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Two of the Championship’s top six meet at Ewood Park this weekend but neither Blackburn Rovers nor Queens Park Rangers will go into this big game in the best of form.
Prior to their midweek meeting with Sheffield United, Blackburn are winless and goalless in their last four Championship games, while they’ll also have to make do without top scorer Ben Brereton-Diaz after he hobbled off against West Brom with a serious ankle injury.
And it’s hardly plain sailing for QPR either, who host Blackpool on Wednesday looking to end a five-game winless run that has seen them score only three times.
Ahead of the midweek round of fixtures, these two have identical runs of form over the last four games, with two draws and two defeats apiece.
Granted, Blackburn have had a tough batch of games recently, but they would need to have taken much more than two points from the 12 on offer if they were to sustain their challenge for an automatic promotion place.
QPR have certainly made huge strides this season, so it was perhaps expected that they would have occasional ruts of poor form, which culminated in a 1-1 home draw with Hull last Saturday that really should’ve seen them take maximum points.
And Mark Warburton’s Hoops will need to do something about their stuttering away form if they want to keep hold of their play-off place, with the Londoners losing three on the spin and failing to score on the road since the end of January.
But Blackburn have troubles of their own in front of goal, and without their talismanic forward, we can see this one being a low-scoring draw to kick off the Championship weekend. A play on the stalemate is available with most of the popular sports betting sites at around 13/5 for example can be found with bet365.
Rovers were on the crest of a wave in November and December, during a run of form that saw them shoot up the table and into the mix for automatic promotion.
But they’ve been unable to carry that form into 2022 and at the time of writing have picked up just two victories this calendar year – against Cardiff City and Middlesbrough.
And the goals have dried up at an alarming rate, with those two 1-0 wins being the only times they’ve found the net in the Championship this calendar year.
But they’re hoping that’s a good omen for them here as they picked up 1-0 wins against QPR in their two most recent meetings in 2021.
Although the absence of Chile international Brereton-Diaz will be a huge miss, with Tony Mowbray expecting the 22-year-old to be out of action for a significant period.
Not many people – or indeed QPR fans – were expecting Rangers to make a push for the play-offs this season, but their perfect blend of youth and experience is proving the trick in a division that is packed with ordinary opposition.
But like their opponents this weekend, the form that got them to the heights of third and fourth place has started to desert them.
QPR’s away from was particularly impressive until recently, winning five of their six Championship games on the road between November and January, but no points and no goals since then shows that this side are capable of streaky runs of both good and poor form.
You never quite know what you’re going to get with the Hoops, and with them struggling for form at present, we can’t quite pull the trigger and put our support behind them this Saturday.
One positive for Warburton is that he has no fresh injury of suspension concerns.
These two have had plenty of meetings down the years and Saturday will be the 55th fixture between the two.
Blackburn have 17 victories under their belt, but only three from the last 20 matchups, a run that stretches back to the year 2000.
Ewood Park is a charming, traditional stadium that has taken in plenty of top-flight football in the 21st century.
On a good day, the ground packs in more than 31,000 and having opened in 1882, is one of the oldest stadiums in the country that still hosts English league games.
The Championship is well-known for throwing up games that are tough calls and this one really is no different, especially when you consider the patchy form that both sides are in heading into this one.
A point would perhaps represent a good result for both sides as they look to preserve their places in the top six, so we think that looks like good value at 13/5 with Sportnation.