Meet the opposition | Queens Park Rangers
As Swansea City get set to head to Loftus Road to take on Queens Park Rangers on Saturday (3pm), we take a closer look at the Rs.
What’s their story?
As is perhaps indicated by their name, Rangers played home matches at as many as 20 grounds between their formation in 1886 and finally settling at Loftus Road in 1917.
Three years later, in 1920, they joined the Football League and they achieved their highest league finish in the 1975-76 season when they were confirmed as First Division runners-up. This earned them a place in the Uefa Cup the following year where they reached the quarter-finals; their best run in a European competition.
Other achievements include lifting the League Cup in 1967 and reaching the FA Cup final in 1982. They were most recently in the Premier League during the 2014-15 season.
How’s their form?
Rangers have endured a difficult stretch, winning just one of their last dozen games in all competitions.
They have not won at home since October, with that solitary victory coming at Preston shortly after the Championship campaign resumed in mid-December.
Their recent run has included the loss of manager Mick Beale to Glasgow Rangers in early December.
Who’s the gaffer?
Neil Critchley. The Crewe-born former Liverpool academy coach joined Rangers in December as he replaced Beale in the Loftus Road hotseat.
Prior to that role with the Merseyside club, Critchley had coached their under-18s for four years after a period of six years as academy director at Crewe Alexandra.
His first taste of senior football management came when he took charge of a young Liverpool side in a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie against Aston Villa while Jurgen Klopp and the bulk of the senior squad competed in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December 2019.
He went on to take the reins at Blackpool in March 2020, and led them to promotion to the Championship via the play-offs before establishing them in the second tier.
He left Bloomfield Road to join Steven Gerrard’s coaching staff at Villa, but moved on to the Rs after leaving Villa Park alongside the ex-Liverpool skipper.
Who’s the captain?
Stefan Johansen. The 31-year-old was handed the armband after making the permanent switch to west London at the start of the 2021-22 season. However, a heel injury has seen him sidelined over the past couple of months.
The former Norway skipper began his career at FK Bodo and made his debut aged 16. He later moved to Stromsgodset IF before switching to the UK and signing for Celtic, where he won three league titles
He went on to move south of the boarder to join Fulham, making more than 100 appearances and being part of two promotions to the Premier League. He had loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and then QPR before making a permanent move to Loftus Road.
Who are the key men?
Belgium-born Morocco international, Ilias Chair began his senior career with Lierse making his first appearance at the age of 17. Two years later, in 2017, he completed a successful trial at QPR and signed permanently in January.
He has made more than 175 appearances in QPR colours. He adds creativity and firepower and has so far contributed with four goals and six assists this season.
Standing at 6ft 4in, Swiss-born Senegalese goalkeeper Seny Dieng is an imposing figure in the QPR goal, and has proven himself to be a key performer for the London side since taking the number one spot during the 2020-21 season. He was named players’ player of the year last season.
He was part of the African Cup of Nations winning Senegal side, starting the first two games of the tournament due to Chelsea’s Édouard Mendy producing a positive Covid test.
The 27-year-old has actually been on the scoresheet this season after heading in a dramatic late equaliser against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Defender Jimmy Dunne, a Manchester United academy product, joined Burnley’s youth set-up in 2016. He progressed to the senior team a year later and enjoyed successful loans at a series of club’s before moving to QPR permanently in 2021.
The centre-back earned plenty of plaudits during his first season at Loftus Road and has been a key figure so far this season, and has already chipped in with two goals from the back.