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QPR and Stoke to dish up goals in search of vital relegation battle win

QPR’s latest relegation million-pointer against Stoke may be a Premier League basement duke-out, but these two sides would be in the Champions League places if achievement was measured by how many of their games limboed the 2.5 goals barrier. However, Rangers are abandoning their safety-first approach as the need for wins becomes more pressing and over 2.5 goals can be backed at 6/5.

Back in the apocalyptic days of November, when Harry Redknapp arrived like a visionary preacher and the salvation seemed possible and even probable for the Super Hoops, defensive chastity was earmarked as the immediate route out of the morass. Nine of their first 12 games under the new broom yielded under 2.5 goals, along with two wins and seven draws.

However with 11 games to go and QPR nowhere near safe Redknapp flipped the switch, gaining wins became imperative and a more swashbuckling approach emerged. Four of their last six games have contained more than 2.5 goals and even the two that didn’t make that mark failed for want of just one more strike.

The Loftus Road outfit are 10 points adrift with a maximum of 15 still to be plucked, making every game a must win, but so real is the spectre of relegation for Stoke that they recognise this weekend’s fixture now holds the same status for them – midfielder Charlie Adam insisting “We need to go to QPR next week and win.”

Being hard to beat has been the modus operandi for Tony Pulis’ stormtroopers on the road all season, not that it’s stopped them losing nine times, with the majority of their losses coming by a single goal. Adjusting to the need to go out and win a game away from home could be problematic for the Potters and space for Rangers tricky attackers Loic Remy, Junior Hoilett and Andros Townsend should be forthcoming.

Rangers have come with an entertainment-or-your-money-back guarantee of late, having notched in six of their last eight outings and conceded in every one of those games and the seductive lure of their equally skilful and slapdash ways may be too difficult for a Stoke side, desperate for the succour of victory, to ignore – Coral go 10/11 about both sides finding the net at Loftus Road.