Defeat at Newcastle was Rangers’ seventh in the last nine games as Hughes started his reign off on a sour note. Wins haven’t been easy to come by lately with their last three point haul coming against Stoke in mid-November; a record that ultimately cost Neil Warnock his job. Scoring goals remains a big problem for the R’s and they could have left Tyneside with a point on Sunday had they not wasted some good opportunities. Jay Bothroyd, Heidar Helguson and Shaun Wright-Phillips were all guilty of squandering chances once again and all three need to be start being more clinical in front of goal if the club is to remain in the Premier League. Blackburn’s win on Saturday pushed them into the drop zone and on the evidence of their form over the past two months relegation is a real possibility. Their home record is also something that needs improving with Rangers winning just once at Loftus Road all season. Hughes is already trying to fix his new sides goal scoring issue after placing a bid for Sao Paulo starlet Henrique and will hope to have him in time for their game against Wigan to kick-start the club’s survival bid.
The Latics are also deep in trouble after their defeat at home to Manchester City on Monday left them rooted to the foot of the table. Despite the loss manager Roberto Martinez will be encouraged by the performance of his players especially those in defence who continually thwarted the league leaders. Ali Al Habsi, in particular, will come in for special praise after pulling off a number of stunning saves to keep his side in the game. Gary Caldwell and Antonio Alacaraz also performed admirably against City’s world-class attack and will be confident of keeping QPR’s goal shy strike force at bay. It’s in the final third that Wigan need to improve with Victor Moses and Hugo Rodallega still struggling to find the net on a regular basis. However they’ll be confident of getting back on the goal trail in West London on Saturday as they aim to lift the club out of danger and improve a record that has seen them score just eight times away from the DW Stadium.
QPR 18th : 17 points
Last six: L L L D L L
Team news: Joey Barton is still suspended following his red card at Norwich with no new injuries to report for Mark Hughes’ side.
Key Player: Heidar Helguson
Despite failing to score against Newcastle on Sunday Helguson always posed a threat whether it was in the air or around the six-yard area. QPR will need the Icelandic international to step up once again this season to ensure they don’t fall to another home defeat.
Wigan Athletic 20th : 15 points
Last six: L L D L D D
Team news: Shaun Maloney could make his return from a calf injury with Chris Kirkland the only other player sidelined for Wigan.
Key Player: Victor Moses
Another lively display on Monday night will have further enhanced Moses’ reputation as he caused endless problems for league leaders City. Despite his poor goal record the wingers pace and trickery is always a threat for Wigan.
Morale is low at Loftus Road and Mark Hughes has a huge job to get his side playing with confidence and more importantly; scoring goals! Despite being bottom Wigan continue to employ their slick passing philosophy and stand a good chance of leaving Loftus Road with all three points.