QPR travel to League One table-toppers Portsmouth aiming for a place in the FA Cup Fifth Round for the first time in 22 years.
The Hoops come into the game off the back of a disappointing 4-1 defeat against Preston where they were outfought and outplayed throughout.
Steve McClaren’s side failed to create any clear-cut chances and conceding four goals in the process brought back memories of QPR’s disastrous start to the campaign.
Afterwards goalscorer Matt Smith admitted it was ‘men against boys’ before going on to describe his appearances this season as ‘cameos’ while underlining his desire to contribute more to the cause.
Saturday certainly highlighted a selection dilemma for boss McClaren in terms of his attacking options – Smith coming on at half-time to act as a target man for Nahki Wells to feed off.
However, it was clear the Hoops were missing pace on the counter with the balls into the channels merely playing into Preston’s hands.
McClaren admitted it was a difficult decision ahead of the Portsmouth encounter, stating ‘that’s exactly the point. We will sit down in the week and decide how best to win the game.’
Aramide Oteh, Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel all possess the much-needed pace, but Smith is an alternate option McClaren has tended to plump for in recent weeks.
It’s certainly a decision that could set the tone for the tie with McClaren saying this week ‘it’s a traditional cup-tie’ and that QPR will have to show ‘immense character and courage’.
Ebere Eze could also be missing for the clash, picking up a knock in training which could pave the way for a like-for-like replacement or prompt a system change.
Either way, Rangers will have to be at their very best to ensure they are not outfought once again – or face a cup upset at a lively Fratton Park.