QPR St. Andrews bound
QPR travel to the midlands this weekend to take on Birmingham City at St Andrews in a match where both teams need a win.
Birmingham suffered defeat again during the week to Preston North End and have now lost four out of their last five league games. But Rangers are also struggling, winning just one of their last six.
The Blues started the season really well but have tailed off since. The surprise dismissal of manager Gary Rowett has so far not had the desired impact with Birmingham dropping from 7th to 14th since Rowett left the club in the middle of December.
Former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is now the manager of the Blues and he will hoping for a strong end to the season but Birmingham are now 15 points off the play-offs so a more realistic target would be a top half finish.
Like Rangers a lack of goals has been Birmingham’s Achilles heel this season. The Blues have scored 33 this campaign, which is just three more than Rangers and have also suffered five away defeats. This is despite the fact that top goal scorer Lukas Jutkiewicz has found the net 11 times this season.
It ended all square when the two sides met at Loftus Road this season in a game where QPR should have picked up all three points.
Holloway will be hoping to see more of the same of the second half performance against Huddersfield where the Hoops were unfortunate not to come from two goals down and get a point.
It’s been a frustrating few weeks for Ollie and the boys. Granted the R’s were poor against Burton Albion but did not get the rub of the green against Blackburn and before that conceded a late equaliser to Fulham. However with teams below QPR starting to pick up some wins, Rangers need to get back to the kind of form they were showing at the turn of the year.
QPR: Joel Lynch (hamstring) and Ravel Morrison (match fitness) could be in line to return for QPR after missing last weekend's game against Huddersfield Town. Jack Robinson (hamstring) and Steven Caulker (hip) remain out.
Birmingham: Michael Morrison, Clayton Donaldson, Craig Gardner and David Davis are all unavailable for Birmingham City, while Jacques Maghoma and Ryan Shotton are rated as doubtful to feature.
Predicted line up: Kuszczak, Nsue, Bielik, Grounds, Keita, Kieftenbeld, Gleeson, Koyunlu, Cogley, Adams, Jutkiewicz.
Key Player: Lukas Jutkiewicz – The forward seems to have found a home at Birmingham City and is already in double figures for goals scored this season.
PRE MATCH TALK
Marc Bircham: "If we keep putting in the performances we have been, then our fortunes will change. Just because things haven’t gone our way, it shouldn’t change how we feel about our performances. We need to go into this game with confidence and belief."
Gianfranco Zola: “We don’t want to talk very much, I just ask that we look at ourselves and try to do better. We have to dig in a little bit and start performing better than what we are doing. It’s important that we be all together again and I know that’s difficult at this moment but now we need the fans behind us more than ever for the game against QPR at our home.”
QPR win: 11/5
QPR first goal scorer: Idrissa Sylla 6/1
Birmingham first goal scorer: Lukas Jutkiewicz 4/1
LAST TIME OUT
QPR 1-1 Birmingham City - Championship, Saturday 24th September 2016
QPR goal-scorers: Steven Caulker
Birmingham goal-scorers: Lukas Jutkiewicz
HEAD TO HEAD
(In all competitions)
QPR wins: 18
Birmingham wins: 22
Referee: Andy Davies
Assistant Referees: Paul Hodskinson and Daniel Leach
Fourth official: John Busby
Remaining mild throughout. Rather cloudy but mainly dry. 7% chance of rain.
SATURDAY'S OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES
Barnsley v Brighton & Hove Albion
Burton Albion v Norwich City
Cardiff City v Rotherham United
Ipswich Town v Leeds United
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday
Wigan Athletic v Preston North End