Queens Park Rangers-Burnley Preview
Two sides battling for top-flight survival meet Saturday when Burnley welcome Queens Park Rangers to Turf Moor.
Burnley (3-8-9) may be second from bottom in the Premier League on 17 points from 20 matches but they have show some real fight in recent matches.
In league play, the Clarets rallied from two goals 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw at defending champions Manchester City on Jan. 28, and equalised three times to secure a dramatic 3-3 draw at Newcastle United on New Year's Day.
Burnley also fought back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in a FA Cup tie at Turf Moor on Monday evening, with striker Sam Vokes scoring on 73 minutes in only his second substitute appearance following nine months out with a knee injury. The replay will be at White Hart Lane on Jan. 14, with the winners playing Leicester City at home in the fourth round.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche was delighted to see Wales international Vokes back in action.
"Big Sam came on and looked nice and sharp. We have been very sensible with him for all the right reasons," Dyche told his club's website. "We want him properly fit and he knows his pathway back. He was ill last week and missed three days with a virus that can drain you. If it wasn't for that he might have even got a start tonight.
"But we always planned to put him on for half an hour and we are delighted he has got his goal, so it's been a positive night for him. There's still work to be done though. I've always believed that players take their time to come back. They need these pockets of football, so we are happy with that."
QPR (5-4-11) remain the only side in the Premier League yet to pick up a point away from home this season, having lost all nine of their road matches by a 22-4 aggregate. Rangers are down in 16th place and only two points above the relegation zone.
Hoops manager Harry Redknapp admits he is expecting a difficult match.
"It's a big game this weekend," Redknapp told his club's website. "Turf Moor is a tough place to go. Sean has done a great job there. They came up with ourselves and Leicester last season and have done well. They're a good team.
"There are no hidden secrets between the sides – we know what they're about and they know what we're about. We've had a big run of these games at home against teams down there with us and done very well in them – and now we've got them away. We know our away form needs to improve and we're looking forward to going to Burnley and giving them a right good game."
Redknapp moved to strengthen his squad this week with the loan signing of Argentina striker Mauro Zarate from London rivals West Ham.
Burnley defenders Jason Shackell and Kevin Long remain sidelined, while the versatile Stephen Ward will also miss out through injury. Rangers have injury concerns over Alejandro Faurlin, Adel Taarabt and Yun Suk-Young.
QPR beat Burnley 2-0 at Loftus Road in early December. Leroy Fer opened the scoring six minutes after the break and Charlie Austin added a second 16 minutes from time. Possession was split down the middle and Burnley actually outshot QPR 15-12 in the match.
Rangers held on the final 14 minutes despite being reduced to 10 men after Austin was sent off for a second yellow card.