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Preview: Blues V QPR

They are a very strong team going forward. They are level points with us and very similar numbers. Possibly that just reflects that we are on the same level.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of tonight's Sky Bet Championship fixture between Blues and Queens Park Rangers at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (7.45pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on the need to follow up on the win against Reading at the weekend with a performance against QPR tonight...
“It’s massive. In that game we proved a few points to ourselves. We knew that if we went 1-0 down, we could turn it around because we’ve done it before, we know how to do it and we have the confidence to do it. That’s a very important sign in a team, but we’ve never been in a situation like on Saturday where we faced two difficult moments with the injuries, handicapping all our options and subs and tactical changes in the second half. We had to find the strength within us, and I think the team got out of it very healthily. We had 45 minutes where we were going to win no matter what, no matter how the game is going to be, and I was very proud of the team for that. The normal thing is to feel sorry for yourself, blame that situation, and maybe use it as an excuse not to get a result. The players proved it and showed a great game in the second-half. There were more positives at Reading than just three points - how we did it. Now it’s QPR which is a huge challenge, but our team is a team that likes challenges. We’ve shown it. Everyone understands how important those points at home are. Everything is forgotten about on Saturday - it’s only QPR in our mind now, and I see a very focused squad, a very mature squad.”

Pep Clotet on the importance of not overlooking the QPR game, with the local derby against West Brom coming up at the weekend...
“All week I haven’t mentioned what’s going to happen after Wednesday because for me the mentality is like, well, the world could end on Thursday! We’ve always been a team on a game-by-game basis. We never get ahead of ourselves. We have a tough task on Wednesday night. For our fans coming to the stadium, we want to play for them, in front of them, that’s all we’re looking for.”

Pep Clotet asked about the momentum gained by the current four-game unbeaten run...
“That would make sense, but for me, what we’ve done before doesn’t really matter. It’s not easy in the Championship to get two consecutive results in a row. That could be two draws, two wins, or a draw and a win. It’s a very difficult league, it’s important to not lose games, but the chances of losing...it happens to everyone. What the team has accomplished is a credit to themselves, but it’s important that when we don’t win, we correct it because in the long run that makes a huge difference. Take the run we’re on now - we’re not happy. They’re good points away from home, but the draws were games we wanted to win. Actually, most of the work we’ve done this week has been on the mistakes we made at Reading. There’s a hunger in this team to search for excellence. You see the 3-2, it doesn’t reflect what happened in the game - so that needs to be corrected."

Pep Clotet on the challenge that QPR will pose his side...
"They are a very strong team going forward. They are level points with us and very similar numbers. Possibly that just reflects that we are on the same level. When two teams are on the same level it's very important to know that you need to make it calm, the fact you are playing at home. But when you are on the same level anything could happen and it's very difficult to understand how difficult it will be. Teams around your level can often be the most difficult games because you know that you have to be on the top of your game, and they have to be on top of their game as well. They game can still be even. It's a huge test for us. I like the way they go forward and the way they combine. I like the way they apply speed in attacks. I think it's a very balanced team as well when it comes to attacking. They got a very strong result at home the other day. I have full trust in our ability to have a good display and to trust our football."

QPR boss Mark Warburton's comments ahead of the game...
"They’ll be looking for three points against us at home and we go there knowing that our away form is very good. We will try and use the squad because the games come fast now. We have to use the squad, keep the players fit and Wednesday night will be a tough encounter. Birmingham have physicality, they have quality all over the park, they have put in some good performances lately and it will be another tough test.”

Blues team news...
Jake Clarke-Salter dislocated his shoulder against Reading and will be out for two to three weeks. Dan Crowley limped off against the Royals with a hamstring problem but is expected to return in the next couple of weeks. Fran Villalba and Gary Gardner have recovered from their respective hamstring and knee injuries and are available. Marc Roberts (ankle) and Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) remain sidelined. 

QPR team news...
Defender Yoann Barbet could return following seven weeks out with a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper Liam Kelly (thigh) and midfielder Charlie Owens (knee) remain out. Full-back Angel Rangel will have a late fitness test.

Last five meetings between Blues and QPR...
Championship 09 Feb 2019 QPR 3 Blues 4
Championship 01 Sep 2018 Blues 0 QPR 0
Championship 28 Apr 2018 QPR 3 Blues 1
Championship 16 Dec 2017 Blues 1 QPR 2
Championship 18 Feb 2017 Blues 1 QPR 4

Total meetings between Blues and QPR...
Blues wins: 23
Draws: 15
QPR wins: 21

Form guide last five games...
Blues: LDDDW
QPR: DLLDW

Line-ups last league game...
Reading v Blues (4-2-3-1): Trueman, Pedersen, Dean (C), Crowley (Maghoma, 30), Sunjic, Bellingham, Gimenez, Clarke-Salter (Harding, 17), Bela, McEachran (Jutkiewicz, 69).
Subs (not used): Camp, Montero, Davis, Bailey.

QPR (4-1-2-1-2) v Preston: Lumley, Kane, Hall (c), Cameron, Pugh, Hugill, Eze (Amos, 87), Manning, Osayi-Samuel, Wells (Scowen, 67), Leistner (Smith 46).
Subs (not used): Barnes, Wallace, Smith, Ball, Chair.

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be streaming the match live to International Subscribers. Those in the Great Britain and Ireland can get exclusive audio commentary. Commentary will be provided by Jonathan Bell and former Blues defender Kevan Broadhurst. Dale Moon will be joined in the studio pre-match and at half-time by former Blues striker Dele Adebola. For more details about BluesTV, click here.

Match officials...
Darren Bond will take charge of tonight's game. So far this season the Lancashire-based official has refereed 14 games, where he has produced a total of 51 yellow cards, one red, and awarded four penalties. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship away fixture against Sheffield United in April 2019.Blues drew that game 1-1 and Kristian Pedersen and David Davis were the only players cautioned. He has refereed 15 Blues game to date, nine of which we have won, four we have drawn and two we have lost. The last QPR game that he refereed was their Sky Bet Championship away fixture at Stoke City in August. Rangers won that game 2-1 and there were four players cautioned; including Yoann Barbet, Josh Scowen and Geoff Cameron for the visitors. He has refereed six Rangers games to date, with R’s winning one of them and losing five. Mr Bond will be assisted on Wednesday by Philip Dermott and Graham Kane, with Graham Salisbury acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
Tickets for this game are priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for Under-16s. For full pricing and purchasing details, click here.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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