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Hull City 0 v 3 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 14th August 2021 Kick-off 15:00
I travel boy – Preview
Friday, 13th Aug 2021 21:49 by Clive Whittingham

QPR, fresh from a World Cup win at Leyton Orient during the week, start a pair of long distance away trips at Hull City on Saturday.

Hull City (1-0-0, WD, 1st) v Queens Park Rangers (0-1-0, DD, 18th)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday August 14, 2021 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather - >>> Kingston-upon-Hull, East Yorkshire

I’d like to tell you this match preview is brought to you from the 13.33 LNER service to The North. I am indeed tapping this out over the second Peroni of the weekend as the world whistles by, great pleasures in life No.356 in the series that have been denied us over the last 18 months, now mercifully returned to those who do like to occasionally journey beyond our own postcode. How did I get there then? Did it come to me? Oh look, here comes Hull down the motorway in a car.

One thing I haven’t missed, however, is train wifi, which actually doesn’t exist in this country in anything other than marketing material. “Enjoy our free wifi” they say, while they sweat 60 sheets out of your rectum for a 90-minute, four-stop, 150 mile journey on an empty train booked eight weeks in advance. Then when you’re sitting here… nothing. Stronger signal could be achieved by dangling your willy out of the slide-down windows, although I am explicitly forbidden from doing that any more under a court order obtained by the London and North Eastern Railway.

Train wifi is a myth, like QPR cup runs, or Joey Barton’s corner taking ability, or Yoann Barbet’s free kick prowess, or the common sense of the British general public. I wasn’t worried to begin with, for I remember being promised solemnly by the sort of Facebook enthusiasts who decry mass vaccination because “you don’t know what’s in it”, while happily sucking the smoke of 20 cigarettes into their chest each day, that I’d be emitting a good three bars of 5G by now, some three weeks after my second jab. But, alas, my left arm is not appearing on my list of potential connections, and so, I strongly suspect, you’ll be reading this much later, via the single coal-fired dial-up internet line they share between them on the south bank of the Humber.

Sad bastard. Trains, internet connections, match previews. Boring. Imagine clearing a week of your diary and emptying your bank account into following Queens Park Rangers not only to Hull, but then onwards to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night as well. And not only that, but writing about it too. Get a life man. Seek help. When was your last blow job eh? When do you last get laid? Nerd. Geek.

Almost as sad as celebrating a League Cup win. Not even a League Cup win, in fact, a League Cup draw. Against a League Two team. I mean, League Two, practically semi-professional isn’t it? Mark Clemmit rampaging around the gaff slinging his arm around any Orient player that might possibly have had a postal round or taught an adult education class in basic motor vehicle maintenance earlier in the day because #narrative. Progress, if indeed it can even be deemed that, achieved only through the dubious default of the penalty shoot out. Well if you’re one of those compulsive types who just has to bet then… I don’t know… Denver. And you’re celebrating that are you? In the side stand, with your mates? Or on the side of the pitch, and then the front row of the away end, with the fans you once stood among, who you’ve wanted to play in front of your whole life, having scored the winning kick in the shoot out?

Well, if that’s what floats your boat then I guess that’s ok, but it doesn’t seem like much fun relative to my chosen pastime of casting snide judgements on others while doom scrolling my phone, slouched on the sofa, television on in the background but content struggling to cut through the more important business of delivering hot takes on what everybody else is doing wrong, to 73 followers. “Looks like QPR have won the League Cup”, “League Cup’s over lads QPR have won it”, “League Cup, more like WORLD CUP the way QPR are carrying on #amiright”. And of course, were it Brentford, we’d be taking the piss just the same. We still have a running joke now, ten years on, about Billy Davies’ lap of honour at Loftus Road, having secured a point with ten men against Neil Warnock’s QPR, which meant that should they win their three games in hand they’d overtake us, only they didn’t win any of them. Part of football fandom is taking the piss out of each other, and it’s grand to have that back as well.

There’s a completely separate discussion to be had around PLAGUE. QPR put out a reasoned statement early on Wednesday saying players wouldn’t be stopping for autographs or photographs in the current Delta Variant climate (stoked for the Echo Variant Christmas spectacular) and asking supporters to respect that, only for us all to turn up at Brisbane Road and find Albert Adomah dancing on a rail in an away end where Jordy De Wijs had sat amongst us for the previous 90 minutes supporting the team. End up with a mass Covid outbreak, having to play and almost certainly lose tough Championship games and fall behind in the league with scratchy teams out, and obviously I’m going to sit here (well, not here, we’re nearly at Doncaster and I have to get off) and say that players need to remain disciplined and focused to maintain the superb work and high standards we set as a club, medically, through the height of the pandemic. Half an eyebrow-raised already at Ilias Chair and Sam McCallum disappearing suddenly for “illness” without further explanation. Everton have five “isolating” for their first game, and if we turn up at Hull tomorrow without Adomah, De Wijs, Chair, McCallum, and a whole load more eejits who still have that app on their phone, we’re all going to be pissed off with it.

