Premier League preview: Stoke v QPR
By Football News
Stoke will host Queens Park Rangers on Saturday in what could prove to be a pivotal clash in the relegation battle come the end of the season.
The two teams have combined for just one league win so far this season and three points here could be the difference between English Premier League and Championship football next campaign.
Stoke's sole victory of the season came way back in September when they defeated Swansea City 2-0 at home and, with six draws also to their name, they have nine points to sit in 15th place on the table.
QPR's position is direr, however, with the Rangers yet to win and in 19th place on the table with four points.
One of those four points they have registered came against Reading last week when they battled their way to a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.
Their performance in that match was decent though and they will be confident of going to Britannia Stadium and picking up a result especially considering they won 3-2 there last season.
The pressure is building on QPR manager Mark Hughes, but defender Anton Ferdinand is confident that positive results will come for the club.
"There is no mental issue for us over this first win, we're still positive," Ferdinand told the club's website.
"We are still focused on the job in hand and we're looking forward to Stoke on Saturday."
Scoring goals has been a problem for QPR this season – they have found the back of the net just eight times from 10 matches – so Hughes will be hoping veteran striker Bobby Zamora has retained full fitness after he was forced to come off the bench with a slight hip concern against Reading last time out.
Stoke too have not exactly been banging in the goals this season, as they have hit the back of the onion bag eight times from their 10 games too.
Lanky striker Peter Crouch has four of those goals, but his last strike was when he contributed a brace in that victory over Swansea six weeks ago.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has had nothing but praise for Crouch this season, but believes the time has come for fellow strikers Kenwyne Jones, Cameron Jerome and Jonathan Walters to step up and score.
"We've got to start taking our chances," Pulis said after Stoke's 1-0 loss to Norwich last week.
"That has been the story of our season so far, one of frustration, because we are creating the chances, but not making the most of them."