Struggling QPR welcome Roberto Martinez’s resurgent Latics side in a proverbial relegation six-pointer at Loftus Road. Harry Redknapp and Rangers are surely supping in the last-chance saloon now after Monday’s entertaining but ultimately gut-wrenching 3-2 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage left them stranded deep in the relegation mire. They are currently second bottom with 30 points, above Reading only by virtue of goal difference. While defeat to Wigan would not render safety a mathematical impossibility, it would surely strike a damning psychological blow from which it would be extremely difficult to recover.
In rather stark contrast to QPR’s recent woes Wigan appear to be reverting to type, stringing together an impressive sequence of three consecutive wins in all competitions to emulate their traditional end-of-season success. That success has been typified by the performances of Arouna Kone. The Ivorian has been mightily effective of late, inviting plaudits from manager Roberto Martinez after notching the vital winner with nine minutes left on the clock at home to Norwich last weekend.
But despite that good run, neither Wigan nor Martinez can afford to rest on their laurels. The aforementioned triumph over Norwich put them on 30 points and level with Aston Villa, but Wigan leapfrogged Paul Lambert’s young team due to their superior goal difference.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 4.10pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Wigan 2 (McCarthy) QPR 2 (Nelsen, Cisse), Premier League, December 2012
QPR 3 (Helguson, Buzsaky, Smith) Wigan 1 (Rodallega), Premier League, January 2012
Wigan 2 (Di Santo) QPR 0, Premier League, August 2011
This will be the 10 league meeting between QPR and Wigan. QPR currently have the advantage with three wins, Wigan have two and the sides have drawn on four occasions.
Wigan’s presence usually guarantee goals. Martinez’s men have not been involved in a goalless draw since February 2012.
Arouna Kone has led the line impressively for Wigan this season and has 10 league goals.
In each of their previous two defeats at the hands of Aston Villa and Fulham, QPR have mustered 21 shots.
QPR to win: 2.37
Wigan to win: 3.0
QPR fans will have bleak memories of their previous clash with Wigan in December 2012. In Harry Redknapp’s third game in charge of Rangers, they led 2-1 with just 16 minutes remaining at the DW Stadium but conceded a late James McCarthy equaliser and drew 2-2. That result saw QPR set a new record for the longest winless start to a Premier League season.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 4.10pm, highlights on BBC1 at 10.25pm