James Heneghan's Queens Park Rangers v Northampton Town preview
Fixture: Queens Park Rangers v Northampton Town, Carabao Cup first round
Date/time: Tuesday, August 8, 7.45pm kick-off
Venue: Loftus Road
Forecast: 16C, showers
Outs and doubts: QPR: Grant Hall (tendonitis), Jordan Cousins (hamstring). Cobblers: John-Joe O’Toole (groin), Brendan Moloney (hamstring), Shaun McWilliams (ankle), Sam Hoskins (knee), Sam Foley (ankle)
Betting: QPR 8/15, draw 3/1, Northampton 5/1
Likely line-ups: QPR: Ingram, Furlong, Onuoha, Lynch, Robinson, Borysiuk, Manning, Goss, Ngbakoto, Smith, Sylla. Northampton: Cornell, Barnett, A Taylor, Poole, Phillips, Kasim, Crooks, Smith, Waters, Revell, Long
Man in the middle: Charles Breakspear
Last time out: QPR 2 (Washington 2) Reading 0; Shrewsbury 1 (John-Lewis) Northampton 0
Most recent meeting: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 – QPR 3 (Cook, Gallen, Jones) Northampton 2 (Watt, Kirk)
Record v QPR: P65 W30 D9 L26
James Heneghan’s preview: The League Cup, or Carabao Cup as it is now known, will rarely rank high on the list of priorities but it does provide managers with an early opportunity to extensively test out their new-look squads in a competitive fixture.
That certainly applies to Justin Edinburgh who will no doubt use tonight’s tie at Queens Park Rangers as a chance to give a few of his new boys their first official run-outs for the Cobblers.
While seven started for the first time on Saturday, four of the other five – minus the injured Sam Foley – will be hoping to get their opportunity to shine this evening.
The introduction of Yaser Kasim and Chris Long into Saturday’s defeat to Shrewsbury coincided with an improved team performance and they could both be in from the start at Loftus Road.
Regan Poole, Leon Lobjoit and George Smith are still awaiting their debuts as Northampton seek a swift response to a Saturday’s disappointing season-opener.
But as well as rotating his options, Edinburgh will also be keen to strike the right balance because this is a competition that has given Northampton some of their best moments in recent years.
They boast a remarkable record in the EFL Cup having knocked out nine higher-ranked sides in the last six years, including West Brom last season, which led to a glamour tie against Manchester United, and so famously Liverpool in 2010.
Tonight, the Cobblers are without the same five who missed Saturday’s game at Shrewsbury, though Edinburgh is hopeful that ‘one or two’ of John-Joe O’Toole, Brendan Moloney and Shuan McWilliams will be back in contention for the visit of Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
There have been more meetings between these two clubs than some might think, with tonight’s game the 66th time they’ve come up against one another – albeit only the eighth since 1963.
Town edge the overall record by 30 wins to 26, although it’s been 11 years since they last met when it was Ray Jones’ late winner that saw QPR through in the Carling Cup.
Looking ahead to their latest meeting, QPR reporter Phil Spencer, from Get West London, gives his verdict from the Loftus Road...
What to expect from QPR
It’s likely to be a similar looking QPR side to that seen last season, with just one senior recruit joining the ranks over the summer.
That new signing comes in the shape of former Barnsley man Josh Scowen, who looks to have slotted into the squad seamlessly and will add a crucial balance of physical presence and ability on the ball which Ian Holloway will be looking for.
Key absentees on Tuesday night will be Grant Hall and Jordan Cousins, who both miss the game through injury, while Steven Caulker is one to keep an eye on after his return to first team training after his problems off the field.
He completed 70 minutes last week in a friendly with Billericay Town and the clash with the Cobblers could be an ideal re-introduction into the first team fold.
Confidence is high at Loftus Road after a well deserved 2-0 victory over Reading on Saturday, where former Peterborough United forward Conor Washington grabbed a brace, and the West London side will certainly not be taking the challenge of facing Northampton Town lightly.
Ian Holloway will most likely make a number of changes for the Carabao Cup clash. The likes of Ryan Manning, Sean Goss, Matt Smith, Idrissa Sylla,Jack Robinson and Yeni Ngbakoto were high profile absentees on Saturday so may get a run out, while a number of the club’s promising youngsters such as Darnell Furlong, Niko Hamalainen and Ebere Eze could also be in line to appear.
Certainly not a foregone conclusion as QPR have struggled in the cup in recent years. Northampton pose a potential banana skin for Holloway’s side but I’d back the Hoops to advance with a 2-0 victory.
James Heneghan’s prediction: QPR 2 Northampton 1