Queens Park Rangers-West Brom Preview
West Bromwich Albion will be aiming to collect maximum points against a struggling Queens Park Rangers side at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
The Baggies (8-9-13) are 14th in the standings and eight points clear of the relegation places. The Midlanders have taken 15 from a possible 30 points in the 10 league matches played since Tony Pulis was appointed coach at the start of January, with four wins, three draws and three losses. However, two of those defeats have come in their last three top-flight matches, including a 3-0 setback at Manchester City last time out.
West Brom have been hit by news that goalkeeper Ben Foster will be sidelined until October with knee ligament damage. However, England international Foster has given a ringing endorsement to Albion's other two senior shot-stoppers Boaz Myhill and Jack Rose.
Myhill will deputise as No. 1 'keeper for the Baggies, while Rose will be the club's second choice in Foster's absence.
"Boaz showed at Manchester City that you know what you'll get. He's an amazing keeper - there are no worries on that front," Foster told his club's website. "Some clubs would be worried about losing their first choice but Boaz steps up every time. He's getting better and I know the lads and the gaffer trust him totally.
"Jack came in when Boaz damaged his finger so I've seen how good he is. I've known him pretty much since I joined and he's a fantastic prospect, he's so quick and sharp. Some of the saves he makes in training are brilliant. He's got a big future."
Rangers (6-4-20) are second from bottom on 22 points - four from safety - with just eight matches left. The Hoops lost nine of their last 10 top-flight matches, with their only victory in that miserable run a 2-0 win at Sunderland on Feb. 10 that also serves as their only points claimed on the road.
QPR coach Chris Ramsey remains in bullish mood despite his side's perilous position.
"We need a high energy performance this weekend," Ramsey told his club's website. "I believe that we've got the capacity to survive in this league. I really do – and the players do as well.
"But we know we need victories and we remain confident as a group. We need 4-6 points from the next two games - that's the minimum requirement for us."
Striker Charlie Austin recorded his first Premier League hat trick as QPR rallied from two goals down to beat West Brom 3-2 at Loftus Road in December. Joleon Lescott opened the scoring for the Baggies after 10 minutes and Silvestre Varela doubled that lead on 20 minutes. Austin scored from the penalty spot on 24 minutes and then volleyed home an equaliser three minutes into the second half.
The 25-year-old Austin completed the amazing turnaround for the Hoops when he headed in what proved to be the winner from a Joey Barton corner four minutes from time.
QPR's comeback win in December was their first league victory over the Baggies since beating them 3-1 in the Championship in March 2010.
The Hoops, who have conceded a league-high 32 goals on the road, are the only side not to have scored a goal in the first 15 minutes of a Premier League match. West Brom, meanwhile, have yielded six goals in the opening 10 minutes of matches.