Behind Enemy Lines: Queens Park Rangers

MILLWALL take on QPR who they haven’t lost to at home since 1990.

The Lions can close the gap to the Hoops to a point with a game in hand if they win tonight.

Lucas Ball spoke to Chris Hermitage ahead of the London derby.

Why do you support QPR?

My Dad is a QPR fan but he never forced the Super Hoops upon me.

My first game at Loftus Road was a 4-3 win against Wycombe with three penalties and two sendings-off in the old Division Two. I never looked back from there.

What’s been your favourite season following the Rs?

The Championship-winning season in 2010-11.

Adel Taarabt tore up the league and fans never expected a title challenge going into that season under Neil Warnock.

He built a team around a star player who might have an attitude but his talent was unbelievable and watching him every week was a joy.

It was a great combination of professionals: Shaun Derry and Clint Hill, and the talents of Taarabt and Ajejandro Faurlin.

Kyle Walker was on loan for half that season and you could see from that point he'd be a future England right-back.

And the worst?

Relegation from the Premier League in the 2012-13 season.

Bottom of the league, four wins all season, players who couldn't care less.

Jose Bosingwa, £12 million on Chris Samba…I think I'll stop there.

So few positives all season and the whole time we spent in the Premier League since winning the league in 2011 gives QPR fans bad memories.

We became a club no fan recognised as "their" Rangers. Every club should basically copy Burnley when getting promoted but the attraction of spending all that money sucks clubs in. Look at Fulham this year.

What were your thoughts on Steve McClaren’s sacking?

Not a surprise at all. The run of onw win in 15 games was dreadful and losing at home to Rotherham and Bolton is unforgivable.

If he had won those two games he would still be in a job and we'd have been 17 points clear with no danger of getting relegated and we could look forward to next season.

When he was brought in I didn't think he would make it past Christmas so by those standards he did well to nearly survive a whole season. But lack of squad rotation and poor substitutions on a consistent basis led to this poor run and his dismissal.

His teams always fade around March so it's something he needs to look at.

Do you expect QPR to avoid the drop?

Just. I had a look at Reading's fixtures today and they are really tough. We will survive simply due to the fact there are worse teams below us and we had a great run earlier in the season to get to 40 points.

The Lions are of course also battling to stay in the division – do you expect them to avoid the drop?

Yes, I'm confident Millwall will survive.

Four out of your remaining six are at home and considering The Den is a tough place to go I feel you'll get enough points when you need them in order to stay up.

The fixture at Loftus Road was a relatively comfortable 2-0 win for the hosts – how much of a different challenge are you expecting at The Den?

I've got a mate who's a Millwall fan and I messaged him after that game expressing my surprise at how easy we had it in the home game.

Nakhi Wells and Ebere Eze were linking up well at that stage of the season but in the past few months they've both gone off the boil. That’s added to the fact we can't defend anymore.

Our away form has been poor for quite a few years now, we rarely make it difficult for teams and frustrate them for large periods which is exactly how we should play.

I expect Millwall to have been boosted by the win against West Brom and know a win against us gives them a huge chance of survival.

Which of the Rs’ players will the Lions need to pay most attention to?

On current form not many.

Bright Osayi-Samuel has been the bright spark for us in 2019 and he should be starting every game now.

It's becoming a joke amongst fans that whenever Bright does something positive that will result in him being punished and put on the bench. He's a very quick winger with good feet who has come on a lot since the start of the season. He will be a key player for us next season.

Luke Freeman is our player of the season, though, and we need to enjoy his last few games before we are forced to sell him in the summer. Freeman can drag us to get results and always wants the ball.

Likewise, which Millwall players are you worried about facing?

Lee Gregory is always a player to fear, good movement and an eye for goal.

Priority number one would be keeping him quiet.

What are your thoughts on Neil Harris?

The right man for this job would be my overriding thoughts.

Great story having recovered from cancer and I can't imagine any Millwall fan disliking having a club legend in the manager’s seat.

If you could sign one of his players, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Gregory considering he's a consistent goal scorer who always causes problems for defenders.

No chance we sign him but with Wells going back to Burnley in the summer after his loan spell finishes, a goal scorer is what we need.

What’s your predicted QPR starting XI and formation?

4-2-3-1/4-1-4-1 depending on how you look at our shape.

Lumley; Rangel, Furlong, Leistner, Bidwell; Cameron; Wszolek, Luongo, Freeman, Osayi-Samuel; Wells.

Will you be at the game on Wednesday night?

I will not be there, no.

Finally, what’s your score prediction?

I think QPR lose 2-0.

Pessimistic but also realistic. We will be hoping Rotherham and Reading lose just as much as hoping we manage to get something from the game.

Graphic: @ShedCreative