Newcastle United-Queens Park Rangers Preview
Queens Park Rangers are heading straight back into the Championship, while Saturday's opponents at Loftus Road Newcastle United are in desperate need of points to preserve their Premier League status.
Last-place Rangers (7-6-23) were relegated after just one season in the top flight after suffering a 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City on Sunday. Sergio Aguero struck a hat trick for City, who repeatedly exposed the defensive frailties of a demoralised QPR side.
The Hoops have now lost a league-high 23 matches in what has been a thoroughly unrewarding 2014-15 campaign for the west London club and its supporters. Rangers are also without a win in nine home Premier League matches.
Under-pressure Rangers coach Chris Ramsey was disappointed by his side's performance at the Etihad Stadium against last season's champions.
"We need a positive performance this weekend, to show that last weekend's display was a blip," Ramsey told his club website. "We won't be letting Newcastle off lightly just because we're down.
"We owe it to our fans to redress the performance we put in on Sunday, which was nowhere near the level I expect from this group of players. We let ourselves down and we let our supporters down. The integrity of the Premier League, with Newcastle in the battle towards the bottom, will also be taken into consideration, but mainly we owe the fans a display after Sunday."
The Magpies (9-9-18) ended a dire run of eight straight league defeats under manager John Carver with a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at St James' Park last weekend. Ayoze Perez equalised for Newcastle just before the break after Victor Anichebe had given the Baggies the lead on the half-hour.
The result left Newcastle 17th in the standings, two points above Hull, who currently occupy the third and final relegation place.
Midfielder Moussa Sissoko insists Newcastle will be fully focused this weekend, even though Rangers have already been relegated.
"QPR is a massive game for this team and the Club," the French international told nufc.co.uk. "When you play in the Premier League it doesn't matter where the team are in the division - every game is different but every game is hard.
"QPR are already relegated but will still make it difficult for us because they now have no pressure on them. What is important is that we go there with confidence, a week of good training behind us and go to win the game. We got a good point against West Brom last weekend but we cannot stop now."
Rangers will have Nedum Onuoha available, but injured trio Alejandro Faurlin, Eduardo Vargas and Mauro Zarate remain sidelined along with Rio Ferdinand, who is on compassionate leave.
Daryl Janmaat returns from suspension for Newcastle, although Mike Williamson sits out the second of his two-match ban. Vurnon Anita and Adam Armstrong are both doubts, while Steven Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Massadio Haidara, Jak Alnwick and Siem de Jong all miss out.
Newcastle beat QPR 1-0 at St. James' Park in late November. Sissoko scored the game's only goal 12 minutes from time.
Rangers are winless in nine straight against Newcastle in all competitions dating back to 1995, losing seven of them.