Coventry City vs. Queens Park Rangers – prediction, team news, lineups

During the last five Championship matches – sandwiching an FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley to Manchester United on April 21 – Coventry have collected just the single point, meaning that their chances of sealing back-to-back playoff finishes are dead in the water ahead of the final weekend.

The Sky Blues took to the field most recently at the CBS Arena on Tuesday night, when it was all about visitors Ipswich Town as they looked to boost their chances of automatic promotion, and the Tractor Boys did just that, with strikes from Kieffer Moore and defender Cameron Burgess ensuring maximum points for the East Anglians.

There was a positive on the night for Coventry despite defeat thanks to the goalscoring antics of USA international Haji Wright, who netted his 16th strike of the Championship term versus Kieran McKenna‘s troops, bettering his 15-goal tally in the Turkish Super Lig whilst at Antalyaspor last term.

The likes of Wright and former Sunderland loanee Ellis Simms have managed to replace the goals of Sporting Lisbon star Viktor Gyokeres this summer, however it is the Sky Blues’ defensive deficiencies that have cost them a top-six standing this season, with Saturday’s hosts keeping just 12 clean sheets after earning 22 during the 2022-23 term.

With the playmaker yet to sign a new deal at the West Midlands outfit, Saturday is likely to be the final time Callum O’Hare features in Coventry colours before moving elsewhere, with the 26-year-old scoring 22 goals in 181 appearances for the club since switching from Aston Villa in 2019.

Queens Park Rangers manager Marti Cifuentes before the match on January 14, 2024

© Reuters

When Marti Cifuentes was whisked into Loftus Road back in October to replace Gareth Ainsworth, QPR were sitting second bottom of the Championship, six points from the safety of 21st and looking a certainty to be joining second-tier whipping boys Rotherham United in League One next term.

Fastforward to last Friday and the Spaniard’s marvellous renaissance of the R’s had been emphatically completed, with the West London club thrashing promotion hopefuls Leeds United 4-0 in the capital, securing QPR’s spot in the Championship for the 2024-25 season.

Heading into the final weekend of the second-tier schedule, QPR occupy 17th position in the league standings, six points ahead of 22nd-placed Birmingham City, who will fight at Saturday lunchtime to avoid a fate which the R’s were consigned to by many onlookers during the early stages of the term.

In a season full of transfer speculation and controversy individually, Ilias Chair has continued to be a talismanic figure for Cifuentes’s charges, netting six times and providing eight assists in the Championship, meaning that he leads his teammates in both of those attacking metrics.

QPR will be looking to avoid four straight defeats to Coventry when they make the trip to the West Midlands on Saturday, with the R’s last tasting success versus the Sky Blues in January 2022, when Andre Gray and fans’ favourite Albert Adomah netted decisive goals at the CBS Arena.

 

Coventry City Championship form:

 

Coventry City form (all competitions):

 

Queens Park Rangers Championship form:

 

 


Team News

Coventry City celebrate a last-gasp winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 16, 2024.© Reuters

Coventry’s lack of squad depth has provided a severe hindrance in recent weeks, with the Sky Blues especially light on options for the right flank due the absences of Fabio Tavares and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto.

Robins will also be unable to call upon the services of centre-back Luis Binks, who suffered an Achilles injury in the defeat to Hull City.

January signing Victor Torp is still recovering from a stomach injury, meaning that the likes of Liam Kelly and Ben Sheaf should retain their spots in the engine room.

QPR are without the talents of Swiss striker Michael Frey, so Scotland international Lyndon Dykes will lead the line once again after scoring against Leeds last time out.

Taylor Richards has endured an injury-riddled term and is targeting a return to first-team action over the summer, whilst Rayan Kolli will also miss Saturday’s clash.

Paul Smyth impressed during his cameo versus Daniel Farke‘s side last week, however Lucas Andersen has probably done enough to keep hold of his spot in the XI.

Coventry City possible starting lineup:
Collins; Van Ewijk, Thomas, Latibeaudiere, Bidwell; Eccles, Kelly, Sheaf, Wright, O’Hare; Simms

Queens Park Rangers possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Dunne, Cook, Clarke-Salter, Paal; Field, Colback, Willock, Andersen, Chair; Dykes

 

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