QPR have, from the beginning of the season, been one of the favourites for promotion. Relegated from the Premier League last season they have a big, expensive squad, and they've, as expected, been right up there since the big kick off.
Having said that, we've been above them for much longer than they've been above us, but just now we have dropped three points behind them and a defeat tomorrow would double that.
When we played them at home in October they were still unbeaten in the league, but we'd won our previous six league games and were the form team. We turned in arguably our best performance of the season to win 2-0.
|Ross Wallace, fit again and back in the squad|
We are not in that same sort of form right now as we head for Loftus Road. We've won just four of our last 14 league games since then, albeit we've only lost two and it is that collection of draws that is costing us as QPR have followed Leicester in moving above us.
Any hopes we might have had of strengthening the squad this week have been dashed. The truth is we went into the last day of the transfer window knowing there wouldn't be any signings and the only movement this week was to loan out Joseph Mills while paying up both Marvin Bartley and George Porter to allow them to move to other clubs.
We've actually been bringing in more directors than players this year. Ashley Barnes was the only new player signing while in the boardroom we've added both Brian Nelson and Terry Crabb with an expected return for Brendan Flood to make the numbers seven.
Manager Sean Dyche does have a bigger squad to select from tomorrow. Danny Lafferty and Keith Treacy, both of whom missed the Brighton game with injury, are expected to return and Ross Wallace, who has played no first team football since August, came through the Lancashire Senior Cup tie against Oldham on Wednesday.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see Wallace back on the bench but I suspect the only change to the starting eleven could come should Treacy been passed fit. Michael Kightly returned for him on Tuesday but was very disappointing.
Our team could be: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Keith Treacy, Dean Marney, David Jones, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes. Subs from: Alex Cisak, Kevin Long, Danny Lafferty, David Edgar, Brian Stock, Steven Hewitt, Ross Wallace, Michael Kightly, Junior Stanislas, Ashley Barnes.
The big news out of QPR this week was the injury to former Claret Charlie Austin. I can't deny that news of his absence brought a smile to my face. We know how good he can be when he's firing and he's certainly been firing recently with eight goals in his last 11 appearances.
It's his shoulder again, something Burnley supporters know about. Twice he had long spells out at Turf Moor with the same problem and it looks as though he's going to be out for quite some time with this latest problem which will mean surgery.
As much as a fit Austin makes things better for QPR and therefore hinders our promotion hopes, I really do hope he's back fully fit as soon as possible.
Today being deadline day, we knew QPR would be busy. Harry Redknapp described it all as crazy tonight on Sky Sports News but he loves being part of it.
He's been busy with the loan captures of Guilherme Dellatorre from Desportivo Brazil and Wolves' Kevin Doyle along with the permanent signing of Fulham's Aaron Hughes. All three of them will be available tomorrow.
It's difficult to determine what their team will be but they expect Joey Barton to return after missing the last two games although Yossi Benayoun remains doubtful with a groin problem. Danny Simpson is definitely out but Junior Hoilett is another likely to be passed fit.
Last Time We Were There
It's over three years since QPR were last at Burnley. Then under the management of Neil Warnock they were on their way to the Premier League while at Turf Moor there was an emotional return for Jimmy Adamson and the arrival of Eddie Howe as Stuart Gray took charge for the last time.
|Good performance from Danny Fox on his return|
The game was the first of successive 0-0 draws and was played in driving rain, conditions that just a few months earlier would undoubtedly have seen the game called off.
Dean Marney was injured and his place in the squad was taken by Kevin McDonald in a game where the start was frightening as QPR totally dominated the opening quarter of an hour. We hardly got a touch of the ball and it looked as though we were going to have a really tough afternoon.
Thankfully we didn't concede during this period and as the half progressed we did start to come into the game more, but we could still think ourselves very fortunate to go in at half time with the score at 0-0.
The second half wasn't much different but they didn't create too many chances and in truth Brian Jensen had a quiet 45 minutes but the fun started with Adel Taarabt who decided to spend much of the time falling over and trying to win free kicks from nothing.
Referee Mike Jones fell for it far too often which prompted, inevitably, the chant of 'Same old Warnock, always cheating' from the Longside.
In fairness, against a very good side, we did defend very well with Danny Fox, back in the side after a long absence through injury, our top performer.
It was the start of a run of games that saw us lose only once in the league, at Doncaster, in ten games.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Danny Fox, Graham Alexander (David Edgar 86), Wade Elliott, Jack Cork, Chris Eagles, Chris Iwelumo (Steven Thompson 68), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Andre Bikey, Kevin McDonald, Ross Wallace.
QPR: Paddy Kenny, Bradley Orr, Matt Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss, Clint Hill, Shaun Derry, Alejandro Faurlin (Leon Clarke 81), Tommy Smith, Adel Taarabt (Fitz Hall 90+3), Petter Vaagan Moen, Rob Hulse (Heidar Helguson 81). Subs not used: Radek Cerny, Gary Borrowdale, Antonio German, Lee Cook.
Previous Games against QPR
|Last 20 Years|
|FA Cup||h||2-1||3,760||Thompson, Rodriguez - after extra time|
Click HERE to see all previous results against QPR