On Saturday afternoon, we’ll see two of west London’s finest come face-to-face with each other in the second tier of English football. And with both sides hovering dangerously in-between mid-table and the relegation zone, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.
Ladbrokes News caught up with fans from both sides of the fence in the build-up to the game.
Representing the Cottagers is author of Chasing Perfection and lifelong fan Andy Glockner and talkSPORT presenter Jonathan Norman, while we also caught up with @TheQPRBible and Chairman of British Rowing Annamarie Phelps to give us their views on the away side.
Here’s what they had to say…
Ladbrokes News: Where does this game rank in the west London derby pyramid?
Andy Glockner: It’s a meaningful game for both clubs, and one that Fulham has mostly dominated in recent years. With pressure on both sides it should be an interesting match.
Jonathan Norman: This is the most spiteful derby that Fulham play.
@TheQPRBible: Other than Chelsea, Fulham are our biggest rivals, but we’ve struggled to beat them in recent years. I rate this game very highly, not only because it’s Fulham, but because of our winless streak. We need a massive confidence boost and I hope that this game gives us just that.
Annamarie Phelps: It’s a huge derby for the Hoops, and one that carries legendary tales of strikers taking the bus home at half-time!
LN: How are you rating your side’s chances? Which team should be feeling the pressure most?
AG: We’ve played better away from home this season, for the most part, and have struggled to a) create a lot of clear-cut chances and b) bury the ones we have created.
JN: I’m rating Fulham’s chances more highly given what’s happened this week, but our form has been better away from Craven Cottage which is a concern. QPR will be feeling the pressure the most considering their appalling form at the Cottage in recent years.
@TheQPRBible: We believe our side will be up for the battle! Although that being said, we don’t have a history at Craven Cottage, which worries us. But Fulham’s poor home form coupled with our decent away form gives us confidence.
We’ve tried a few different formations of late and we don’t really know our starting XI. If Fulham figure out our defensive frailties early on then we could be in for a tough game.
I’m not sure that being at home in this match is a plus, as QPR will bring a lot of fans and Fulham will be expected to carry more of the play.
AP: We have a shocking record against Fulham and the start to this season doesn’t bode well so I don’t think we’ll reverse the trend sadly.
Fulham will be expected to win so maybe we can pull something out of the bag when they’re not looking!
You can’t tell with QPR, they can do the most unexpected things sometimes but they need unsolicited support and attendance at Loftus Road has been poor recently because they’ve been shocking.
LN: Both sides are winless in their last five. Where do you think things are going wrong?
AG: It’s still early days, so I don’t think this (or any) match is a must win. But we need to get in the habit of winning games after a tough few seasons and protecting Craven Cottage better than they have done in recent years.
JN: Our main problem is that we just can’t convert our chances. As for QPR, I’m not sure where things are going wrong.
@TheQPRBible: Although he’s had many chances, Conor Washington is yet to prove himself, and with only Sebastian Polter and Tjaronn Chery scoring more than one goal (other than defenders), we’re struggling to get goals – especially from open play.
I think we have several players with great talent, but they’re extremely low on confidence right now.
AP: It doesn’t seem like we’ve got a strategy for getting the ball forward and into the net, except for from set-pieces, and even then the conversion rate has been poor.
LN: Where can you see this game being won or lost?
AG: It will be interesting to see who Jokanovic starts in central midfield. Earlier in the week, Ryan Tunnicliffe added some much needed pace to an area which has been kind of slow and pondering in recent matches.
JN: If we can take the lead before half-time, then we’ll win the match.
@TheQPRBible: Our defence is strong and we have a lot of talented individuals at the back. But we seem to be broken down a lot between our midfield and defensive unit. If we don’t sort that out, I believe that’s where we could be punished.
Beyond that, it’s just finding a front-four combination which works. It’d be nice to see Chris Martin open his account.
AP: QPR have to attack and keep moving forwards, if they don’t use every opportunity to keep the pressure on Fulham they’ll be mincemeat!
Hopefully we’ll field an attacking team and go all out straight from the off before Fulham have a chance to settle!
Interestingly, @TheQPRBible, Annamarie and Jonathan have all gone for a 1-1 draw in this one, and we’re offering odds of 5/1 for their prediction to be correct.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing