Charlton Athletic will host Queens Park Rangers at The Valley this Saturday with the hope of extending the gap between themselves and the Championship relegation zone.
The Addicks are currently three places and one point above Hull City in 22nd, after beating the Tigers last weekend in a relegation six-pointer. A win could help move them away from the drop zone as the league heads towards the home straight.
Charlton had lost three league games in a row before beating Hull after defeats to Middlesbrough, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday. Last Saturday’s 1-0 win at the KCOM Stadium will give them a new lease of confidence following the break, though, that they can extend their stay in the division for another year.
QPR were unbeaten in six league games before losing 1-0 to relegation-threatened Barnsley last weekend. Manager Mark Warburton will hope the 1-0 defeat won’t halt their progress as they cling onto hope of finishing in the play-off places. They are currently seven points away from Preston North End in sixth.
Charlton have no fresh injury concerns from last weekend’s win at Hull, and will welcome back Andre Green and Jake Forster-Caskey following injuries. George Lapslie, who missed last weekend’s game to be at the birth of his child, could also return.
Lee Bowyer’s side will still be without Lewis Page and Matt Smith through injury, whilst Lyle Taylor, Chris Solly and David Davis have made themselves unavailable for selection.
Geoff Cameron will be available again for the away side after missing the defeat to Barnsley through suspension. Captain Grant Hall has made himself unavailable for selection, whilst Marc Pugh has been released.
The team have no fresh injury concerns.
This season’s reverse fixture saw the points shared as Naby Sarr scored a late equaliser to earn Charlton a 2-2 draw at Loftus Road.
The Addicks have won the last two games between the sides at The Valley, in February 2014 and August 2015, and they also lead the way in terms of games won in history between the two teams, having been victorious in 24 games compared to QPR’s 23. There have also been 22 draws.
With the absence of top scorer Lyle Taylor, Charlton will look to 24-year-old Macauley Bonne to lead the line in their fight for survival. The former Leyton Orient man has netted eight goals for the club so far this season, and may flourish next to former QPR man Tomer Hemed up top.
Josh Cullen, who is on loan from West Ham United, will also prove to be a threat from midfield, whilst defender and captain Jason Pearce will lead from the back following his goal at Hull.
Rangers midfielder Eberechi Eze will look to pick up where he left off before the break, having registered 12 goals and eight assists so far this season. Bright Osayi-Samuel, who has six goals and seven assists to his name this campaign, will be a threat out wide, too.
What the managers said
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer spoke to the club’s website ahead of the game, he said:
“Those three points [against Hull] are going to make a big difference to us in confidence.
“Maybe it just shows that we are not a bad side, because we were not on the best of runs. But we have come back looking good and, hopefully, we can pick up more wins like we did at the weekend."
The QPR boss also spoke to their club’s website and said:
“It is very important that we finish the season strongly, because we want momentum. There is a lot of debate about when next season will start - we could be playing again in four weeks.
“For us, we have to make sure we are driving hard for the last few games. We have to put our club in a good position and show the fans how much we care about it.
“We always want to finish as high as possible. We want to get as many points as we can on the board, and maintain momentum going into what will be another tough season next year.”