QPR aim to end poor run at Fulham
QPR make the very short trip to Craven Cottage for an early Saturday kick-off against west London rivals Fulham.
It’s fair to say our record in the derby in the last few years has been poor but Saturday gives us an opportunity to put things right against a Fulham side who haven’t won in six league game. Despite our recent poor form, performances have improved in the last two games and the R’s can consider themselves unlucky to not pick up three points against Burton Albion and Birmingham City.
After flying out of the blocks and winning their first two games of the season, including victory over much fancied Newcastle United, the Cottagers have struggled for both form and goals this month. They were humbled 4-0 at home to Bristol City and were also beaten in their back yard by Birmingham City.
However things can change very quickly in football and the Whites are not a team that should be underestimated especially as in their last game against Nottingham Forest - where only poor finishing cost them a deserved three points - they dominated most of the 2nd half.
It’s been a frustrating few years for our west London rivals following relegation in 2014. Since then they have had two very mediocre league campaigns in which they have finished near the bottom of the table in both seasons and have had five managers in the last three years.
Serbian Slaviša Jokanović, who got Watford promoted to the Premier League back in 2015, has been at the helm for nine months after taking over from Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv. The 48-year-old brought in 14 players during the summer including Scottish international Chris Martin from Derby County and Sone Aluko from Hull City.
They usually tend to try and dominate teams by overloading their midfield whilst also using their technical quality to control games.
QPR: Left-back Jake Bidwell (dislocated shoulder) is out. Midfielder Jordan Cousins (hamstring) is a doubt, while defender James Perch (knee) is also unavailable.
Fulham: Fulham will once again be without suspended midfielder Kevin McDonald. Tomas Kalas and Floyd Ayite are doubts, while full-back Ryan Fredericks (ankle) is yet to appear this season.
Predicted line up: Button, Odoi, Sigurdsson, Kalas, Malone, Parker, Tunnicliffe, Piazon, Cairney, Aluko, Smith.
Key Player: Tom Cairney – The stylish midfielder is always looking to get on the ball and make something happen. The 25-year-old is also Fulham’s top goal-scorer this season.
PRE MATCH TALK
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: "Derbies are a bit special. For the fans and the players. These are the games you want to be involved in as a professional, and the players are looking forward to it. I think it will be a very energetic game. It is a very important match, for them and for us. We know how much it means to the fans. And it means a lot to the players and the owners too."
Tom Cairney: “QPR is going to be a really tough one. We’ve got to do our basics right like we did against Forest. The gaffer made us take a few steps back and do what we did at the start of the season, like concentrating without the ball first and then everything else will follow, and that’s what we did. I think that’s what we’ve got to start doing at home and hopefully our quality will come through.”
QPR win: 23/20
QPR first goal scorer: Tjaronn Chery 5/1
Fulham first goal scorer: Chris Martin 5/1
LAST TIME OUT
QPR 1-3 Fulham - Saturday 13th February - Loftus Road
QPR scorers: Chery
Fulham scorers: McCormack, Dembele, Cairney
HEAD TO HEAD
(In all competitions)
QPR wins: 13
Fulham wins: 15
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant Referees: Andy Halliday and Mick
Fourth official: Keith Stroud
SATURDAY’S OTHER LEAGUE FIXTURES
All matches kick-off at 3pm unless otherwise stated.
Birmingham v Blackburn
Brentford v Wigan
Bristol City v Nottm Forest
Burton v Cardiff
Ipswich v Huddersfield
Leeds v Barnsley
Preston v Aston Villa
Reading v Derby
Rotherham v Newcastle
Sheff Wed v Brighton
Wolves v Norwich (5:30pm)