QPR to St James’s Park and without the hosts even realising it so much in recent weeks it has unexpectedly become a relegation clash and a must win game for both sides.
It seemed highly unlikely not so long ago that Alan Pardew’s men would be fighting for survival as they were looking at the upper echelons of the Premier League.
The Europa League has taken its toll and the side have lost six of their last seven games and only sit two points away from the drop zone in a disappointing 15th place.
QPR fans would settle for that position at the moment though. Things are looking brighter for the R’s since the appointment of Harry Redknapp as they remain unbeaten in his first 5 games, and the last time they tasted defeat was at Old Trafford.
Adel Taarabt’s one man master class display against the Fulham hinted at a return to form for a player who can be the equal of Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa on his day. They also seem to be not leaking as many goals at the back.
The Magpies know this is a huge fixture for them with their next two games being at the Emirates and Old Trafford respectively against Arsenal and Manchester United.
The hosts have to contend with the loss of influential midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring). Cabaye and Taylor are also huge blows for the long term for the Magpies.
The versatile James Perch is a doubt with a neck problem but should just about be ok to play. Gabriel Obertan is ready for selection now too.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar and right-back Jose Bosingwa are both still missing for QPR. Kieron Dyer remains another player who is on the injury list; it doesn’t even come as a surprise anymore for him. Ji Sung Park is still having knee problems. Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora don’t look set to play for the R’s anytime soon.
Demba Ba has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League appearances at St James Park and will hoping to be on target again on Saturday to move his team to safety, despite midweek comments angling for a move to Arsenal.
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