QPR hope to sting Hornets and cause an FA Cup shock
PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 February 2019
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Rs hope to reach quarter-finals for first time since 1995
Steve McClaren has insisted Queens Park Rangers will play without fear when they host Premier League side Watford in the FA Cup fifth round on Friday.
The Rs put their Sky Bet Championship campaign to one side this weekend as they look to cause an upset and sting the Hornets in the cup.
The west Londoners are in the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 22 years, but have not reached the quarter-finals since 1995.
With Javi Gracia’s Watford currently enjoying a good season in the Premier League, the odds are stacked against the Loftus Road club.
QPR have also been in poor form of late with a 2-1 loss at Bristol City on Tuesday night making it five straight defeats in the league.
But Rs boss McClaren still has confidence in his team to cause a shock on Friday and has urged them to give it their absolute all against Watford.
Speaking after the loss at the Robins, McClaren told journalists: “It’s a massive game for us; it’s the FA Cup, it’s Watford, who are a good team, and it’ll be a full house.
“It’s a game in which we’ve got nothing to lose and got to go for, which we intend to do.”
If QPR are to upset Watford, their chances of success may hinge on how well Matt Smith fares up top.
After being a periphery figure earlier in the season, the tall striker has hit form of late with five goals in his last six matches in all competitions.
Smith netted the Rs’ only goal at Bristol City in midweek and also scored twice in a 4-3 loss at home to Birmingham City last Saturday.
The 29-year-old’s partnership up top with Nahki Wells also appears to be flourishing and McClaren expressed delight with Smith’s recent scoring form.
“He’s not had too any opportunities, but I said when the transfer window ended that the most pleasing thing was that we kept Matt,” added the 57-year-old.
“He had been an impact player for us, but he’s had to start the last few games and he’s been a target, been very mobile and scored goals.”
Friday’s cup tie will be decided on the night after rules were introduced scrapping replays from the fifth round onwards in the FA Cup.
Winners of ties in the fifth round will win £360,000 in prize money.