Queens Park Rangers host Middlesbrough in the Championship tomorrow, as Mark Warburton’s side look to avoid a third-straight defeat in the league.
Consecutive defeats and in need of a win before the international break – QPR were in this same situation last month.
Before the October international break, QPR beat Blackburn Rovers 4-2 after back-to-back defeats, and tomorrow they’ll look to do the same against Jonathan Woodgate’s Boro, who sit 22nd in the Championship.
Boro will look for just their 2nd win in 11 Championship games tomorrow, and face a QPR side who’s home form hasn’t been all that impressive this season – 11 points taken from eight games.
Warburton though will be expecting nothing short of a win tomorrow, and what’d be an added bonus for him is a clean sheet which would be their first of the season.
QPR are the only side in the league yet to keep one and have conceded a whopping 28 goals from 15 games – 9 more than Boro have.
It’ll be an interesting affair at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium tomorrow, and here we take a look at two ways QPR can hurt Boro:
Keep Assombalonga quiet
Boro’s biggest threat is Britt Assombalonga. The Congolese striker is a recognised finisher at Championship level having returned 14+ league goals in each of his last three seasons.
This time around though, as his team struggles so does he – he’s scored only three so far this season, the last one coming in August.
Nevertheless, he remains a threat for QPR tomorrow, and their best chance of keeping a clean sheet will be to keep close tabs on Assombalonga.
Warburton will more than likely don a back-five tomorrow and with three centre-backs on the pitch, they should be able to keep the 26-year-old at bay and keep that inaugural clean sheet.
Overload on set-pieces
Set-pieces haven’t been in a huge source of QPR’s goals this season, but they may look to it against Boro tomorrow.
In Boro’s 2-0 loss to Derby County last time out, one thing stood out which was how short Woodgate’s side is.
On corners, free-kicks and so on, the Derby players dwarfed Boro’s and QPR should look to overload the box on these tomorrow.
They’ve got some big players capable of winning the ball in the air – Jordan Hugill can score with his head, and will look for his seventh Championship goal of the season tomorrow, whilst centre-back Grant Hall has netted twice with his head this year.
For all of QPR’s attacking play, they could do Boro a lot of damage in more simpler ways tomorrow by putting numbers into the box on set-plays. It might not be the entertainment that fans are accustomed to this season, but it’ll do the job.