The Clarets are looking to spoil QPRs record unbeaten run without defeat this Saturday and become the first team to beat the Championship leaders this season. They travel to Loftus Road hoping to make amends for the heartbreaking 4-0 defeat to Reading at Turf Moor last Saturday and at the same time keep within touching distance of one of the automatic promotion places.
Cardiff`s 4-0 win away to Leeds United on Monday night ensures they now have the same number of points as Championship League leaders, QPR trailing behind them on goal difference only. Both clubs now have 29 points, 9 points ahead of the Clarets who dropped to 7th after the disastrous 4-0 home drubbing at the hands of Reading last Saturday. The Clarets though at least can hold their heads high after the midweek clash against Aston Villa at Villa Park in the Carling Cup fourth round tie on Wednesday night. We may have lost 2-1 but we took the Villans to extra time and did ourselves proud.
If Burnley are serious about finishing in the top two this season and getting automatic promotion back to the Premier League at their first attempt, they are going to have to start getting some away wins on the board. They have yet to win away this season in the League and now have their toughest challenge yet on the road visiting Loftus Road to play QPR this Saturday.
QPR have just set up a club record going thirteen games without defeat at the start of the season although recently they have wobbled slightly dropping points at home and struggling to beat bottom club Bristol City in their last game at Ashton Gate. They were 1-0 down before equalising in the 84th minute to earn a point.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
QPR striker, Heidar Helguson could be a doubt for this clash.
The Icelandic international who has so far scored five league goals this season, picked up a knock against Bristol City last Friday and also fell heavily in their previous midweek game against Swansea. Helguson has suffered an inflammation of his shoulder according to Rs gaffer Neil Warnock and will only be allowed to join in training later this week.
Helguson was replaced by debutante Rob Hulse at Ashton Gate and the former Derby striker looks set to make his full debut at home to the Clarets this Saturday.
Midfielder, Akos Buzsaky is another concern. He picked up a twisted knee against Norwich recently. Scans revealed that the inflamed knee was not a serious injury and the player was expected to soon return to training but he has missed the last two games played since the 0-0 draw with the Canaries at Loftus Road earlier this month.
Player to watch: Jamie Mackie
Mackie is currently QPR`s top goal scorer with 8 goals in the league so far this season. He is on the same number of goals as our own Chris Iwelumo with both sharing second place in the Npower Championship Top Scorers table behind Cardiff`s Jay Bothroyd.
The 25 year old Scottish international joined QPR from Plymouth in May 2010 for an undisclosed fee after agreeing a four-year contract.
He is just one of QPR`s attacking force we will need to keep in check.
Burnley Team News:
Leon Cort will be available for selection. He sat out the Villa game in the Carling Cup due to an automatic one match suspension following his sending off against Reading for a second bookable offence.
There were no bookings for the Clarets in the midweek Villa game and as far as we can see no further injuries with all substitutions being made for tactical reasons.
Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo
Iwelumo will be the one to watch if we have ambitions of winning this game. No doubt he will once more be our lone striker up front supported by the wide men so let`s hope he can start scoring away from home. He is currently our leading goal scorer with 8 league goals so far this season but all of those goals have been scored at Turf Moor.
Team & Tactics
I think we have to assume that it will be all change again compared to the line-up in midweek against Aston Villa for the 4th Round Carling Cup clash at Villa Park. Brian Laws rested Chris Eagles and dropped Andre Bikey, Chris iwelumo and Wade Elliott to the bench for that match as well as giving a start to keeper, Lee Grant. Wallace and Alexander also returned to the starting eleven. They all made quite a good account of themselves too but whether they did enough to keep their place for the QPR match remains to be seen
Leon Cort may well be available for selection after his one match ban but it is unlikely he will be named in the starting eleven. He is behind Clarke Carlisle and now perhaps even Michael Duff in the pecking order so the centre back pairing is likely to be Bikey and our vice-captain. Unless Grezza is recalled to the starting eleven we can expect Carlisle to take the Captain`s armband from stand-in Wade Elliott.
I don`t think Brian Laws will tamper too much with the eighteen he named for the last league game against Reading last Saturday, despite the hammering we suffered. We can expect more of the same with probably the return of Carlisle to the starting eleven being the only change from the Royals match.
The likely eighteen therefore is likely to be as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Duff, Easton, Alexander, Wallace, Paterson, Thompson
The man in charge of this one is Berkshire referee, Iain Williamson. He first qualified as a referee in 1991 at the age of fifteen. He progressed to the National List of Assistant Referees in 1999 and reached the Referees` List three years later. So far this season he has been the referee in 12 matches at Championship level and below handing out just the one red card but 45 yellows. Hopefully in this game he won`t be putting the Berk in Berkshire!
I would have felt more confident about this prediction had we not been on a low after the shocking 4-0 defeat by Reading at home in our last league match but I still have a sneaky feeling we could be the first club to defeat the league leaders especially after an impressive performance against Villa in midweek.
Loftus Road has been kind to us in recent years and the Rs have certainly wobbled in their last few games, even at home. I think we could sneak this one by the odd goal so 2-1 Clarets and back on track
We have another tough away trip after the QPR game with Norwich City, currently in 4th place the hosts on Saturday 6th November at Carrow Road (Kick-Off 3pm)