But the barbs about how small time it is, how over the top the celebrations went, how embarrassing it was, can get in the sea and stay there. Debates about our best starting line up, Lyndon Dykes’ performances, where Charlie Kelman goes from here, whether we’re a serious play-off contender or not, how we’ll do at Hull, how we’ll do at Middlesbrough… all this stuff is for the birds at the moment. Wednesday night was fun. Remember that? Fun? From before that time when you could only go to the pub, or the football, or Primark, if the government said it was acceptable, while the health secretary was railing his researcher over her desk? We’ll start assessing where the team is, whether the pre-season hype was misplaced, as more games are played. Remember, Barnsley didn’t win at all until game eight last season and ended up being the story of the Championship year. Meantime, I’m just mopping up the liquid joy from being allowed to actually go to Leyton Orient with 2,000 kindred spirits, drink beer in a pub, sing silly songs, celebrate goals, clap the players off at the end. I’m stupidly excited to be travelling again, yes to Hull, and yes to Middlesbrough. Just the planning, the logistics, the train booking, the ticket purchasing, even before I got on board and cracked that first beer, nourished my soul after being forced to enjoy/endure my greatest/only passion through the medium of moody internet streams at home instead.

If that, and Albert Adomah’s celebrations, and enjoying a League Cup win at Leyton Orient, makes me, and him, and us, a sad case in your eyes then fair play. But I’ll take my sad over yours. My eyes tell me I’m arriving in Doncaster, and nobody has ever been happier than me to see the place.

Links >>> Road to Wembley – History >>> Bouncing back – Interview >>> Too much optimism – Podcast >>> Donohue in charge – Referee >>> Hull Official Website >>> Hull Daily Mail – Local Paper >>> The Amber View – Blog >>> Reciprocal interview - Blog >>> Tigerlink – Blog >>> Amber Nectar – Blog and Forum >>> Not606 – Forum >>> Ground Guide >>> Hull City Live – Blog

Below the fold

Team News: Ilias Chair has trained and travelled after missing out last week with “illness”, whether Sam McCallum is any further along having also missed the last two games isn’t clear. Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen both left the field early against Millwall and then sat out the midweek game at Orient, prompting speculation about their involvement, but other than Luke Amos’ ongoing comeback and the medium term absence of Sam Field Warbs Warburton said in his pre-match there is “nothing you don’t already know about” regarding team news.

Mallik Wilks top scored for Hull last season with 19 goals but was on the end of a reducer from Alan Browne at Preston and is now out medium term. He joins another key man from the League One title campaign, Sunderland-alum George Honeyman, on the sidelines for tomorrow but a clutch of others are back in contention. Callum Elder is training for the first time since the squad reconvened after the summer but this will probably come too soon for him. Ryan Longman and Randell Williams are fit to debut while Sean McLoughlin and Thomas Mayer have recovered from plague.

Elsewhere: A full Saturday of 12 fixtures starts at lunchtime with Wayne Rooney’s Travelling Circus heading to Peterborough, who’ve made an inauspicious start to their life back at this level with a 3-0 opening day loss at Luton and then 4-0 League Cup defeat at home to League One Plymouth. If you can’t beat Derby at home this year you really are going to be in trouble so it will be interesting to see how the Posh, led from the front by former Ram Jack Marriott, go with that one.

None of the relegated Premier League teams won their opening games, and tasks of varying difficulty await them in week two. Tarquin and Rupert are heading up to Sporting Huddersfield for their first away game, Sheffield Red Stripe follow a home loss to Birmingham with an evening strip down to Swanselona, while West Brom are at home to Lutown. The promoted teams had more mixed fortunes, with Blackpool scoring a last minute equaliser at Bristol City ahead of this weekend’s home game with Cardiff, while Hull whitewashed Preston who back up away at Reading. Nigel Pearson’s side, meanwhile, look like a banker away defeat on the Fourteenth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour.

