QPR v Barnsley: Reds well prepared for shapeshifting Rangers

GIVEN an alarming return of just one Championship win in their past 14 matches there, Loftus Road would probably be the last venue that Barnsley would wish to visit this afternoon.

Barnsley's assistant manager Jamie Clapham (Picture: James Hardisty).

Hosts QPR may be residing in a modest 17th place, just six points above the Reds and having lost their last two matches, but the arrival of the visitors today is likely to inspire the R’s with a transfusion of confidence.

It is nothing especially to do with Barnsley’s recent form either, but for reasons all to do with the history books.

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The Reds’ record at QPR is an atrocious one with the visitors having lost on their last 10 visits there.

All told, Barnsley have not won on their previous 24 trips to Loftus Road, with their only success there coming in a 5-0 victory way back in January 1950.

It is hardly a figure to provoke the Oakwell outfit with much cause for optimism, but assistant manager Jamie Clapham is rather more concerned with the here and now and tactical aspects of the game as opposed to history.

He said: “They are a difficult team to play. Ian Holloway is bubbly and energetic and that is the way his teams are.

“They change shapes within games and they could start with a couple of different shapes, so we have to make sure we are ready for anything.”

Barnsley at least head into the game with a triple boost following the deadline-day arrivals of Oli McBurnie, Matt Mills and Christoph Knasmullner.

With key midfielder Joe Williams available again following suspension, the visitors pick from relative strength ahead of a definitive part of the season with the Reds having plenty of work to do to retain their divisional status this season.

This task is magnified by a run of successive fixtures against rivals close by in the table with games also on the horizon against Sheffield Wednesday, Burton Albion and Birmingham City.

Clapham added: “We know that February and March are going to be huge and defining months for us. We are positive going into the rest of the season.”