Damien Delaney has blasted the singling out of Gavin Mahon for barracking on Saturday and rejected the idea that Rangers are starting to lose touch with the playoffs, writes Robert Smigielski.

The Rs were well below par at the weekend when a 3-1 home defeat by Ipswich dented their promotion aspirations.

It was the fourth home game running in which points have been dropped and some fans vented frustration at coach Paulo Sousa for the first time .

They accused him of not knowing what he was doing when he substituted Liam Miller rather than an out-ofsorts Gavin Mahon.

Individual errors and a lack of cohesion littered the performance and the crowd turned on Mahon as their frustration grew.

"We know it wasn't good enough, from one through to 11, but it's shame when the fans get on our backs," the Irish international told the Gazette.

"We try and shut it out, but it's not a nice thing to happen, especially when certain individuals who get the brunt of it. It's very unfair.

"But as professionals we have to step up to the plate, put that to one side, carry on and do the best that we can."

Delaney added: "The manager wasn't pleased after the game and you can see why - the performance wasn't good enough, and it wasn't like us at all.

"We may not have played well recently, but at least we were solid and keeping clean sheets.

"To come here today and concede three goals is unacceptable - not just as a backfour, but as a unit. We played terrible.

"We have to learn from this, go back and watch the DVD, and see what we have to work and improve on.

"But I don't think it's an uphill struggle to reach the play-offs now. We are still in it."A win would've been fantastic, but it didn't work out that way. It is what it is, and we'll keep plugging away."

It all started so brightly for the Rs when on three minutes, Wayne Routledge danced his way around Ben Thatcher and picked out Samuel Di Carmine, who clinically half-volleyed in his third goal of the season.

Although tasting blood, Rangers struggled to make the kill the Loftus Road faithful demanded, and whatever momentum the team gained was cancelled on 14 minutes when David Norris' shot ricocheted into the path of Jon Stead, who nipped in front of Lee Camp to level the scores.

Ipswich took the lead in the second half on 60 minutes when Pablo Counago jinked his way across the Rangers penalty box and curled an unstoppable shot past Camp.

Paulo Sousa responded by sending on top-scorer Dexter Blackstock for Delaney on 67 minutes, but three minutes later Alan Quinn sent a missile-guided ball over to Jon Walters who finished calmly past Camp to secure the points for Town.

When Sousa gave his dice a final roll by hauling off Miller for Angelo Balanta on 73 minutes, the chant of 'You don't know what you're doing'rang out from a large section of the fans.

"When you go 1-0 up after four minutes you should go strength to strength, but we didn't," said Delaney. "We sat back and looked nervous, which allowed Ipswich back into the game.

Match Summary QPR (1) 1 IPSWICH TN (1) 3 Line-up: Camp; Connolly, Hall, Gorkss, Delaney (Blackstock 67); Routledge, Leigertwood, Mahon, Miller (Balanta 73), Cook; Di Carmine (Helguson 55). Subs not used: Stewart, Alberti. Att: 13,904 GOALS: Di Carmine (3), Stead (14), Counago (61), Walters (70).

MoM: Pablo Counago 


Oakwell Saturday 3pm Championship

Manager: Simon Davey Position last season: 18th Form Guide: Last weekend's disappointing 0-0 draw at home to rock-bottom Charlton has cranked up relegation anxieties at Oakwell. The Tykes have only a three-point cushion above the bottom three and home form is modest - with six wins and six defeats. They have won only once in seven games (1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday) and gone four home matches without victory - the last time being in December. The wins have come against Derby (2-0),Doncaster (4-1),Sheff Wed (2-1),Watford (2-1),Burnley (3-2) and Plymouth (2-0). Home defeats have come against Coventry (1-2), Cardiff (0-1),Sheff Utd (1-2), Reading (0-1),Southampton (0-1) and Ipswich (1-2).

Players to look out for: Iranian midfielder Andranik is on loan from Fulham as is Coventry striker Michael Mifsud.

Most recent meetings: QPR 2-1 Barnsley (9 Aug 2008); Barnsley 0-0 QPR (26 Feb 2008); QPR 2-0 Barnsley (19 Jan 2007) - Championship.

Head-to-head record: BFC Wins: 13 QPR Wins: 20 Draws: 10 [25a0] Match Facts: Two goals from Fitz Hall gave Rangers an opening day win against Barnsley at Loftus Road and the Hoops have lost only once in the last eight meetings between the sides. That said, you have to go back to September 1996 to find the last Rangers win at Oakwell (3-1) and there have been three draws and four defeats since then. That modest return for the Rs is in stark contrast to the home record. Barnsley have lost on their last six visits to Loftus Road and their only win was a 5-0 rout in west London 59 years ago.

Forecast: A winnable game for Rangers, but after the dent to confidence last weekend, they may settle for a point.


Loftus Road Tuesday 8pm Championship

Manager: Bryan Gunn Position last season: 17th Form Guide: The Canaries - perched in the bottom three - are without a win in six games going into this weekend's home match against Coventry. Gunn took over from Glenn Roeder in January but a 4-0 home win over Barnsley remains his only success so far. Norwich have lost 11 times on the road and their only wins to date have come at Plymouth (2-1) and Forest (2-1),although they came away with draws from Cardiff (2-2),Barnsley (0-0),Doncaster (1-1) and leaders Wolves (3-3). Players to look out for: Former Rangers striker Jamie Cureton was on target in last week's 1-1 draw at home to Burnley. Former Newcastle and Wolves striker Carl Cort is trying to revive his career after being released by Leicester City in January last year.

Most recent meetings: Norwich C 0-1 QPR (17 Sep 2008); Norwich C 3-0 QPR (26 Apr 2008); QPR 1-0 Norwich C (8 Oct 2007) - Championship.

Head-to-head record: QPR Wins: 38 NC Wins: 41 Draws: 32 [25a0] Match Facts: This will be the 112th meeting between the clubs, whose rivalry dates back to 1910. Martin Rowlands scored the winner when the teams met at Carrow Road in September, but Norwich were the last team to achieve a double - which included a 3-2 win at Loftus Road on Boxing Day 2000. Rangers have not achieved the feat since the 1983/4 season.

Forecast: Rangers are badly in need of a win to re-establish themselves on home soil following two draws and a defeat. Norwich would appear to be perfect fall guys.

Gazetteforecast success rate: 18 correct out of 36 b4 CARDIFF (50%)