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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW V QPR

24 December 2015

Brett ready for Boxing Day cracker in 'crazy' Championship

Brett Pitman is expecting another difficult game against QPR on Boxing Day in a league he labels ‘crazy’. 

The Town striker, who helped Bournemouth to the Championship title last season before joining Blues in the summer, has plenty of experience of football in the second tier and considers this year’s race for promotion as eagerly contested as ever - perhaps more so.

“We are in the top six at the moment but we know how competitive this league is. It seems to get harder every season,” said the frontman.

“It’s a ‘stupid’ league really, a crazy league. It’s bizarre, you can’t predict any result because any team is capable of beating any other. 

“It’s going to be a difficult game on Boxing Day, we know that. It was hard to say what QPR would be like when they kicked off the season because you didn’t know which of their players would stay and who they might bring in. 

“They have kept hold of their main man though, Charlie Austin. They don’t concede many goals and with Charlie up front scoring for them, they have always got a chance.”

Don’t miss Saturday’s matchday programme for an in-depth interview with Brett on his promotion ambitions with Town, international hopes with Jersey and playing for no wages.

Team News
Town
David McGoldrick will remain Town’s only main long-term absentee as he begins his rehab following a hamstring tear. Mick McCarthy will have Luke Hyam available for selection again after the midfielder’s loan spell at Rotherham was brought to an end this week. Teddy Bishop and Larsen Toure are still sidelined with injury though.

QPR
Charlie Austin’s possible absence is the headline news coming from Loftus Road. The striker missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Bristol City with a hamstring injury, the third different knock he’s sustained this season. 

Where they stand
Town – 6th
QPR – 12th 

Last time we met
QPR scored three, and took all three points on their last visit to Portman Road in 2014. Tommy Smith grabbed a consolation goal in the dying moments for Town, but the R’s picked up a 3-1 win. Nico Kranjcar, Gary O’Neil and Armand Traore were on target in the second half for the Londoners before Smith scored with a brilliant overhead kick in a Stephen Hunt corner as the Blues’ nine match unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt end.

Key players
Brett Pitman
The striker has caught the eye with a string of impressive performances in recent weeks. He is the Blues' leading scorer in all competitions this term so far with seven goals.

Matt Phillips
Along with Nedum Onuoha and Paul Konchesky, the winger has played every minute of the R’s Championship campaign so far, and has scored four times in the process. He formed what looked to be a dangerous partnership with Charlie Austin and Tjaronn Chery early in the season, but with both sustaining injuries in recent weeks, Phillips has been forced to be the creative spark for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s team.

Match officials
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Assistant referees: Alan Young and Rob Smith
Fourth official: Anthony Da Costa

Sky Bet
For the latest Boxing Day odds, click here.

If you are not at the game, you can still follow every kick from Portman Road on Ipswich Player HD. Our social media channels will also have live updates from the match.


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