QPR need to make Loftus Road a fortress in their Championship survival fight – starting against Rotherham

4 min

QPR’s home game against Rotherham is not only a relegation six-pointer but a massive opportunity for the side to rectify a fundamental issue that has held them back all season.

Going into the weekend encounter, the Hoops possess the worst Championship home record – winning only three of their 16 encounters, picking up just 14 points. 

And while all three have come since Martí Cifuentes’ arrival at the end of October, there’s no doubt Loftus Road will have to become a fortress between now and the end of the season if QPR stand any chance of survival.

The 1-0 win at Bristol City epitomised the renewed confidence Cifuentes has brought to the side, QPR playing with a flair that belied their meagre league position as Ilias Chair’s fourth league goal of the season saw the side leave Ashton Gate with all three points.

It also sets Cifuentes’ side up nicely to record back-to-back wins for the first time since the start of December against a bottom-of-the-table Rotherham who have recorded just one win in 21 league matches and appear all but relegated.

Anything less than a win would severely dent QPR’s own survival hopes but they head into the encounter unbeaten in their last three home games (1 win, 2 draws) yet even these statistics fail to tell the full picture of the irritation fans would have felt coming away from all three of those encounters.

Against fellow strugglers Huddersfield, only a 90th minute Kenneth Paal equaliser spared their blushes while the 2-2 draw with Norwich again brought about further frustration.

QPR were in control at the interval, causing Norwich issues with their excellent high pressing approach and deservedly led through Jack Colback’s 27th minute strike.

However, Norwich were gifted a way back into the match after the Hoops’ defence switched off not once, but twice, with only a late Michael Frey strike seeing the side gain a share of the spoils.

READ MORE: Marti Cifuentes’ QPR reign already feels a million miles away from Gareth Ainsworth’s tactics

At home, QPR have averaged 0.88 points per game compared to 1.06 on the road but having lost just once in their last six encounters, appears to be slowly hitting form at the right time.

“We are getting a good points average in the last games away,” Marti Cifuentes told London Football Scene following the win at Bristol City.

“But at the same time I don’t care against who and I don’t care where – we just need to pick up points.

“At home against Rotherham will be a massive, massive game but it’s very important to remain calm and know that it is going to be difficult. 

“Just looking at the table, we have seen many times that it is a mistake in this league to expect that it’s going to be an easy game. It’s not going to be an easy game. 

“It’s going to be very difficult and we will need to be at our best to get three points.

“That is why it’s very important that everybody remains together and understands how difficult the situation we are in is, treating every game as a very important one.”

READ MORE: Rejuvenated and refreshed Chris Willock ready to fire QPR to Championship safety

Nevertheless, looking at QPR’s remaining seven home games, it is hard not to feel Cifuentes will have his eye on one particular fixture besides the showdown against Rotherham.

At the beginning of April they face fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, a clash in which both sides will be looking to boost their survival chances at the detriment of their opponent with just five games left to play thereafter.

Before that there are obviously the obstacles of not only Rotherham but West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City at Loftus Road with QPR having to do the hard yards to ensure they are in as strong a position as possible before the encounter with the Owls.

A back-to-back win and a fourth unbeaten home game against Rotherham would certainly lift these hopes – anything less and further down the line it may be too little, too late.

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