After stating last week that none of QPR’s rivals look as if they’re going to be able to mount a serious challenge for the title, it looks increasingly as if Queens Park Rangers are going to give the chasing pack one last opportunity.
The circumstances surrounding the signing of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin are serious enough for the FA to have made the decision that QPR have seven charges to answer before a disciplinary enquiry. The main issue appears to be whether Faurlin’s contract actually belonged to his former club (Instituto de Cordoba, who produced Mario Kempes and Osvaldo Ardiles amongst others) when he joined QPR in July 2009; rumours and allegations of ‘third parties’ and unregistered agents have also been making the rounds.
There’s been plenty of speculation about what might happen if QPR are found guilty of the charges – points deductions and/or heavy fines have been suggested – but even though Neil Warnock had nothing to do with the signing, the ironic part of the case is that it was the current manager at Loftus Road who demanded that West Ham lost points in the aftermath of the Carlos Tevez situation in 2007.
Even if Rangers were docked ten points – the same amount Luton Town had deducted for similar offences in 2008 – they’d still be in the Championship playoff spots. Two games in less than a week is always a challenge and although there were clear winners and losers in the Championship over the past week, QPR are still in top spot.
Four teams won both games their games: with ten games to go it looks as if Leeds will at least reach the playoffs, but both Burnley and Reading can capitalise on any loss of form by the clubs immediately above them. At the other end of the table, Bristol City’s best form of the season continued with a 2-1 win over Portsmouth: Pompey’s keeper Jamie Ashdown had beaten the club’s consecutive clean sheet record by five minutes when former Barnet winger Albert Adomah opened the scoring.
Two of the current top six were amongst last week’s biggest losers. March isn’t a particularly good time to start dropping points if you’re planning on getting promoted: Nottingham Forest lost their first regular season home league game since September 2009 Saturday when a Matty Fryatt goal gave Hull the points. On Tuesday Forest lost at Sheffield United – the Blades’ first win at Bramall Lane since Christmas and their first since Mickey Adams took over. Cardiff also suffered a defeat by a bottom three side, losing to Palace on Tuesday following their televised home defeat to Ipswich on Saturday evening. Forest have now gone five games without a win, but the Bluebirds will gain some comfort from knowing that they haven’t lost three straight league games since November 2009.