Queens Park Rangers and Southampton’s fight for survival starts when the English Premier League’s bottom two do battle at Loftus Road.
Lady luck has not looked kindly upon either side in the opening 11 fixtures of the season with lapses in concentration, defensive blunders and late goals cruelling both teams on their way to only one win.
QPR’s 1-0 loss at Stoke coupled with Southampton’s 1-1 draw at home with Swansea saw the London outfit slump to the bottom of the league with only four points.
And despite Mark Hughes’ side boasting nearly 60 percent of possession at the Britannia Stadium, substance over style is becoming the common mantra for QPR.
“We can’t keep on thinking that we’re doing OK, because we’re not winning Premier League games,” Hughes said after the Stoke loss.
“I’d rather play poorly and get the win, because that’s what we need.
“It is difficult for everybody because we are desperate to get that win everybody feels we deserve.”
But you have to feel for the eternally positive Southampton boss Nigel Adkins as much as his QPR counterpart Hughes.
Southampton looked as defensively sound as they have all season against Swansea before Paulo Gazzaniga’s lazy pass to defender Maya Yoshida gifted Nathan Dyer a chance to equalise, which he duly took.
The Saints, too, have pieced together some attractive football for little reward other than their 4-1 drubbing of Aston Villa at St Mary’s in September.
Adkins’ side are one point ahead of QPR on the table but tellingly, both sides have played seven of the league’s top eight already, a fixture list not rivalled by any other club.
Southampton’s clean bill of health will be of some small comfort for Adkins with only back-up defender Frazer Richardson unavailable on Saturday.
For QPR, Hughes will likely be without South Korean captain midfielder Park Ji-Sung (knee) again while striker Andy Johnson (knee) is looking at another four months on the sidelines.