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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Tight contest likely with QPR and Norwich keen to maintain improvement

Loftus Road teams are both looking to go five games unbeaten

QPR players celebrate a goal against Wigan
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 5.30pm Saturday

QPR and Norwich have gone back to basics to recover from poor starts to the Sky Bet Championship season and further evidence of their improved defending could be on show at Loftus Road where a tight, low-scoring match is on the cards.

This season looked like being tricky for QPR, who started off with a small, inexperienced squad and a new manager in Steve McClaren.

After four games and four defeats the Hoops propped up the table and had shortened to 6-4 in the relegation betting.

But they have taken ten points from their last four matches, more than any team in the division, and opened up a five-point gap to the drop zone.

A flurry of late-summer loan signings helped with Nahki Wells, Tomer Hemed and Geoff Cameron joining from Burnley, Brighton and Stoke on season-long deals.

Wells and Hemed increased the attacking options but work on the training ground has been just as important with QPR looking far more organised than earlier in the campaign.

Of the 14 goals they have conceded this season, 13 of them were in the first four games.

McClaren's side put in an energetic, disciplined performance to secure a well-deserved 2-0 victory at home to Millwall on Wednesday but they need to keep piling up the points because there are clouds on the horizon.

QPR's squad still looks vulnerable to injuries and suspensions and a January transfer embargo denies them the means of strengthening halfway through the campaign.

Given the outlook QPR are likely to maintain the pragmatic approach and their fans may have to get used to watching a lot of tight, low-scoring games.

Norwich have a bigger squad but their resources are stretched.

They won 2-1 at Reading on Wednesday despite the absences of five players – midfielders Kenny McLean and Louis Thompson, defenders Ivo Pinto and Grant Hanley and winger Onel Hernandez.

The loss of Hernandez, their star attacker, for a month is probably the biggest blow and makes it tougher for them to test QPR's defensive resolve.

Under the circumstances manager Daniel Farke might be happy to settle for a point and extend Norwich's unbeaten run to five games.

Neither team is likely to throw caution to the wind and under 2.5 goals looks a solid bet at a shade of odds-on.

Under 2.5 goals
1pt 11-12 188Bet

Bet on this match at

Team news
Darnell Furlong (knee) is out long-term and Sean Goss (back), Grant Hall (knee) and Olamide Shodipo (thigh) are absent.

Ben Marshall (illness) should be available but Onel Hernandez (hernia), Kenny McLean (ankle), Louis Thompson (hamstring), Grant Hanley (quad) are out. Ivo Pinto (hamstring) is a doubt.

Key stat
QPR have kept clean sheets in three of their last four home matches.

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QPR have kept clean sheets in three of their last four home matches
E.W. Terms
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