QPR vs Reading predictions: Championship duo to cancel each other out
After their 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Tuesday, QPR are up to fourth in the Championship table — and they will now be looking to strengthen their promotion push with a victory over Reading on Friday.
Mick Beale's men have lost just one of their last seven second-tier matches, and expectation is beginning to rise in west London.
Reading have been outperforming pre-season expectations, and the Royals sit one place above QPR in third in the Championship table.
The Royals have recorded good victories over Huddersfield, Wigan and Stoke in recent weeks and manager Paul Ince has tightened up a defence that conceded 87 second-tier goals last season.
These two sides were seen as unlikely promotion contenders before the season got underway, but they look sure to serve up an interesting clash under the lights at Loftus Road on Friday night.
Midfielder Taylor Richards and left-back Nicholas Hamalainen are out for the Hoops. Beale has also lost forward Chris Willock to injury, and that could be a significant blow to Rangers.
Willock is QPR's leading scorer this season with six Championship strikes, and the 24-year-old has managed 21 shots on goal in his nine games this season.
It is a position the R's are not overloaded with options in and it is going to be a difficult job for Beale to mitigate Willock's absence.
Reading have a lengthy injury list, and it is to their credit that they have maintained a high-performance level this season.
Shane Long, Naby Sarr, Femi Azeez, Scott Dann and Liam Moore will all miss the trip to West London, but right-back Andy Yiadom may be fit enough to return to the squad.
QPR have taken 16 points from the last 21 available, and they have lost just once at home this season.
Rangers have conceded more than one goal in only one of their five home Championship matches this season, and four of the Hoops' last five second-tier matches have gone under 2.5 goals.
Reading have won only two of their five away league matches this term, and goal-scoring has been a major issue on the road.
The Royals have notched just twice on their Championship away days, and three of those five matches have seen fewer than two goals scored.
QPR have lost just three of their last 14 matches against Reading.
QPR should be the favourites for this clash, but that is well reflected in match odds of 4/5.
Reading deserve plenty of credit for an excellent start to the season, but they have only scored two away league goals all season.
That is a concern and a lengthy injury list means Ince's hands are somewhat tied in terms of squad rotation. It is worth remembering that this game comes just three days after both of these sides were last in action.
Reading deployed a three-man midfield against Norwich in midweek, and it worked well in terms of restricting the Canaries' attacking opportunities. Ince may well opt to pack the midfield once again, and that could lead to a tight clash at Loftus Road.
QPR are without top scorer Chris Willock, four of their last five games have gone under 2.5 goals, and another low-scoring contest looks likely.