QPR v Rochdale - Tuesday 19:45
QPR’s record in the early rounds of cup competitions is the stuff of legend. Only four times in the last 19 years (38 participations) have they gone beyond the second hurdle. The list of lower league teams who’ve scalped them is endless. That alone is a decent starting point for backing Rochdale to win inside 90 minutes at Loftus Road, just as they did on this day in 2011.
Whether Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s cultural shake-up in west London has spread to addressing this particular quirk remains to be seen but a penalty shoot-out win over Swindon in the last round suggests it’s probably not a priority. Right now, the Dutchman might be more concerned with his defensive dam bursting in the last two league outings against Barnsley and Preston.
Keith Hill blasted his Rochdale players for their naivety in the 1-0 home defeat to MK Dons on Saturday, allowing the Dons to snatch the spoils with a free header in the 95th minute. It’s a result that leaves Dale joint-bottom with one point from four games. But the Boltonian’s simmering discontent could be the catalyst for a big performance.
Rochdale need a spark from somewhere. Their season hasn’t got going yet but the shift in focus to knockout football might be just the trigger they need. As anyone who backs Dale with any sort of regularity will know, they never just sit on a one-goal lead - they always look to increase their margin of superiority. So chance a point on Rochdale to clear the -1 handicap at 13/1.