Queens Park Rangers-Leicester City Preview
Leicester will be celebrating a great escape from relegation with their home supporters as they welcome doomed Queens Park Rangers to the King Power Stadium on the final day of the Premier League season.
The Foxes (10-8-19) were bottom of the table and seven points from safety at the beginning of April but an amazing turnaround in form saw Nigel Pearson's revitalised side win seven of the next eight league matches - with their only defeat in that spell a 3-1 home loss to eventual Premier League champions Chelsea.
Leicester secured their top-flight survival with last weekend's goalless draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, taking them four points clear of the drop zone with just one round of matches to play.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has hailed the Foxes' successful fight to avoid the drop.
"It's come from belief," Schmeichel told his club's official website. "It's come from never losing focus, never losing belief and the energy that we put into games. We keep going, keep working and keep believing in the way that we want to play football.
"It's a credit to the lads and credit to the coaching squad. The owners and the fans, they all deserve it, they've been magnificent. We've been through some tough times this season but we've kept our heads, kept our stability and kept believing in what we felt was going to get us out, and it has."
Victory against Rangers would ensure that Leicester break the 40-point barrier in the Premier League for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign.
Already-relegated Rangers (8-6-23) are bottom of the table on 30 points, the same total as Burnley, who are also heading back to the Championship after just one season in the top flight.
QPR's fate was sealed after they were thrashed 6-0 at Manchester City on May 10, but the west Londoners bounced back with a 2-1 home victory against fellow strugglers Newcastle United in their final home match at Loftus Road last weekend. Emmanuel Riviere gave the Magpies a first-half lead before goals from Matt Phillips and Charlie Austin secured only a second win in 12 matches for Rangers.
Chris Ramsey, who was appointed Rangers head coach until season's end in February after Harry Redknapp resigned, has been handed a new three-year contract despite failing to safeguard his club's top-flight status. The 53-year-old is determined to finish a disappointing season on a high.
"We have got another game to play and we don't want it to be a farce," Ramsey said at his pre-match press conference. "We want people to go out and show what they can do. I'm hoping there are going to be some youngsters will be involved at some stage. But whoever takes the field has to be worthy of putting a QPR shirt on and carrying out the task for the club.
"They need to respect the shirt and at least put a shift in. I'm hoping the players can play for some pride; we don't want to come bottom of the league."
Rangers have the worst away record in the top flight with just seven points from their 18 matches.
The Foxes will be without midfielder Matty James, who has undergone knee surgery which is likely to keep him sidelined for up to nine months. Defender Zoumana Bakayogo (knee) will also miss out, while striker David Nugent is doubtful with a calf problem. Leicester's Danny Simpson will not play for the first team while the club examines the ongoing assault case against the defender.
Rangers have several injury concerns, with goalkeeper Robert Green (face), striker Bobby Zamora (hip/thigh), defender Mauricio Isla (knee), midfielder Armand Traore (calf/shin) and striker Mauro Zarate (knee) all doubtful. Striker Eduardo Vargas (knee) and midfielder Alejandro Faurlin (knee) remain sidelined.
QPR beat Leicester 3-2 at Loftus Road in late November with Austin scoring a second-half winner.
That was the first Premier League meeting between the sides since the 1994-95 season, when QPR took four points off Leicester, winning 2-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away. The Foxes did the double over Rangers last season, winning 1-0 twice in the Championship.