Football League World is at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday as QPR host fellow Championship strugglers Stoke City.
The R’s recent run of four consecutive league losses has left them teetering just above the relegation battle–nine points clear of the drop zone but nervously looking over their shoulders.
For much of the season, Mark Warburton’s side were defined by their open, swashbuckling style of play–among the league’s highest scorers but one of it’s leakiest defences.
However, since the exit of striker Nahki Wells late in the January window, QPR have failed to find the net once.
That goal drought extended to three games with a midweek draw against Swansea City, though their defensive resolve was a real positive.
They will undoubtedly be hoping to add goals to that clean sheet when they face the Potters on Saturday.
Michael O’Neill’s men have been languishing near the bottom of the Championship for the majority of the season but have picked up some promising results since the turn of the year.
Victories against West Bromwich Albion, Swansea and Charlton Athletic have helped them to build a four-point cushion above the relegation zone
They were comprehensively beaten by play-off chasing Preston North End in midweek but will be hoping to bounce back against the out-of-form R’s.
You’d imagine both managers will be eyeing up this one as a very winnable game, which should make it an entertaining clash in West London.
Having struggled with absences during this campaign, the hosts are boosted by being without any injuries heading into the game.
Though you feel Warburton may look to make some changes to the side that held the Swans in midweek.
In his first appearance since December, 38-year-old defender Angel Rangel played 84 minutes on Tuesday, so it seems likely Todd Kane will come in to replace him.
Marc Pugh was underwhelming against Swansea and so Warburton may look to start Tottenham loanee Jack Clarke, with dangerman Ebere Eze starting in the number 10 role.
Eze, who has 10 goals and six assists this season, and Bright Osayi-Samuel, who has four goals and four assists, look the players most likely to cause problems for Stoke, though Jordan Hugill is also a threat.
He has struggled in recent weeks but if the striker can start firing once again, it should help the R’s climb back up the table.
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Stoke are not as lucky in the injury department, with Ryan Shawcross, Stephen Ward, and Thibaud Verlinden sidelined.
The emergence of 20-year-old striker Tyrese Campbell has been key to their recent upturn in form but he may be shifted out to the left to allow Sam Vokes to come in, as O’Neill looks to freshen things up following the midweek defeat.
If the Potters can come away with three points it could see them move seven points clear of relegation, which would be a huge boost for their survival aspirations.
QPR desperately need a win to kick-start their season and stop their recent slide.
Saturday’s meeting at the KPF gives both sides a realistic chance of picking up what could be a vital win, which should make it an engaging encounter.