Date: 27th January 2009 at 2:52pm
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Just 3 days removed from Saturday’s shock (but brilliant all the same!) win against Promotion-hopefuls, Birmingham City, Caretaker team Tony Parkes and Steve Thompson face QPR in a game which could well result in the pair being installed in a full-time management capacity until at least the end of the season – should the result be a good one.

QPR themselves, like Birmingham, are looking up the table this season after last season’s disappointment. They find themselves just 3 points off the playoff places in 8th position going into this evening’s game off the back of a 2-0 victory over struggling Derby County ten days ago and will be bringing a familiar face along with them for the ride.

Last year’s VitalBlackpool Player Of The Season (we’d like our trophy back, please!) Kaspars Gorkss will make his first appearance against the side that lured him away from Latvia 3 seasons ago. Having struggled to get into the QPR side initially – and having over-seen management changes of his own down in London – Kaspars will be relishing the chance to face his former club and to reunite with old friends.

Vital Quotes:

QPR Defender Kaspars Gorkss on his return to the Seasiders;

‘I’d like to think the majority of the Blackpool fans will remember how well I did for them. Having said that, I know how football works and I am expecting a mixed reception.’

‘There were boos when my name was read out at Loftus Road in the match between us earlier in the season.’

‘It will be great to go back and see the lads and hopefully I can play my part in another QPR victory.’

Blackpool caretaker Assistant Manager, Steve Thompson;

‘If we get a good result against Queens Park Rangers then it sets us up and keeps that roll going. We were all looking to get that first win and it was nice to do it in the manner that we did against Birmingham. If we get three points against Queens Park Rangers it will be fantastic – but we’re under no illusions.’

‘If we’re on form on the night we’re a force to be reckoned with against anybody. We’ll give QPR the respect they deserve, we’ve watched how they play, we’ve seen the set-pieces but it is what we do on the night that is more important.’

Blackpool Team News:

‘Pool will be without top-scorer Ben Burgess who is out for a considerable amount of time with his knee injury, Jermaine Wright made it through 90 minutes of a practice game but will likely be put through the reserve fixture against Bury tomorrow evening, opposed to being thrown in at the deep-end.

Stephen Crainey will continue his comeback from the bench once again after coming on to a wonderful reception on Saturday afternoon. Claus Jorgensen will be suspended for the next 3 matches following his altercation with Lee Bowyer (no comment!) and Taylor-Fletcher will likely continue up front alongside DJ Campbell after that partnership flourished against The Blues this past weekend.

Keith Southern has yet to be ruled out of the game despite limping out of action at the weekend with a knock on his ankle. One hopes he is involved in some capacity and with the lack of central midfield options, he’ll be a miss if he is indeed ruled out.

David Vaughan could play a part if Southern is out and loan-signing Krisztian Nemeth will line-up on the bench as he looks to make his ‘Pool debut in his month-long spell.

Player to watch: DJ Campbell

It seems to be the case this season that loan strikers perform miracles for us. DJ is once more the epitome of that statement, 2 goals in 2 games, he’ll be looking to make it 3 for certain as he tries to get his career back on track!

QPR Team News:

QPR are keeping their cards close to their chests for this one, but both Martin Rowlands and former PNE striker Patrick Agyemang are both ruled out of the tie. They join Akos Buzsaky and Rowan Vine on the sidelines.

Wayne Routledge could cause ‘Pool some problems down the wing, Ian Harte will have to be on top-form to deny the tricky wide-man who signed from Premiership surprise-package, Aston Villa.

Player to watch: Kaspars Gorkss

There wasn’t going to be anyone else, really, was there?

We all know what Kaspars is capable of – his headed goal from a corner against Burnley in the 3-0 drubbing last season is testament to that – so we will have to be on top form from corners and freekicks to keep the big man out. Lest we forget his heading ability from the Carling Cup game against Derby, either!

He’s expecting a hostile reaction from the ‘Pool faithful after jumping-ship in the summer as we lost, arguably, 2 of our best 3 players from last season in Wes Hoolahan and Gorkss for a pittance.

He’ll be in for some stick during the game, and possibly before and after from a section of the crowd, but I’d certainly applaud him on and off the pitch for his effort and more importantly, his goals, which ultimately kept us in this division last season!

Match Facts & Stats

Prior to Saturday’s win, ‘Pool hadn’t won since the home fixture against Charlton back at the start of December.

The caretaker team – and the fans – will be hopeful that the win will spur the players on and hopefully, the snowball effect will follow and the points will keep on coming.

The last time the sides met in the league, it finished in a one-all draw at Loftus Road with Taylor-Fletcher on the target in the 18th minute before Dexter Blackstock levelled on 79.

Last time at Bloomfield Road, ‘Pool were the victors by a solitary goal scored by Ben Burgess in stoppage time at the end of the game. Many remarked after that match that QPR were the worst team to have visited Bloomers up to that point…their current league position indicates that they’ll be a much sterner test this time out.

Match Prediction:

Blackpool 1 – 1 QPR

Next Fixtures:

Crystal Palace (A) – January 31st