Fulham-Queens Park Rangers Preview
LONDON (SE) - Queens Park Rangers are still searching for their first Premier League win of the season, but will have few better chances than on Saturday when they host a Fulham side that struggle away from home.
Martin Jol's Fulham have won just once on the road all season, and have conceded 16 - a tally that makes them better than only Norwich, Southampton and Reading in the English top-flight. Facing such an opportunity, QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia knows that his team need to pick up three points.
"We must win this game," said Mbia. "We have great supporters behind us, really good fans, and they deserve this victory. So we have to go out there and get it for them.
"Nobody expected us to be in the position we are in but I believe the fans know we are good enough to come out of this. I am sure, very convinced, we will get out of it. It is up to the players to make this happen."
Fulham's win over Newcastle on Monday night was their first in eight games, and the Cottagers (5-5-6) find themselves just five points clear of the drop zone ahead of Saturday's clash with Rangers.
"It's a massive game," said goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. "We just need to recover and take the confidence from Monday night's game into the weekend.
"We should have won by more against Newcastle. But of course we're pleased to have won. Newcastle were on similar points to us and it was important to get a win. We'd gone seven games without one, we'd been unlucky at times, so it's nice to be back to winning ways."
QPR (0-7-9) have doubts over goalkeeper Julio Cesar (groin), while strikers Bobby Zamora (hip) and Andrew Johnson (knee) are long-term absentees. Fulham are without playmaker Bryan Ruiz (hamstring) and Simon Davies (hip).
Rangers have drawn all three games since Harry Redknapp officially took over as manager, but remain bottom of the table with just seven points - a full eight from safety. QPR's tally of just five league goals scored at home all season is a league low.
Saturday's game will be Dimitar Berbatov's first against QPR. The Cottagers have the highest shots on target percentage in the league at 47 percent. Two of the six players in the Premier League to have managed five or more assists this season play for Fulham - Ruiz and Damien Duff.
Fulham did the double over QPR last season, winning 1-0 at Loftus Road and 6-0 at Craven Cottage. Zamora, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Andrew Johnson, Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey scored the goals for Jol's team, but none of those players remain at the club.
Fulham have won five straight games against Rangers, and QPR have failed to score in the last six meetings.