It's a big day for the Rs today. Stoke were badly wounded just before the international break and Pulis will have them well and truly fired up, seeking to get their season back on the rails. Ferguson wouldn't choose to take Man Utd to the Britannia today, so it is rough justice on QPR that the fixture list has asked them to go into the bruising bear pit. With Pulis in one dugout and Warnock in the other, this will not be a game for the faint hearted.
The big worry for the Rs is that a cluster of teams beneath them look good to pick up points. A victory for Stoke will see them leapfrog Warnock's warriors, whilst West Brom, Sunderland and Everton will all fancy their chances of picking up home victories. If they don't, their opponents Fulham, Bolton and Wolves, all below QPR in the table, will benefit. Worse still, the two bottom teams meet and victory for either will see them climb closer to the Rs should they lose.
Before the Grrrs go off on one, I am not wishing defeat on QPR here, just pointing out the importance of today. By this evening, QPR could be in the top 10, or the bottom six. The victory over 9 man Chelsea and the plucky defeat against rampant Man City suggest they can mix it with the big boys, but the season will be decided more by games like today's.
Last season West Ham, minus the atoning Avram Grant, picked up a point at the Britannia and that has to be QPR's target. My money is on Stoke winning by two clear goals.