made his Football League debut as a substitute (replacing Georges Santos) in a 1-0 home win over Southampton. He played in two more further fixtures - both 2-0 defeats at Luton Town and Leeds United and in all made just one (+2) appearance for the Hoops.

Possible Blades Line-Up: Mark Bunn, Derek Geary, Chris Morgan, Matthew Kilgallon, Andy Taylor, Jamie Ward, James Harper, Nick Montgomery, Stephen Quinn, Darius Henderson, Ched Evans.

Meanwhile the FA Cup fixture 10 days ago against fellow Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers at Bramall Lane also ended 1-1. Stephen Quinn hit his shot against the bar early on before at the other end the visitors snatched the lead via on-loan striker Jay Simpson (39 minutes), slipping home Wayne Routledge's low cross.

This lead didn't last long and the game was forced into a replay when into first half stoppage time Richard Cresswell (45) headed home Henri Camara's cross; however the game was almost won in the second half when Ched Evans 30 yard free-kick rattled the crossbar with his powerful shot. The winers of this replay fixture at Loftus Road next Tuesday night will win a place in round four to face Bolton Wanderers.

The Loftus Road club will be without duo Tom Williams (Peterborough United) and Ben Watson (Wigan Athletic) after the pair's loan period ended. Meanwhile Gareth Ainsworth (calf), Gavin Mahon, Lee Cook and Martin Rowlands (all knee) are sidelined with Angelo Balanta (groin) is ready to return to the squad.

Rangers are likely to field former Sheffield United midfielder Mikele Leigertwood against his former club; he was signed by Neil Warnock from Crystal Palace in a £600,000 transfer in July 2006 but his lack of Premiership experience troubled his ability and was eventually sold in August 2007 for £900,000 to tomorrow's opponents. He left the club having made 19 (+4) appearances.

Possible Hoops Line-Up: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Kasper Gorkss, Matthew Connolly, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Roultedge, Akos Buzsaky, Angelo Balanta, Adel Taarabt, Jay Simpson.

Blades-Mad Prediction: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Sheffield United