Queens Park Rangers are looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday as they take on Jonathan Woodgate’s struggling Middlesbrough side at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
The R’s succumbed 2-0 to Leeds United in their last league fixture, which made it two defeats from two following on from the West London derby defeat to Brentford, prior to the game at Elland Road.
The R’s unlikely surge to the play-offs has since tailed off, as Mark Warburton’s side have lost some ground on their rivals as they sit in 9th. They will be trying to climb back up the table after no wins in their last three in the Championship – two defeats and one draw.
One negative for the side during the recent difficult spell has been the absence of central defender Yoann Barbet, who has been missing with a muscle injury.
He has missed the Brentford and Leeds fixtures, and it remains to be seen if he can make a comeback in time for Saturday’s game against the Teessiders.
The Frenchman has made 14 appearances for the R’s in all competitions this season, averaging 1.3 successful tackles per game according to WhoScored.
Whilst the 26-year-old has been on the sidelines, Warburton has tried two differing defensive shapes. Against Brentford, Grant Hall and Toni Leistner were the centre-back partnership, but the R’s boss switched it to a three against Leeds, with Lee Wallace slotting in alongside.
In the two games that Barbet has missed, QPR have conceded five. That suggests his presence is being missed.
However, could it be general defensive frailty rather than just because of the absence of one player?
QPR are yet to keep a clean sheet in 17 games this season, and have conceded at least 2 goals on 12 occasions, and that does not make for good reading.
Despite QPR’s current woes at the back, this will be a new feeling for Barbet, as his manager has said previously that his central defender has not suffered this particular muscle injury before.
What will be worse is that there has not been much information regarding the time frame he is expected to be out for, which will leave the player in limbo after a long period of having a consistent run in the team.