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Having claimed back-to-back away league victories against Bristol City and Birmingham City, QPR had to beat League One leaders Rotherham United the hard way in their FA Cup third-round clash last weekend.
After a goalless draw in 90 minutes, substitute Lyndon Dykes cancelled out Michael Ihiekwe‘s opener in extra time to force the tie to penalties, with goalkeeper Jordan Archer saving the decisive spot kick to help the Hoops win 8-7 on penalties.
Mark Warburton labelled his side an “average team” in his post-match interview but credited the spirit that his players showed for fighting until the end to progress into the fourth round, where they will face Peterborough United next month.
QPR’s next challenge is a home clash with playoff rivals West Brom, a side who they have struggled against in recent meetings. Four of their last five encounters have ended in defeat and they have conceded 16 goals in the process.
While the Hoops will be keen to end their winless run against the Baggies on Saturday, they will also be seeking to avoid a third successive defeat at home, after losing without reply to Stoke City and Bournemouth in their last two games.
Victory for Warburton’s men would see them leapfrog West Brom into fourth place, with a game in hand on both Blackburn Rovers and Bournemouth in the top three.
QPR will be without Ilias Chair, Seny Dieng and Osman Kakay as they are all away on international duty with their respective countries for the Africa Cup of Nations.
After around six weeks out due to injury, Moses Odubajo featured for 30 minutes against Rotherham and will be in contention to start at right wing-back on Saturday ahead of Albert Adomah.
Defenders Yoann Barbet and Robert Dickie, who have played every minute in the Championship this term, are set to start once again, and they could shield January signing David Marshall, who is expected to replace Archer between the sticks after the latter picked up an injury while saving the decisive penalty kick last weekend.
Dykes will be hoping that he can force his way back into the first XI ahead of either Charlie Austin or Andre Gray, while Chris Willock could start in the number 10 role just behind the front two.
As for West Brom, Cedric Kipre will serve a one-match suspension, though Alex Mowatt and Sam Johnstone have returned from their own one-game bans and are expected to start in midfield and in goal respectively.
Robert Snodgrass, Dara O’Shea and Kean Bryan are all suffering with injuries, while Semi Ajayi is away on international duty with Nigeria at AFCON.
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Ismael named a strong starting lineup against Brighton and he is unlikely to make too many changes this weekend, but Mowatt’s expected inclusion would likely see Taylor Gardner-Hickman drop to the bench, while January signing Daryl Dike could make his debut up front.
Queens Park Rangers possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Dickie, Dunne, Barbet; Odubajo, Ball, Johansen, Wallace; Willock; Austin, Dykes
West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Clarke, Bartley, Townsend; Furlong, Livermore, Mowatt, Reach; Grant, Diangana; Robinson