QPR look to secure rare quarter final place against Hornets


QPR take on Watford at Loftus Road in the FA Cup fifth round. It’s the first time the R’s have reached this stage since 1997.

The Friday night game kicks off this round of FA Cup fixtures as Rangers look to continue their fine cup run.

Currently sitting 18th in the Championship, and very unlikely to push for the play-off places, the home fans will be hoping they can keep any aspirations of success alive in the FA Cup.

They have most recently been helped by target man Matt Smith, who has contributed four goals in three games for the west London side and is a man for the FA Cup occasion, having scored twice for Oldham as they shocked Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool 3-2 in 2013.

This local derby is sold out with Watford’s allocation gone within a matter of days as both sets of fans anticipate a classic cup clash.

McClaren spoke in his pre-match press conference about his excitement at the prospect of a sold out Loftus Road but is fully aware of the threat their opposition pose.

“Loftus Road under the lights, a full house – it’s going to be a great atmosphere,”

“We will have to start well against a very good, very consistent, very tough Watford team.”

“We need to stay together and work hard because the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“We haven’t had much luck recently but that will turn, and Friday is a great opportunity for us.”

Watford have enjoyed a successful Premier League season and currently sit in eighth, with a chance of achieving European qualification.

The Hornets almost made the final back in 2016 but fell at the semi-final stage to eventual runners-up Crystal Palace. This is the first time the Hertfordshire based team have reached the fifth round since that run three years ago with them yet to concede a goal in this campaigns run.

Gracia made 11 changes in rounds three and four but faces no immediate Premier League fixtures after this weekends game, leaving many to believe he’ll field a stronger side. 

Gracia addressed his team’s rest period after the game when speaking for Watford’s website.

“This game will be different because we’ve had all this week to prepare and we don’t have a game in midweek,” 

“We have more time to recover and more time to prepare. We will choose the best option. I think a lot about the team and I always to choose the best option. I don’t know how many changes I’m going to do. I only try to choose the best option.”

The away fans will be confident heading into the game having only conceded twice since the turn of the year and have also only lost once in 2019.”

Watford will be without Isaac Success and Kiko Fermina but do welcome back Sebastian Prödl and Roberto Pereyra into the squad with the pair potentially featuring for the Hornets.

Pereyra is a key figure out wide for Gracia’s side and the Spaniard will be delighted that the Argentine is available for selection again after sustaining an injury against Tottenham last month.

The R’s continue to be without Angel Rangel (thigh), Geoff Cameron (ankle) and Joel Lynch (back) as fixture congestion means the Watford game represents their third game this week.

It has the makings of a entertaining affair with both sides desperate for a quarter-final berth. For QPR, the competition is the only distraction from mid table security whilst Watford know that FA Cup success would guarantee the Europa League spot they crave.


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