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Forest need loan signings to gel after Antonio sale for QPR clash

QPR have held on to their key player in Charlie Austin, while upcoming opponents Nottingham Forest are missing almost all of theirs for a trip to Loftus Road. Coral thus make Chris Ramsey’s Hoops odds-on 17/20 favourites for three home points that would, temporarily at least, take them joint-top of the Championship.

Newcastle United, West Ham United and others were linked with poaching Austin back into the Premier League, but he instead opted to remain in west London. Forest attacker Michail Antonio, meanwhile, was snapped up by the Hammers and, although Dougie Freedman has retained Henri Lansbury, other influences Britt Assombalonga, Chris Cohen and Andy Reid are all injured with no return in sight.

Without their best players, it’s tough to make a case for Forest upsetting QPR and that is reflected in a 10/3 outside price for victory. A draw in the capital is a 5/2 chance.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Queens Park Rangers v Cardiff City - Loftus Road

Seven of the Hoops’ 10 league goals have come from Austin and Dutch attacking midfielder Tjaronn Chery, who is a superb 7/1 to score first for the third game running, and also worth considering at 23/10 in the anytime market or in a 4/1 wincast. Striker Austin, meanwhile, is 5/1 for two goals or more.

In an attempt to offset their financial difficulties, the inevitable sales that accompany such dire fiscal straits and injuries, Forest have made five loan signings in order to give their squad some strength in depth.

Journeyman striker Chris O’Grady bagged a brace on his last appearance against QPR, so is well worth backing anytime for a memorable Forest debut at 11/4 to score anytime. There’s less to like about former Swansea City forward flop, but one-time Loftus Road favourite Dexter Blackstock is 8/1 to break the deadlock.

To complement Lansbury in midfield, Forest have captured Wales international Jonny Williams on loan from Crystal Palace. With the Dragons on the verge of securing qualification for Euro 2016, he must perform to force his way back into Chris Coleman’s thinking and is 7/1 to cap his bow with a goal here.

Coral’s top tip: Punters can improve QPR’s odds-on status to win to 27/10 if they back the Hoops for victory but Forest to also score.