We take a comprehensive look ahead at our next Sky Bet Championship opponents
- Queens Park Rangers vs Huddersfield Town
- Sunday 28 January 2024; 1.30pm kick-off
- Full preview of what to expect from QPR on Sunday
Two goals inside the first 15 minutes saw Town see off Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium in October, with Kian Harratt and Jack Rudoni on the scoresheet.
Boasting a good record against Rangers, the Terriers have lost just once in their previous 12 meetings, and are unbeaten in four. Two goals from Josh Ruffels gave us all three points on our last visit to Loftus Road, scoring a memorable overhead effort from outside of the box.
Last beaten at Loftus Road in November 2021, a late goal from Luke Amos in a midweek game under the lights undid Town on that occasion.
Having allowed 31 players to leave permanently and 11 more on loan since the summer with nine new faces replacing them, it has been a transitional period for Queens Park Rangers both on and off the field. Making a managerial change in October with Gareth Ainsworth departing and Martí Cifuentes taking over, the club also changed their chairman in November, too.
Having not been in the third tier of English football since the 2003/04 season, they have had three seasons in the Premier League since that time, with the majority of their football being played in the Sky Bet Championship after they retained their place in the division last season with a 20th placed finish.
Currently sitting in 22nd place in the Sky Bet Championship three points and one position behind Town, a win for the home side on Sunday will see them climb out of the bottom three for the first time since September.
41-year-old Martí Cifuentes moved into coaching earlier than usual after a career as a player failed to materialise as a long-term option. Starting in his native Spain, spells with Ajax and Millwall at youth level gave him further experience before his managerial career began with Segunda División B club Sant Andreu in 2014 after a short spell with Rubí the year previous.
Moving next to Catalonia based Hospitalet, his next major career change was to Scandinavian football, with three jobs across Norway, Denmark and Sweden at Sandefjord, AaB and Hammarby respectively after a spell with AIK’s academy. Departing that final role in Stockholm to move to London with Queens Park Rangers in October 2023, it’s the Spaniard’s first time back in England since his time with Millwall in 2007.
LAST TIME OUT
A first win in seven Sky Bet Championship fixtures for QPR, goals from Chair and Armstrong saw off Millwall 2-0 in Shepherd’s Bush to give Martí Cifuentes his fourth win in charge.
Just their sixth win of the year, QPR have now won as many - three - at home as they have away, with only the league to concentrate on having exited both domestic cup competitions at the same stage as Town this season.
Welcoming back a number of their first choice starters in recent weeks, the win and performance will give them renewed belief, especially against a Millwall side who had shown signs of improvement in recent outings.
Previous Starting XI: Begovic; Cannon, S Cook, Clarke-Salter, Paal; Colback, Field; Willock, Dykes, Chair; Armstrong (4-2-3-1)
QPR have adapted between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 since Cifuentes took charge at the end of October, with their four wins in that time split evenly between each system.
Looking to keep hold of the ball, build with pace and have a fluidity between defence and attack, the major difference between each set up is how the side approach the middle of the pitch, with either one holding player or two operating from the start.
Often interchanging between the two mid-game depending on the scoreline, they can either add an extra body in the final third or look to sure things up in the middle and give extra cover to their defence.
WHO TO WATCH
Left-back Paal has been one of QPR’s most consistent performers over the past two seasons, with three goals and an assist from defence this campaign underlining his importance. An outlet for the side out wide, his ability to contribute at both ends of the field gives the team a different point of attack, with Paal registering the most appearances for the club this season in the Sky Bet Championship playing in each of the 30 games he’s been included in the squad for.
20-year-old Irish forward Sinclair Armstrong has risen to prominence over the past two seasons, breaking through into their first team after joining from Shamrock Rovers. National League loans with Torquay United and Aldershot Town gave him senior experience, with the forward now a full international for the Republic of Ireland. Netting three goals and contributing two assists in 25 appearances so far, he began their last fixture up front.
Scottish-Australian forward Dykes has scored a team best five goals this season, with the 28-year-old now in his fourth season with QPR after signing from Livingston. While a recognised centre-forward, Dykes has played in attacking midfield five times this year, and appeared on the left wing once too - making room for Armstrong ahead of him, he has started their past two fixtures in attacking midfield. Standing at 6’2, he is a physical presence in both boxes, with his hold up play bringing others into the game in the final third.
TOWN TEAM NEWS
Huddersfield Town Manager Darren Moore will spoke to the media today, Friday 26 January, ahead of this weekend’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Queens Park Rangers.
Supporters were able to watch live on HTTV via YouTube and on our official Twitter/X channel, with defender Radinio Balker also speaking to the media before the Manager - watch back everything they both had to say below.
Town will be back in black at Loftus Road on Sunday, wearing our Third Kit in West London.
Having proven popular with supporters, CLICK HERE to make one your own before the weekend!
Selected for exclusive live broadcast by Sky Sports, this fixture will only be available to stream in selected dark markets.
However, supporters will still be able to access live match commentary on iFollow HTAFC with both season passes and match passes for just £2.50.
To find out more about iFollow, please CLICK HERE to find out more.
Supporters unable to join us in West London who want to follow the game live will be able to watch every kick at Loftus Road via Sky Sports, who have selected the fixture for exclusive live broadcast.
The match is available on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football from 1pm on Sunday.