Football: QPR confident of continuing fine run

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers travel to West Brom today boosted by a five-match winning streak that has put them back on course for the Premiership, taking them from 19th to sixth. The rise has coincided with the arrival of John Spencer and Gavin Peacock from Chelsea.

Their manager, Stuart Houston, is looking for Rangers to forget about the aches and pains caused by the hectic Christmas programme to maintain their charge for the top. "You have to go into every game with a bit of confidence and we'll certainly be going to West Brom with that because of the run we've had," he said.

Albion, who were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw at Reading on Boxing Day, are confident of beating the freeze. They have covered the pitch and will keep it under wraps until an hour before kick-off.

Bolton, who went back to the top of the table on Boxing Day, will be defending their position and looking for revenge for their 5-2 defeat earlier in the season at the hands of Southend. They look set to continue with Bryan Small in preference to Jimmy Phillips.

Scott Green may start ahead of Michael Johansen wide on the right, but Bolton's midfielder Alan Thompson and goalkeeper Keith Branagan are out with foot and hamstring problems respectively.

Barnsley, now in third place following their 1-0 defeat at Stoke on Boxing Day, will enjoy a capacity crowd of 19,200 when Manchester City visit but they will be without Neil Redfearn who could be missing for a month with a hamstring injury.

Stoke, who have quietly maintained their push for the top on the back of Mike Sheron's 18-goal haul, will have to sit back and watch this weekend. Their trip to Crystal Palace has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

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