Free of any midweek encounters and with Steve McClaren’s training ground messages ringing in their ears, Queens Park Rangers return to Loftus Road on Saturday to face Stoke City (kick-off 3pm).
After losing eight of their last nine, the anomaly being a spirited home win over Leeds, the Hoops will be hoping to reignite their league form from this point onward.
A week’s rest is something that will feel unfamiliar to the squad with McClaren eager to remind us of the seven matches played in 21 days.
In last weekend’s West London derby defeat to Brentford, QPR lacked ideas in the final third and were undone easily, never gaining a foothold on a match that, at half-time, looked winnable.
As rapid as Brentford’s front three were, or as solid as their back line and as hard as their midfield fought, the Bees faced a struggling side.
Although the penalty decision three minutes into the second-half for the opener may have been harsh, it was alarming to see how quickly QPR caved in and Brentford should have had the game won sooner.
Failing to have a single shot on target until a stoppage time ‘nothing to lose’ effort by the ever-ambitious Bright Osayi-Samuel is without doubt a below-par performance with McClaren clearly disappointed by the display.
But with no new injury troubles the home game against fellow strugglers Stoke City could act as a belief-builder with the players very much seeing it as a fresh opportunity to kick-on.
Midfielder Massimo Luongo spoke of a ‘nine-point week’ heading into the encounter alongside the midweek home clash against Rotherham United before travelling up to Hull City.
Three successive wins would certainly push QPR into a slightly more respectable league position ahead of a much-needed international break.
However Nathan Jones’ Stoke have drawn three of their last four games suggesting what they lack in attack, they make up for defensively and the Hoops will certainly have to land more than one shot on target to get a result.
But a victory would see them leapfrog Stoke by a single point and with the home crowd behind them that should be incentive enough.
Prediction: 2-1 QPR