November 27, 2014

A relegation scrap is on tap Saturday at Loftus Road, where Queens Park Rangers will try to get off the foot of the table against a Leicester City squad trying to escape their doldrums on offence and help their cause to stay in the top flight.

The Rangers (2-2-8) may have the upper hand since they've claimed all eight of their points this season at home, including four in the last two matches there. But the success of getting a draw versus titleholders Manchester City did not carry over to Tyneside, where Queens Park Rangers suffered a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United.

The loss was doubly painful since midfielder Sandro suffered a knee injury that will likely keep him sidelined until January. Manager Harry Redknapp faces an additional selection headache since defender Richard Dunne will serve a one-match suspension after earning his fifth yellow card of the season in Saturday's defeat, but fellow back-liner Rio Ferdinand is set to return after completing his three-match ban for using the derogatory slang term "sket" on Twitter.

Ferdinand will try to bring some stability to a porous defence that has yielded a Premier League-high 23 goals. But there are plenty of good omens for Rangers since Leicester City (2-4-6) are bringing a scuffling offence to London in hopes of ending a seven-match winless streak (0-2-5).

The Foxes have gone 500 minutes without a goal since Riyad Mahrez tallied in the 40th minute of their 2-2 draw versus Burnley on Oct. 4, the second-longest drought in the Premier League this season. Coincidentally, Burnley ended their drought at 565 minutes in that match when Michael Kightly netted for the Clarets in the 39th minute.

Leicester City are trying to avoid becoming the first Premier League team to go without a goal in six consecutive matches since Reading from March 29-May 3, 2008. The Foxes, though, did avoid a fifth consecutive defeat last Saturday by turning in a clean sheet in a scoreless home draw versus Sunderland.

"The result is not what we wanted, but as I said before I'm relatively satisfied with how the players went about trying to win this game," manager Nigel Pearson told the team's official website. "When things didn't go our way on the other end, it makes it even more important."

Barely anything has gone Leicester's way on the road since joining the top flight. Leonardo Ulloa's goal in a 1-0 victory at Stoke City on Sept. 13 is their only road marker, and their dry spell outside King Power Stadium is at 384 minutes entering this weekend. Ulloa, who scored all of his team-best five goals in the first five matches of the season, is confident his goal-scoring form will return soon.

"(QPR) will be a difficult game for us but we can win there," he said. "We need to be thinking about controlling the game and be both creative and defensive. ... (Against Sunderland) we had chances to score. It's important because we had chances. We need to have the same mentality for the next game."

Leicester did the double over QPR last season in the Championship as both sides earned promotion, recording a pair of 1-0 victories. Jamie Vardy scored in the 86th minute of the corresponding fixture in 2013-14 as the Rangers failed to escape with a point following Joey Barton's sending off two minutes before the goal.

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