Queens Park Rangers and Reading at Loftus Road

Return of Furlong

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Queens Park Rangers holds a minute's applause ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Reading. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

 Simon Cheshire
Simon Cheshire

By Simon Cheshire

With Darnell Furlong missing through injury Steve McClaren must have feared the worst when 36 year old Àngel Rangel was ruled out for up to eight weeks.

But Furlong has slotted back in without any questions asked, and has played a pivotal role in another upturn in form for the Rs.

With back to back wins against promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest, before Boxing Day delight over relegation strugglers Ipswich Town - more recently he played an important role in helping keeping a clean sheet against Reading.

It explains the maturity levels Furlong has reached, that he can be missing for a long period of time through injury, and instantly slot straight back into the side.

As mentioned, during this time the Rs ground out a huge win at home to Middlesbrough, before claiming an historic victory at the City Ground thanks to Toni Leistner’s first half effort.

Moving on to Boxing Day and Rangers dodged any Christmas hangover as two first half goals from Pawel Wszolek and Joel Lynch set them on their way. Nahki Wells then finished off what was the move of the game, if not the move of the season.

The Super Hoops completed 20 consecutive passes, before Ilias Chair pulled it back for Wells to superbly smash home – and round off what was a fine festive afternoon in west London.

Going into Saturday’s game against relegation threatened Reading, Rangers were eyeing up the playoffs with a chance to move sixth very much on the horizon.

With Leistner rocketing two efforts onto the crossbar, and Luke Freeman’s wonderful volleyed effort well saved, Steve McClaren's side began to realise it wasn’t going to be their day.

Thankfully, late on, Joe Lumley ensured a share of the spoils remained in W12 as he produced a fine save in the dying minutes from Jón Dadi Bödvarsson.

Both sides went away from this game relatively happy with a point, and QPR will aim to use this a building block in what will hopefully be a successful 2019.

They can also reflecting on what a positive year 2018 had been for the club.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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