Playoff-chasing Cottagers can put the brakes on QPR revival
Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm
QPR manager Ian Holloway always demands full commitment from his teams and will be proud of the battling qualities shown by the Hoops in recent games.
Without playing scintillating football QPR have dug out wins away to Wolves (2-1), at home to Ipswich (2-1) and away to Reading (1-0) which have opened up a cushion of eight points to the drop zone.
The improvement is all the more impressive because it has been achieved against a backdrop of January budget cuts which have seen higher earners Tjaronn Chery, Sandro and Sebastien Polter moved on.
But Holloway cannot keep pulling rabbits out of the hat and this match could be a reality check for his inexperienced side.
Eighth-placed Fulham have lost just two of their last 12 games – both 2-1 defeats against title-chasing Brighton – and are looking a genuine threat to the playoff places.
They were put in a difficult position by on-loan striker Chris Martin’s determined efforts to secure a move back to his parent club Derby, but that situation seems to have been resolved.
Martin returned to the side by scoring a penalty and producing a superb performance in last Saturday’s 2-0 success at home to Barnsley and may yet have a key role to play in lifting Fulham into the Premier League.
Fulham received another boost this week with influential winger Lucas Piazon agreeing to an extension to his loan from Chelsea and they look in great shape with 20 games remaining.
The Cottagers will have to match the battling qualities of QPR but their football is of a much higher standard and should help them ease to a third successive victory.
1pt 23-20 Betfair
Jack Robinson (hamstring) and Steven Caulker (hip) are sidelined but James Perch (illness) may return.
Lucas Piazon has extended his loan from Chelsea and should stay in the side. Floyd Ayite and Neeskens Kebano are at the Africa Cup of Nations.
QPR have lost four of their last five home games