MK Dons v QPR: ‘The FA Cup is special, we want to progress’
FA Cup third round: MK Dons v QPR, Saturday January 7, 3pm
Neil Warnock has insisted that QPR will be respecting the FA Cup this season despite their priority being a battle for survival in the Premier League.
Rangers head to League One high-fliers MK Dons in the third round on Saturday looking to end a cup hoodoo that has seen them not win a game in the competition since 2001.
That astonishing record could come to an end at Stadium MK on Saturday, but Warnock is set to rotate his squad with his side currently sitting in 17th place in the Premier League table.
Having already been dumped out of the Carling Cup at the first hurdle by lowly Rochdale this season, Warnock is aware that QPR fans are expecting him to try harder second time around.
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"No disrespect to the Carling Cup but the FA Cup is special and we are taking a lot of fans with us," said Warnock, who lost at the same stage last season to Blackburn Rovers.
"I'd like to progress and it won't be for the lack of trying if we don’t. It won't be a weakened team, there might be one or two changes but that’s because of injuries and one or two other things.
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"So it's an opportunity for the lads to have a go on a good surface against a good team who are looking like they’ll get promoted from League One.
"People picked up on the defeat to Rochdale, but I played about twice as many [first-teamers] as Swansea or Norwich in that round, but the press didn’t ask them the questions and I got all the flak for everything.
"I lost two players that week too, we went to Wigan without a fit full-back after it so it depends on the way you look at it."
Warnock will certainly be without Joey Barton, who will begin his three-match suspension following his red card against Norwich City on Monday.
QPR’s appeal against that decision was rejected, and Barton will miss the FA Cup game as well as the return to his former club Newcastle United on January 15 and the home clash with Wigan on January 21.
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