Mark Hughes and his expensive band of QPR underachievers trudge up the long, poorly-maintained road to the Potteries readying themselves for a relentless assault of long balls and flying elbows.
This game is sure to be more a test of character than footballing ability and, if they can stand strong against the barrage of missiles aimed in between goalkeeper and centre backs, they have a chance of picking up their maiden league win of the campaign at 3/1.
They unexpectedly achieved the feat last term when applying Neil Warnock’s strong-arm tactics and will feel they have it in their locker to take all three points from the Britannia again this time around.
Bobby Zamora can be as bullish as the best of them up top and the R’s will be more reliant on his power here than the ingenuity of Esteban Granero in the middle of the park, who isn’t going to be much use with the ball flying past him 30 feet in the air time and again.
Reverting back to the Warnock way is how they’re going to get the better of Stoke and, as much as Hughes will loathe doing this, it’s preferable to being out of a job on Monday morning.
The hosts haven’t been their usual, reliable selves this term having won just once in all competitions and have failed to find the net in three of their last four outings. Does this mean that their 1980’s throwback game plan has finally been sussed out? It makes their 10/11 for the win worth ducking, that’s for sure.
QPR can be backed at 3/1 to shut the Potters out again this term, while they’re 28/1 shots to repeat last season’s antics and claim a 3-1 victory at the hosts’ expense.
In fairness to Stoke, they work as hard as any team in the land and know how to play to their strengths. With just three defeats all season, they’re proving as hard to beat as ever so if QPR are to record the win they crave expect it to be by a slender margin. This makes the 7/4 available for a Hoops win or draw with two goals or fewer scored worth a bet in this one.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date