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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Fulham can show their class on short trip to Loftus Road

Rangers weakened by injuries to key defensive players

Fulham could be celebrating at Loftus Road
1 of 1

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West London pride is at stake when QPR host Fulham and it could be the visitors who are celebrating at Loftus Road.

Only one point separates the local rivals but that gulf should be much greater by the end of the campaign with Fulham capable of playing some of the best football in the Sky Bet Championship.

It has been a frustrating season for Fulham, who have had three draws in five Craven Cottage appearances, but it looks as if the Whites are enjoying themselves far more on their travels with a couple of wins and two draws from five league trips.

Tomas Kalas was sent off in the first minute at Reading so they performed wonders to take a point, while Slavisa Jokanovic must also have been fairly happy with a goalless stalemate at Leeds.

Fulham suffered a surprise defeat at Burton but they were easy 2-0 winners at Ipswich when home manager Mick McCarthy was fulsome in his praise for the Cottagers.

"Call the police... because there's just been a murder on the pitch," said McCarthy. "We've just come up against a team streets ahead. They absolutely bashed us with the ball and without the ball. Fulham are tops, I have no doubt they will be promotion contenders."

Tuesday's 3-1 win at Nottingham Forest again highlighted the quality in their ranks as they also hit the woodwork twice despite missing a few big-hitters such as Tom Cairney and Floyd Ayite.

The pair remain sidelined and could be joined by Aboubakar Kamara aka AK47, but they are strong defensively with Kalas and a midfield of Kevin McDonald, Oliver Norwood and Stefan Johansen can help Fulham to dominate possession.

No doubt Rangers boss Ian Holloway will have his squad up for the derby but two wins in ten matches suggests this season will once again be a scrap for QPR.

Holloway described last week's first-half performance in a 0-0 draw with Burton as "the worst he had ever seen" and it took a stunning strike from Luke Freeman for them to sneak a point at Barnsley on Tuesday.

Freeman is capable of those magic moments and he needs to keep them coming with Rangers short of inspiration in other key areas.

Perhaps the biggest issue for Holloway, however, is a lack of defensive players due to injuries. The situation was so bad at Oakwell that the troubled Steven Caulker was recalled to the starting 11.

It would be fantastic if Caulker could get back to his former level but QPR have one clean sheet in ten games and, even with their injuries, Fulham possess the firepower to land maximum points.

Recommendation
Fulham
1pt 13-10 general 

Team news
QPR
Nedum Onuoha, Grant Hall and James Perch are injured. Jordan Cousins is close to a return. 

Fulham
Tom Cairney and Floyd Ayite are out, while Rafa Soares lacks match fitness. Aboubakar Kamara is doubtful.

Key stat
QPR have kept one clean sheet in their last 14 matches against Fulham.

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com


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Only one point separates the local rivals but that gulf should be much greater by the end of the campaign
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