With no wins, no points and no goals shared between either Queens Park Rangers or Fulham since the resumption of Championship action, fans of both the Whites and the R’s can at least take comfort in the fact that something has to give in Tuesday night’s West London derby.
Fulham Seek Vital Win Against Neighbours Queens Park Rangers
Fulham and QPR in Poor Form
Successive defeats to fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds United and a third West London side in the shape of Brentford has all but ended any hope for Scott Parker and his Fulham side bouncing straight back to the Premier League, without relying on the dreaded playoffs.
In fact, the Cottagers have slipped from third to fifth in the Championship table, and may well have to switch their forward-looking focus to protecting their rearguard as Preston North End and Derby County look to make late surges to steal a coveted playoff spot.
Three miles north along the Fulham Palace Road and into Shepherd’s Bush, things are not particularly looking rosy for neighbours QPR either.
Languishing in mid-table, their own faint playoff hopes dying off in Saturday’s abject display away to Charlton Athletic, Mark Warburton’s side must surely look at a top-half finish as the measure for a successful campaign.
It’s been a hugely disappointing return for the Hoops. Successive 1-0 defeats at Charlton, and previously at home to Barnsley, spoiling a pre-lockdown unbeaten run that had stretched to six games.
Denting their fierce rivals promotion ambitions on Tuesday night will now become paramount for an expectant Loftus Road faithful.
The R’s go into the game without any fresh injury concerns, but did confirm that long-term layoff Charlie Owens will spend at least another six months in recovery after further surgical exploration on a knee injury that has blighted this season.
The hosts have also released a trio of youngsters from contracts, including striker Lewis Walker. The son of former star Des, the 21-year-old had made a handful of appearances for the first team during this campaign.
Scott Parker has been rocked by the suspension of not one, but two of his striking options ahead of the derby, including that of star-turn Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Serbian was slapped with a three-game ban after league officials surveyed footage of an elbow on Leeds’ Ben White during Saturday afternoon’s encounter and will join French partner Neeskens Kebano, who was dismissed late on at Elland Road, in a watching brief.
Fellow frontman Aboubakar Kamara remains sidelined as he approaches a return to full fitness paving the way for playmakers Anthony Knockheart and Ivan Cavaleiro to pick up more advanced roles in what Parker will see as a must-win.
It was Kamara that bagged a brace when Fulham won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Craven Cottage in November, but Parker remains confident that despite the suspensions to Mitrovic and Kebano, the depth of his squad can see the visitors steal a victory.
QPR, with little to play for other than pride and lacking firepower of late, may well succumb to a combination of that depth and Fulham’s desperation to cling to that playoff spot.
QPR 0-1 Fulham