Who 'R' Yer? - QPR
We have a chat with Vital QPR editor Adam ahead of the game this weekend.
1. How's your season gone and what are your expectations?
I've learned not to have any expectations when it comes to Queens Park Rangers, because they are nearly always dashed, but I'd be misleading you if I didn't say I thought we were capable of a playoff place at the beginning of the season.
The football we have played, the chances created and the goals we've scored leaves me in no doubt we are more than capable of attaining a playoff place. It is a case of whether we can retain our consistency and score goals at crucial times.
Looking at the division overall for a moment, it is as evenly spread as it ever has been, which is a surprise when you consider the calibre of side that came down from the top flight. A run for any side in this league could see you to the promised land as shown by Burnley.
As mentioned if we can remain consistent when and where it matters most I don't see why we can't challenge for playoffs or higher, but the bane of most clubs in this league is dropping points while on a run, and we at the moment are no exception.
2. What are your thoughts of Jim Magilton as manager?
Again I'd be misleading you if I said he was my number one choice for manager. Indeed many QPR fans were perplexed by the decision to hand the job to a man who had at best underachieved at Ipswich Town, but now we are beginning to see his merits and reap the rewards.
You only have to look at the Tractor Boys now to see the kind of job Jim was doing at Portman Road, and he has made the comfortable transition to the Loftus Road hot-seat, which as I'm sure you're aware has become more of a hot potato in recent seasons.
From the very first friendly we've seen the product that Jim is trying to put across and it is fair to say that very few have been left disappointed with the start we've made. The football in particular has been delightful, combined with a deadly eye for goal from all concerned.
Our biggest problems last season were creating chances and scoring goals, owing much to the negative tactics of messrs Dowie and Sousa, but Jim seems to have sparked confidence in the players in their ability and brought in some useful players on loan to supplement the attacking line.
So far? Absolutely delighted with his work, even if some of the performances haven't yielded deserved results, the fans have received a form of entertainment that they have been starved of for many years at Loftus Road.
3. What about the men running the club?
This topic will always divide opinion and depending on which QPR fan you speak to you may well get a different answer every time. One man's hero is another man's villain with regards to Mr Briatore, and you'll never be found wanting for an opinion or two at Loftus Road.
From my perspective Mr Briatore, Mr Ecclestone and Mr Mittal have contributed to help make Queens Park Rangers financially stable and for that I will be eternally grateful. Many years of bucket collections and financial uncertainty have been eased, which is possibly the greatest achievement of their tenure to date.
With money comes false expectations, media hype and misinformed rambling which QPR have been subject to over the last few years. Without a doubt we have some very wealthy and ambitious backers, and were the media play toy until Notts County thankfully stepped in and took the mantle.
Now we are sneaking up on the rest without the hype and media attention that the club has had to carry around since the owners took to the helm.
Some fans have unrealistic expectations driven by the media, creating what was a bitter atmosphere at Loftus Road last season - indeed the board took much of the flak for some dour home displays, where a game of chess would have been more exciting in comparison.
Now that we have picked up results the owner have faded into the background, despite 'Crashgate' and Mr Ecclestone's ramblings about Hitler and Ayrton Senna - our football doing the talking is something we can all be happy about!
For the work they have done at Queens Park Rangers so far I am truly thankful. Things could have been done better, more efficiently and with more class first time around, but it appears that we are getting it right on the field, and matters off the field will have to resolve themselves in time.
4. Who are your key men?
The great thing about QPR at the moment is it is more of a case of teamwork rather than individuals. What you are seeing at Loftus Road is an attack built on the attacking talents of Adel Taarabt, Ákos Buzsáky, Wayne Routledge and Jay Simpson - four key players at present.
While teams like Cardiff can look to Michael Chopra to score all their goals - we have proven if you stop Chopra you stop Cardiff. Where as with us, if one doesn't get you there are another three of four that can step forward - a frightening prospect for many.
They are not infallible however, and a strong defensive unit that closes them down and gives them little space to manoeuvre may find their success, as it proven by Leicester and Crystal Palace in recent games - it's not nice to watch but it can be effective against our talent.
