Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. QPR
OPPOSITION FOCUS | IN THE DUGOUT
Queens Park Rangers’ manager is Neil Critchley, who was appointed this month, following previous head coach Michael Beale’s move to Rangers.
Critchley’s coaching career began at Crewe Alexandra, before where he was later appointed joint Academy Director in 2007, prior to his move to Liverpool in 2013, where he coached the U18s.
After four years in the role, Critchley then became manager of the U23s, standing in as first-team manager on two occasions, in an EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa and in an FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town.
In March 2020, Critchley was appointed as head coach of Blackpool, where his first full season brought great success. After finishing third in the table, the Tangerines won promotion via the League One play-offs.
However, he departed Bloomfield Road in June 2022, becoming Steven Gerrard’s assistant at Aston Villa. Following Gerrard’s departure in October this year, Critchley also left the club, prior to his recent move to the R’s.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | KEY PLAYER
Rangers’ positive league campaign so far has been largely contributed to by the form of winger Chris Willock.
The 24-year-old has netted six goals in 15 appearances this season, averaging a goal every 184 minutes, with a shot accuracy of 58%.
Willock began his career at Arsenal, signing for the Gunners’ academy when he was just five years old. In June 2017, the winger made the switch to Portugal, signing for Benfica.
During his time with the Eagles, Willock had two loan spells in the Championship with West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town.
Returning to England on a permanent spell in October 2020, Willock joined QPR for a reported £750,000 and has since impressed at Loftus Road, earning the club’s Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player of the Year award last season.
CLUB CONNECTION | ALBERT ADOMAH
The Boxing Day fixture will potentially see the Bluebirds face off against former winger Albert Adomah, who signed for the R’s in 2020.
Adomah had a spell on loan with City in the 2019/2020 season, signing on a six-month loan deal on deadline day in the January transfer window.
The winger quickly became a popular figure with the fanbase, as a brilliant end to the campaign, winning seven of the final ten fixtures, saw the Bluebirds gain a play-off place, where they were narrowly defeated by Fulham.
Since joining QPR, Adomah has amassed over 70 league appearances, scoring five goals.
CITY FLASHBACK | CITY NET THREE IN CLINICAL DISPLAY
The Bluebirds welcomed Queens Park Rangers to Cardiff City Stadium in October 2019 looking to continue their unbeaten home record in the Championship campaign.
Neil Warnock’s side proved too strong, as a brilliant performance saw City record a 3-0 victory.
Despite the visitors having the most of possession, the Bluebirds were clinical from set-pieces, as Sean Morrison’s looping header opened the scoring.
Midfielder Marlon Pack tapped home a second from an excellent Gavin Whyte cross, as City took control of proceedings.
In the second-half, Leandro Bacuna found Callum Paterson, whose brilliant strike added a third for the Bluebirds in one of City’s most impressive performances against QPR in recent times.