Come early February, the last thing any club wants to see on their schedule is the dreaded FA Cup fourth-round replay sandwiched between league fixtures on the weekends either side, but that’s the reality for eight clubs from England’s top four divisions on Tuesday.
[ MORE: Liverpool suffer PL title slip-up in draw at West Ham ]
Fortunately for Premier League sides, the vast majority has already advanced or been knocked out, thus they’re on hiatus until the weekend. The same can’t be said for Wolverhampton Wanders (Tuesday) or Brighton & Hove Albion (Wednesday).
League One side Shrewsbury Town had their hearts broken by Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves in a 2-2 draw at Montgomery Waters Meadow 10 days ago. The PL new boys found themselves a goal down deep into stoppage time, until Matt Doherty headed home Adama Traore’s cross in the 93rd minute to force Tuesday’s replay at Molineux Stadium. Wolves’ second-leading goal scorer, Diogo Jota (five goals in PL play), will miss the game after picking up a knock in Saturday’s victory over Everton.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Championship side Brentford will host National League Premier (fifth-division) side Barnet at Griffin Park following the two side’s 3-3 draw last Monday. Brentford led 1-0 at halftime before an explosion of goals saw them fall 2-1 behind by the 53rd minute, then back in front by the 72nd, and finally level at three goals apiece following Daniel Sparkes’ sensational free kick off the underside of the crossbar.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Liverpool’s draw with West Ham ]
FA Cup fourth-round replay schedule
Tuesday — all games at 2:45 p.m. ET
Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Shrewsbury Town
Brentford v. Barnet
Queens Park Rangers v. Portsmouth
Newport County v. Middlesbrough
West Bromwich Albion v. Brighton & Hove Albion — 3:05 p.m. ET
The other shoe finally dropped in the English Football League’s case against Queens Park Rangers regarding Financial Fair Play.
QPR on Friday agreed to pay a $55 million fine to the EFL, with payments spread out over the next ten years, for breaching Financial Fair Play rules in 2014 as the club made its push to return to the Premier League. QPR also agreed to pay all the court costs – as part of the $55 million settlement – and are banned from signing new players in the January 2019 transfer window.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Ahead of the 2013-2014 season, QPR spent lavishly, signing the likes of Charlie Austin, Matt Phillips and Karl Henry, in addition to a first-team squad that already included Loic Remy, Ji-Sung Park and Adel Taraabt (all three would go out on loan). Ultimately, QPR’s nearly $100 million wage bill represented 195 percent of of the club’s revenue. Over a three-year period, Financial Fair Play regulations in the Championship state a team cannot lose more than $17 million per season.
Of course, while Financial Fair Play rules were put into place to keep clubs from overspending and harming their future, if QPR’s board and group of owners could afford to write off the costs and cover it from their other business assets, then as long as the club is in good shape, perhaps there shouldn’t have been a penalty.
In any case, it was probably worth it for QPR. Austin’s 18 goals helped drive QPR back into the Premier League, and despite lasting one season, the television and parachute payments are still keeping the club afloat.
Former Arsenal prospect Jay Simpson is landing on the shores of the U.S.A.
In a move that Philadelphia hopes will replicated Bradley Wright-Phillips’ arrival in New York, the Union have landed the 28-year-old striker from Lleyton Orient.
[ MORE: Arsenal’s Zelalem on the move? ]
Simpson was Arsenal property from 1997-2010, but only managed three League Cup appearances and two goals. He went on loan to West Brom in 2008-09, accumulating his only 13 Premier League appearances and scoring once.
The bulk of his experience has been in the Football League Championship with Hull City. He nabbed 12 goals in 78 appearances. He also played for QPR, Millwall, and most recently Leyton Orient.
“Jay brings goal-scoring prowess to our team, in addition to a valuable veteran presence, as he has demonstrated with multiple clubs in England,” said Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart. “He has played at the highest levels of club soccer, including in the Premier League, and we are excited to add a forward of his quality to our squad.”
The signing comes hot on the heels of defender Giliano Wijnaldum, the brother of Liverpool attacker Georginio Wijnaldum.
Following Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers opted to make a switch at the manager position.
[ MORE: Chelsea moves atop PL after convincing win over Everton ]
The club announced that Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will not return to coach the squad after only winning 14 of his 48 matches in charge with the Championship side. QPR currently sits 17th in the Championship table on 20 points, just six above the drop zone.
QPR didn’t reveal who would take over the club’s managerial duties in the interim, however, it’s expected that assistant manager David Oldfield will coach the team for the time being.
The 44-year-old took over at QPR midway through the 2015/16 season, and previously managed English side Burton Albion and Royal Antwerp of the Dutch second division.
We don’t write a ton about QPR U-21 players signing their professional deals, but this particular prospect has an American connection.
Born in Florida, Niko Hamalainen was part of the FC Dallas set-up before moving to Europe to try his hand abroad. That’s obviously worked, as the 19-year-old has a new deal with QPR.
[ MORE: West Ham-Man Utd recap | Watch Rashford’s goal ]
Hamalainen has represented Finland 12 times at the U-18 level, but is not cap-tied to the Scandinavian side. He was named the Most Promising Young Player in Finland by the country’s FA in 2015.
He made two appearances on loan to Dagenham and Redbridge of League Two this season. Digging through his Twitter, he travels back to the U.S. on occasion and it’s fair to guess he could be on the radar of U.S. Soccer.
“Niko’s a long way from home but has adapted well to the English game,” Technical Director, Chris Ramsey, told www.qpr.co.uk. “He’s already done well out on loan and has earned his contract through hard work and determination.”