Date:Friday September 17 2010
Leicester host unbeaten QPR at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday, looking to build upon their impressive midweek successes.
We speak to QPR fan Adam Boxer on his thoughts ahead of the match.
1. It's been an incredible start to the season for QPR - how have you done it?
There are many factors to what has been an incredible opening to the campaign. Neil Warnock is evidently one of most incredible signings to date - the way he organises the team which he has built has been the very foundation of Rangers' fantastic beginning of the campaign.
Beyond that some of the signings themselves - the incredible flair of Adel Taarabt, the unrelenting work-rate of Jamie Mackie and the guts, grit and determination of the likes of Shaun Derry and Clint Hill at last make Rangers an all-round better prospect and one that the fans can finally be proud of.
In short, the simplicities of scoring goals and keeping clean sheets has seen the Rangers star majestically rise, but consistency is required so what we don't fall from grace and ultimately underachieve.
2. QPR had a good start to last season's campaign however, then it all went wrong. Can you keep it up this time around?
No-one, least of all me, is counting their chickens just yet. In fact you'll still find that air of negativity on any QPR forum out there, because we've been stung before and we're damned if it will happen again. Last season we picked up an incredible set of results but there was a nagging doubt surrounding how much stability there could be at the club.
But of the blue came disappointment once more - how could a team playing so well suddenly lose the plot over a run of games and end up without another manager? This is QPR after all, and as Leicester City you oversaw the beginning of our sorry demise last time out.
As mentioned, this year there is a difference. There aren't worries about what's around the corner because there is a solidity and consistency right the way through the club. We have started well and unlike last season we have the men to maintain this.
3. Is there any restlessness among QPR fans that the club haven't challenged for promotion sooner?
Naturally there are some people that believe that with the spending power QPR have behind the scenes they should be challenging the higher echelons of the Premier League, let alone the Championship. With Flavio Briatore tightening the purse strings on transfers until the end you would be forgiven for thinking that Rangers lacked that ambition.
Under Lakshmi Mittal, Amit Bhatia and Ishan Saksena, Rangers are spending but spending prudently - against the common misconception and the label that we are often handed as 'big spenders'. Neil Warnock has his targets and Rangers have brought in relatively tried and tested Championship talent for half the sum that a Middlesbrough seem to be dishing out.
Yes, with money comes ambition and being top of the league brings its own expectations in that respect. I firmly believe that the past is now the past and our current owners and manager are doing all they can - and doing it correctly it seems - to find that blend and get QPR back to the top flight.
4. Neil Warnock, the man everybody loves to hate. Is he the right man for QPR?
Absolutely. He was the appointment we have cried out for, for many years. A man with Championship experience, knows his way round the division and how to get out of it and more importantly brings an air of stability to any club in crisis - let's face it we weren't going anywhere fast until we captured him.
It was a great day in the Boxer household when Warnock was officially unveiled as Rangers boss and couple this with the new board we knew that we would not only stay up last season but be challenging effective immediate this season - our faith for the time being is being rewarded.
5. Alejandro Faurlin and Bradley Orr both look set to miss the game. How big a loss are the pair?
They will both miss the game and they are losses without question. Orr has given us some fantastic stability at full-back - first time in a while we have had an out-and-out right back rather than just a centre-half filling and doing his best.
In Kyle Walker, from what I saw at Ipswich, we have a more attacking replacement and will gobble up space at the Walkers - with both good defensive and attack-minded attributes he could prove to be quite a loan capture.
Alejandro Faurlín is a big miss in the heart of midfield, a good worker who can pick and excellent pass - both he and Shaun Derry were forming a formidable partnership in the middle. Ákos Buzsáky or Mikele Leigertwood will replace him and that is a selection headache that I can enjoy!
6. How have Warnock's summer signings settled into the side? Happy with them all?
Pretty much all of them, although I've not seen too much of Leon Clarke, who Warnock labelled his summer gamble. But absolutely all of the others have been nothing short of a success. Kenny, Hill, Orr, Taarabt, Derry, Mackie, Hulse, Smith - all excellent players with possibly the biggest surprise being Jamie Mackie.
We know he's a hard worker but he's proven he has that poachers instinct to be top of the pile in the Championship top scorers and both his brace against Ipswich during the week displayed both sides to his game. Adel Taarabt is a superb player for this division - if he continues to display this form Rangers will be a real force.
7. Are there still areas of the squad that need strengthening?
Arguably speaking you can always make improvements, but there is a togetherness and team-spirit that I haven't seen in years and for me it would firstly have to improve the playing squad but also fit the ethos of the current dressing room.
Rob Hulse, one of the division's best strikers, hasn't even played yet owing to his injury, and while others will want a player here or a player there I think we're fairly much set if we can remain lucky with the injuries - there is now a good strength in depth in W12.
8. Who should we be most fearful of from the QPR side?
Mentioned previously the summer signing duo of Mackie and Taarabt, one tireless worker and the other possibly one of the more skilful players I've ever bared witness to. If they're on form then there's no defence in this division that can handle them.
That is not to sound arrogant in any way, but the two have shown that they have the skill and mentality to cut it with the big boys of this division and should they fire on Saturday then we shall see the extent of the damage they can cause.
9. Anybody in the first team picture who you'd love to offload to their next club?
We have several players we're shipping out on loan for varying reasons. Matteo Alberti and Alessandro Pellicori are two Italians that frankly haven't settled from day one, part of the old regime of buying cheap and buying Italian.
Another is Rowan Vine - not to sound disrespectful of a man that in the past has given it all for the cause, but he needs to move on. He broke his leg a few years ago in training and since then has never been the same, frankly looking like he doesn't want to stay at Loftus Road.
10. And finally, a match prediction?
Really tough to predict, but I'm ever the optimist and I'll punt for the away win. 2-0 QPR with goals from Taarabt and Mackie.
Best of luck beyond Saturday to Sousa and the Foxes.
Date:Friday September 17 2010
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|3. Man Utd||8||5||1||2||4||16|
|4. Crystal Palace||8||5||0||3||4||15|
|5. Leicester City||8||4||3||1||2||15|
|6. West Ham||8||4||2||2||6||14|
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