5. If you could swap one Rangers player for an Owls player, who would it be and why?
An interesting question, one for which I would do a straight swap, striker for striker, although I'm sure if Lee Strafford and the hierarchy agreed to this they would need their heads examined.
Heidar Helguson has received criticism from many quarters, which hasn't done the veteran any good as he suffers from a visible lack of confidence and a succession of bad injuries that continue to dog his flagging career.
He showed Watford supporters from the very first loan game what he is capable of when he is fit, confident and motivated - something he has never seemed to capture with QPR, and sadly never looks like he'll never get the opportunity to capture in the near future.
In his stead I'd happily take Marcus Tudgay off your hands! A talent in this league that has grown into his shirt at Hillsborough after being let go by Derby County, and has always proven a real thorn in the side against us.
Marcus as you know is an adaptable player that can play out wide and up front and score goals in both positions, and his loyalty to Wednesday is very admirable when given the opportunity to play in the Premier League with Burnley.
The lure of the top flight and money-spinning ties in the shop window against Manchester United and the rest may have been too much to refuse for some. But I like to think he's seen and appreciated the project at Wednesday and should they get to the top-flight he could become an Owls legend.
6. What's your most memorable Owls v Rangers match and why?
As a relatively young supporter I wasn't old enough to appreciate our meetings at the highest level, or even the glorious 8-2 hammering in the League Cup in the early 70s.
From a personal perspective I cannot look beyond that glorious day at Hillsborough when the R's secured their status in the present division in front of an over 7,000 travelling army from West London.
I've never felt so nervous in a build up to a game, and what better stage to play your final game and have your fate in your own hands. Kevin Gallen's goal before half time was crucial and it was hoped that one goal may kill your spirit.
After half time the man of the season Paul Furlong popped up with his second in typical powerful fashion, and many supporters could see their dreams turning to reality in a haze of blue and white delirium.
When Jon Shaw pulled one back, I don't think I can write what I was saying or thinking in that away end and with Bristol City's scoreline still saying they were in front nerves were firmly set in, despite the fact your players had little to no motivation in getting a point.
The most nervous ten minutes of my lifetime were washed away as a Martin Rowlands cross was inexplicably swiped into his top corner by Chris Carr. It wasn't so much celebration behind the goal but sheer relief - I don't think anyone in the ground apart from the most pessimistic Rangers fans could see you bouncing back after that - any you didn't.
There are many memories that stick out on the day, hugging complete strangers, watching Ian Holloway get set bundled on by his own players and then held aloft to the adoring support, but there is one thing that sticks with me to the day.
We walked past the Hillsborough memorial like giddy school children, and it was as if somebody switched the power off, everything went hush as R's fans draped scarves and shirts over the memorial in a very moving moment for everyone concerned.
Overall an incredible day that will live with me forever!
7. What do you make of Wednesday this season? Are we performing above or below your expectations?
Wednesday are like many this season, on their day capable of fantastic performances and results, but inconsistency dogs them at every corner. Was it truly the same nucleus of a team that was thrashed at Watford then picked up a great draw at Bristol City? - It just goes to show!
I must admit I had Wednesday down as bettering last season's 12th placed finish, such is the progression behind the scenes at the club, but didn't think you had enough to make a playoff place. Anything above last season would be an improvement.
In 14th position so far doesn't really describe where I'd expect you to finish, and with a good run and the big crowds you can command the world could be your oyster if you get some consistency in your results.
The unfortunate thing is the same could be said for most other Championship teams - an exciting but all together frustrating league.
8. What's your score prediction?
This is as tough a game to predict at many, but if I feel we can get a grip of the game on a wide pitch we will be very difficult to stifle and tough to handle.
At Loftus Road the pitch in cramped and it's easier to get men behind the ball and defend. Where as your our pitch there will be far more space to chop down and far more holes to plug, and the talent in our side may find this the place to strike.
Our defending hasn't been as good in recent games as it was last season, where it was one of the only positives you could take from the weekend. Two attacking teams, plenty of goals and plenty of excitement.
I'm going for 3-2 to QPR and back to winning ways for Rangers!
Best of luck beyond this weekend!
Not sure about that scoreline, Adam, but thanks for your views, and good luck also for the rest of the season.