Queens Park Rangers will look to dent West Bromwich Albion’s automatic promotion hopes (5/4 -To be Promoted – Championship 2018-19) and gain a measure of revenge for their 7-1 defeat at the Hawthorns when the two sides meet again at Loftus Road on Tuesday.
QPR were clobbered by the Baggies in August as goals from Matt Phillips (2), Jay Rodriguez (2), Dwight Gayle, Keiran Gibbs and Hal Robson-Kanu condemned the R’s to their worst defeat for 31 years.
Some QPR fans demanded refunds so humiliating was the loss which ensured the club had made their worst-ever start to a season and left Steve McClaren’s job seemingly hanging by a thread.
QPR picked themselves up and went on a superb run which saw them lose only five more Championship matches between September and January, but they are now on a five-match losing sequence and in need of a similar pick-me-up.
Whether they can achieve it against one of the highest scoring sides in the country remains to be seen but they do have good news in the form of Gayle’s suspension.
The 16-goal Albion frontman will sit out this match – the second of his two-game suspension for deception when winning a penalty against Nottingham Forest.
Baggies captain Chris Brunt is still struggling with the calf injury he picked up in training last week so Darren Moore could name a very similar line-up to the one that won 2-0 against rivals Aston Villa on Saturday.
There is a doubt about Hal Robson-Kanu, who scored their first-half opener at Villa Park.
Only just back from a thigh injury, the Welshman didn’t reappear for the second half but that didn’t upset Albion with Sam Field doing well as a replacement.
“Dwight is an important player but we didn’t cry over spilt milk and we have won games without him,” said Moore on Saturday.
“You have seen me chop and change the team this season. Jay Rodriguez gave us a platform, Hal Robson did well and Sam Field finished the job off. We’ve also got Matty Phillips, Jefferson Montero and others.”
In order to trouble Albion, QPR (Match Betting – QPR 12/5, Draw 13/5, WBA 6/5) must stop conceding sloppy goals – but they gave Premier League Watford very little to go on during Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat at home.
Defender Toni Leistner, who missed a late chance to equalise against the Hornets, said: “This is going to be a very tough game. Our match at their ground was our worst performance of the season but I think if we can play like we did against Watford then we will have a good opportunity to win.”
Odds subject to change