Premier League preview: Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City
By Football News
Winning is the only way out for Queens Park Rangers as they prepare to host a struggling Stoke City outfit at Loftus Road on Saturday.
If QPR won all of their final five matches, that still would not take them to the safe target of 40 points - with relegation likely to spell a sad end to their at times brave battle in the Premier League this season under Harry Redknapp.
However, they at least have an ideal chance for three points to keep their slim hopes alive, as Tony Pulis' men are one of the most out-of-form teams in the league.
Sitting just three points above the drop, Stoke could find themselves in further trouble should they not take something from their trip to London - as they have just one point and two goals to show for their past seven outings.
They have won just once in their past 14 league clashes, prompting thoughts of a potential return to the Championship for the first time since 2008.
Their run-in includes away trips to Sunderland and Southampton, while they are also set to host Norwich City and Tottenham. Stoke's road travels this season have produced just one win, against West Bromwich Albion, and that stat is not good reading for Pulis ahead of the weekend.
Saturday's affair could very well be a preview of what is to come in the Championship in 2013-14.
Alarmingly for Pulis the only two injury concerns in his squad, Matthew Etherington (back) and Marc Wilson (hamstring), could both be fit for QPR, meaning their shortcomings are not down to a lack of cavalry.
QPR's injury issues are also temperate, with Armand Traore (calf) on the brink of a return while Tal Ben Haim, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Luke Young are all unlikely starters.
A lone goal has split the two sides in their past two encounters, with the home side prevailing in each instance.
Djibril Cisse's late winner the difference in their most recent Loftus Road clash.