Birmingham vs QPR predictions: Visitors can return to the summit
- QPR have won five of their last six
- Londoners did the double over Birmingham last season
- Recommended bet: Back QPR to to win
In-form QPR can move back to the top of the Championship standings if they secure a victory away at an improving Birmingham side on Friday night.
No team has picked up more points in the second tier across the last 10 matches than the R's, who have also been buoyed by head coach Michael Beale's recent decision to turn down an approach from Premier League outfit Wolves.
Burnley leapfrogged QPR to go top of the table following their midweek victory over Norwich, but Rangers can return to the summit if they claim a sixth win in seven Championship matches on Friday, although they will be facing a Birmingham team that have proved difficult to beat of late.
The Blues have lost just two of their last nine league fixtures, a run that has seen John Eustace's side close to within six points of the play-off positions.
Birmingham are set to be boosted by the return of experienced defender George Friend. The 35-year-old has been sidelined since August with a hamstring problem but is expected to be on the bench for Friday's clash at St Andrew's.
Friend's impending return eases some of the injury concerns facing Eustace, although Gary Gardner, Marc Roberts, Przemyslaw Placheta and Nico Gordon all remain on the treatment table.
QPR are hoping to have Chris Willock available. The winger, who has scored six goals in nine appearances this term, has not featured since the 1-0 win over Sheffield United at the start of the month due to a hamstring injury.
Forward Tyler Roberts could also return following a calf issue, but midfielder Stefan Johansen is a major doubt after being forced off during last weekend's victory over Wigan with a gluteal problem.
There is no team in better form in the Championship than QPR right now, with Beale's high-flyers having registered eight wins from their last 11 league fixtures.
Creativity has been key to Rangers' success, with Ilias Chair and Johansen having registered six assists apiece in the Championship this season - the joint most in the division.
Birmingham have built their recent improvement on a strong defence - only Preston (14) have conceded fewer goals than the Blues (15) in the second tier this term.
However, the goals have not always been flowing for Birmingham's players at the other end, with the exception of Scott Hogan, who has netted seven of the club's 16 goals to date.
QPR have only lost one of the last six meetings between these two sides and they did the double over Birmingham last season, following up a 2-0 success at Loftus Road in September 2021 with a 2-1 victory at St Andrew's in January.
There is a feel-good factor surrounding QPR at the moment, not just because of their impressive run of form, but also due to Beale's decision to snub interest from the Premier League.
The west Londoners have won three of their last four on the road and have also triumphed on two of their previous three visits to St Andrew's, all of which indicates they should have the belief and know-how to pick up all three points on Friday night.