Two of the very few EFL clubs with a three word title face each other at Loftus Road this weekend.
North End will be squeezing themselves into the compact home ground of the Super Hoops for the 19th time, hoping to add to our record of only four victories to date, in addition to seven draws.
The vast majority of our meetings have come in the last half century, with only two games both home and away before 1967 and ten since 2000.
We first ventured to west London in 1949 and secured a goalless draw before recording our biggest win to date 15 months later as we triumphed 4-1. In a superb example of the fixture planner’s art, that game took place on Christmas Day and was made even worse for players, officials and fans alike as both teams had to face each other again the following day here in Lancashire. Not considering the fans is clearly far from being a modern phenomenon!
We then went our separate ways for 18 years before starting a run of seven games without a North End win, although we did secure four draws.
We visited twice in 2005 and won both before last season’s 2-0 win brought another six game winless streak to an end. Scorelines have been generally tight, with our 18 goals (one a game) not much exceeded by Rangers’ 24 goals and there have been four goalless draws. Our 4-0 defeat nine years ago was our heaviest loss and we have also conceded three times on three occasions.
Gareth Ainsworth is one of a number of attacking players to have featured for both clubs and of course, Gareth also spent a spell in charge at Loftus Road before taking over at Wycombe Wanderers where he faced us earlier this year in the FA Cup third round. QPR were the eighth of his nine league clubs and he is almost a fondly regarded there as he is at Deepdale.
Others to have scored for both clubs and gained a place on the affections of both sets of fans include Danny Dichio, Paul Magee, Brett Angell, Akpo Sodje and Michael Robinson.
At the other end of the pitch, Clark Carlisle, Marlon Broomes, Wayne Brown and Alex Baptiste have worn our lilywhite shirt and the hoops of the Rs.
On This Day
Goalkeeper Wayne Henderson began what was to prove a frustrating spell at Deepdale on this date in 2007. Signed from Brighton, he featured in the last four games of the 2006/07 season and started the following season as No.1 before sustaining a back injury that ultimately ended his career.
After several operations, he spent the second half of 2009/10 on loan at Grimsby and seemed to be on his way back, but he only made two more appearances for North End before he was forced to call time on his playing career aged only 26.
Wayne is from a family of keepers, with his father and two brothers well known in the League of Ireland and his nephew Stephen is currently on loan with Portsmouth from Nottingham Forest. He is now a football intermediary and looks after both Sean Maguire and Daryl Horgan!
Club stalwart George Ross made the last of his 441 appearances for North End on this date in 1973, the day before his 30th birthday and more than 12 years from his debut. Sadly he could not mark his birthday with a win as we went down 2-0 on the Fylde coast and George left for Southport in the summer, having played at Wembley in our 1964 FA Cup Final side and being a key component of the 1971 third division championship squad.
George continued to work at the club for many years after retiring from playing and passed away in 2016 shortly after acting as a matchday host in the Invincibles lounge. Tomorrow would have been George’s 75th birthday, an anniversary he shared with Alan Browne who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Sunday.
Last Five Games At Loftus Road
Queens Park Rangers 0 Preston North End 2 (Beckford, Onuoha (og)), 20th August 2016
Queens Park Rangers 0 Preston North End 0, 7th November 2015
Queens Park Rangers 3 (Hulse, Taarabt, 2) Preston North End 1 (Connolly (og)), 20th November 2010
Queens Park Rangers 4 (Taarabt, Buzsaky (p), Simpson, Routledge) Preston North End 0, 17th October 2009
Queens Park Rangers 3 (Helguson, 2; Blackstock) Preston North End 2 (Sedgwick, Davidson (p)), 20th December 2008