Simon Grayson got the chance to run a personal check on Queens Park Rangers – the weekend opponents for his Preston North End side – when they played at Barnsley this week.
QPR were beaten 3-2 by the Tykes on Wednesday night, a game the Preston manager watched from Oakwell’s main stand.
It was a lively encounter, both of the London club’s goals coming from the penalty spot, while they also had Grant Hall sent off in the last minute.
That red card will keep the defender out of North End’s visit to Loftus Road.
Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink went on to describe the game as being like ‘the Wild West’, that a dig at the standard of refereeing.
Giving his thoughts on the trip to West London, Grayson said: “It will be a tough task for us because QPR have been good so far.
“I watched them play at Barnsley the other night.
“Barnsley played well in the first half but in the second half QPR were very good.
“They have some strong players, a bit of experience.
“Loftus Road is a difficult place to go, it’s a tight pitch but we went there last year and got in our eyes a very creditable 0-0 draw.
“It wasn’t creditable in Neil Warnock’s eyes at the time but that could be probably be said of any result against his sides!
“I thought we played well down there in that game, we weathered the storm and had chances.
“If we could do the same on Saturday, then we would be more than satisfied.
“We are going there to try and win the game and get that first victory on the board.
“QPR have scored a few goals, although both goals at Barnsley were penalties and they got a penalty against Leeds on the opening day.
“That is not dismissing that; they have some good attacking players, the big lad Sebastian Polter up front is a handful.
“They have some lively players in the wide areas and Tjaronn Chery playing just behind Polter. QPR are a big football club with a big budget who have aspirations to get back into the Premier League.
“We know what to expect but hopefully we can defend properly, look a threat going forward and get a result.”
QPR started the season with a 3-0 win over Leeds, then progressed in the EFL Cup with a penalty shootout victory over Swindon.
They were 2-0 winners at Cardiff last Sunday but saw their unbeaten start ended by Barnsley – Chery and Polter both netted penalites.
While QPR were awarded the two spot kicks, an unhappy Hasselbaink turned his guns on referee Darren Bond.
He said: “Referees need to make decisions. It was like the Wild West out there, it was like people could do what they wanted.
“We are hammering players not to surround the referees. Well it’s because of referees like this.
“It’s an emotional game and you cannot have those kind of decisions made and be thinking that players are just going to stand and take that.
“In the first half we didn’t perform as we could. Barnsley were better and scored from a set-piece which was very disappointing.
“But to be fair, we started the second half well and scored two goals to take the lead, which I felt we deserved.”
“In the end, for one reason or another, we go away with nothing. It just wasn’t to be.”