Very strange goings on at Birmingham who’ve had 18 months without supporters to do whatever repairs and upgrades might have been required to their stadium, but this week closed two sides of their ground because of “overrunning maintenance works” – this despite nobody who’s been anywhere near the stadium over the past few weeks reporting seeing or hearing any sign of contractors doing any work at all. Match tickets for tomorrow’s home game with Stoke have been cancelled, with in excess of 7,000 season ticket holders entered into a random ballot for the 4,000-odd tickets that are now available for purchase. Just when it all seemed to be going so well there under Lee Bowyer.

Nottingham Florist combined pure Forest with pure Chris Hughton at Coventry last Sunday, a heady mix of farce and chronic lack of ambition when 1-0 up producing a ninety sixth minute win for the hosts on their return to the Ricoh Arena. Coventry now head to Barnsley while Forest will do it all over again, in every respect, at home to Bournemouth. Millwall host an Adam Armstrong-less Blackburn in the only other game we haven’t mentioned yet.

Referee: QPR don’t have fond memories of Matt Donohue’s efforts with them last season – failing to send off Mads Sorensen for chopping down Lyndon Dykes when clean through on goal at Brentford, contributing to a 2-1 loss in which Todd Kane was also red carded, then sending off Seny Dieng in a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough. Details.

Form

Hull: City’s collapse from midtable with play-off potential to farcical relegation when last at this level was dramatic. They’d won 11 and lost only six of 23 games running through to the transfer window where Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki were both offloaded without replacement, and then won just one and lost 17 of the final 21, a period that included one losing sequence of five consecutive games, another of six, and an 8-0 defeat at Wigan. Nobody conceded more than their 84 goals that year. Grant McCann was under serious pressure but their turnaround in League One was formidable. They won the division with 89 points, nine clear of Blackpool in third, and nobody matched their 27 victories from 46 games. Only Peterborough (83) scored more than their 80 and only Blackpool (37) conceded fewer than their 38. At home they went 14-4-5 across the season and went unbeaten in the final eight matches on this ground post a 1-0 loss to Ipswich in February. They won the next five games in all comps after that and went unbeaten for 14 matches right the way through to the final day at Charlton, by which time the promotion was long since confirmed. If they’re going to struggle with the step up it wasn’t immediately apparent in a 4-1 win away at Preston on day one back in the Championship.

QPR: Rangers have started the season with two 1-1 draws, and two Rob Dickie goals. That continues their record of just seven defeats in 27 matches and eight months through 2021. Away from home Mark Warburton’s side have only lost three of their last 16 road trips going all the way back to December last year. They won the final three away games of 2020/21 at Boro (2-1), Swansea (1-0) and Stoke (2-0) to nudge the season total of away wins up to eight, their best since relegation back to this level in 2015, equal with the 2013/14 promotion campaign, and the most since Neil Warnock’s 2010/11 side registered ten on the way to winning this league. Rangers won their last two visits to Hull’s old Boothferry Park ground by an aggregate score of 8-2, but managed to go from September 1991to August 2005 without returning here by which time the Tigers had moved into their new stadium. The Ebere Eze-inspired 3-2 win here the season before last was our first in nine visits (D5 L3). It was also one of only two wins QPR have managed in 13 meetings against City, though Jarrod Bowen had plenty to do with that scoring six in six appearances, including a pair of braces in 2018/19.

Prediction: We’re indebted to The Art of Football for once again agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. You can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Mick_S took the title on the very final weekend of the season last year giving him the dubious honour of finishing our match previews in 2021/22. Here are his thoughts on Hull…

“A fantastic, if surprising start for Hull in the league last weekend, scoring four at Preston. A tricky one to call as it is their first league home game of the season so I’m guessing that there may be a sizeable home crowd to deal with. If they go with the high press, we may be in a spot of bother; we need to work out how to deal with this. Having said that, I’m going to sit on the fence and go for 1-1. Dykes to score.”

Mick’s Prediction: Hull 1-1 QPR. Scorer – Lyndon Dykes

LFW’s Prediction: Hull City 1-1 QPR. Scorer – Chris Willock

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TacticalR added 23:03 - Aug 13
Thanks for your preview.

You have to be careful - anything you stick out of a train window can be lopped off.

A good start for Hull at Preston. Meanwhile we are still trying to put the pieces of the QPR jigsaw together.
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thehat added 08:51 - Aug 14
Thanks Clive - I have bad feeling about today a lot of teams will know our starting formation very rarely changes and will set uo accordingly.

I would like to see us be a little more adaptable and change formations quickly in games.

That said if Chair is back and all the big guns are fit and bring thier A game we should have too much for them.

Safe travels to all the R’rrrs heading to Humberside this afternoon!
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SimonJames added 14:03 - Aug 14
"But, alas, my left arm is not appearing on my list of potential connections..." LOL!
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