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Preview: Queens Park Rangers vs. Millwall - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Queens Park Rangers and Millwall, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both mid-table finishers last season, Queens Park Rangers welcome London rivals Millwall to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday, hoping to embark on a push for a top-six place this term.

While QPR aim to improve on ninth, the Lions will attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time since returning to the Championship in 2017.


Match preview

Queens Park Rangers' Charlie Austin in action with Wycombe Wanderers' Curtis Thompson in the Championship on March 9, 2021© Reuters

Optimism has been in plentiful supply at QPR in the past few weeks, as manager Mark Warburton seeks to build on foundations laid during his first two years at the west London club.

After signing a new contract with the Championship side, Warburton - previously on a one-year rolling deal - leads his team into their season-opener against Millwall at the weekend with a familiar face by his side.

Given star striker Charlie Austin's lower-league pedigree, when his West Bromwich Albion contract expired earlier this summer, the Hoops were not alone in wanting to secure his services, following a successful loan deal last term.

It seemed like a natural fit for both parties when Austin signed on the dotted line, though, and the 32-year-old will be intent upon recapturing his career-best form while previously at the club, when he made a serious impact on Premier League defences.

Naturally, Warburton will be delighted to retain such an integral cog in his attacking machine, and Austin netted in two high-profile pre-season friendlies last month - as Rangers kept the feelgood factor glowing by beating Manchester United 4-2, before holding Leicester City to a 3-3 draw.

Since the manager was appointed in 2019, finishing 13th and ninth has helped stabilise an ailing outfit, as they endured a prolonged sticky patch after relegation from the top flight four years before. Now, a repeat of March's 3-2 win over Millwall on home turf would get their promotion push off to a flyer.

Millwall manager Gary Rowett pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Lions boss Gary Rowett, meanwhile, took a last look at his options ahead of Saturday's game with a final training ground practice match on Wednesday.

Previously, his Millwall team had beaten both Motherwell and Ipswich Town without conceding and drawn 1-1 at Gillingham, as they warm up for another gruelling Championship campaign.

Following a tough trip to Shepherd's Bush this weekend, Rowett's men will enjoy the rare prospect of three consecutive home matches - two in the league and one, versus Portsmouth, in the EFL Cup - so a winning start on the road could set their season up perfectly.

Well-travelled striker Benik Afobe has joined the club on a season-long loan from Stoke, following 15 moves in his career so far - including a loan spell with Trabzonspor last year - while fellow new boys George Saville and Scott Malone bring further Championship know-how through the door.

Briefly on loan at The Den from Arsenal in 2013, Afobe could prove a key component in the manager's intended expansion of their renowned repertoire of grafting and destroying others' momentum.

Both he and Malone were on target in the 3-0 success at Portman Road last week, and will be relishing the prospect of resuming life in front of fans at QPR, who Millwall ultimately finished six points below last term. As the visitors have been allocated more than 2,500 tickets for the game, there is sure to be a raucous crowd there to greet them.

Queens Park Rangers form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Millwall form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W



Team News

Queens Park Rangers QPR manager Mark Warburton pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Mark Warburton has been busy in the transfer market, and QPR's business has convinced many observers they can now withstand the rigours of a promotion-chasing campaign.

Seny Dieng established himself as the club's number one last year, so should hold off the claims of new signing Jordan Archer for his place between the posts, while in front of him, defender Moses Odubajo spent most of the summer training with Rangers and has now been awarded a contract. Jordy de Wijs is back on a permanent deal and offers some steel to the back three.

Arguably their two loan signings that had the most impact were that of Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen, with the latter now made captain, and both are set to be deployed against Millwall this week after signing full terms.

The visitors, however, will be without one of their main men, as Mason Bennett will miss Saturday's game through injury, so former Hoops striker Matt Smith could feature at some stage.

While the back five positions are possibly settled - if Gary Rowett opts to deploy a 5-3-2 formation - there is much competition for places in the Millwall midfield, with George Saville now joining Alex Pearce and George Evans and Maikel Kieftenbeld among those in contention.

Jed Wallace - who recently overcame a rib injury - and Benik Afobe both scored last time out, so the pair should start up front once again.

Queens Park Rangers possible starting lineup:
Dieng; Odubajo, De Wijs, Dickie, Barbet, Wallace; Ball, Chair, Johansen; Austin, Dykes

Millwall possible starting lineup:
Bialkowski; McNamara, Ballard, Hutchinson, Cooper, Malone; Pearce, Evans, Saville; Wallace, Afobe


SM words green background

We say: Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Millwall

Now with numerous options in attack and defence, QPR are surely poised to push for a place in the higher echelons of the table this season, so can get their campaign underway with a win over Millwall.

Both managers are shrewd operators at this level, but the home side's squad features a little more individual quality, which should make the difference on Saturday.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: QPR vs Millwall

Queens Park Rangers
73.4%
Draw
12.9%
Millwall
13.7%
124
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General view of Queens Park Rangers' Loftus Road taken May 2015
Read Next:
Queens Park Rangers: Transfer ins and outs - Summer 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bournemouth9630167921
2West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9540168819
3Coventry CityCoventry9612126619
4Fulham95221981117
5Stoke CityStoke95221310317
6Blackburn RoversBlackburn9441169716
7Huddersfield TownHuddersfield94141312113
8Bristol City93421110113
9Reading94141618-213
10Queens Park RangersQPR93331714312
11Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd93331312112
12Birmingham CityBirmingham93331010012
13Cardiff CityCardiff93241214-211
14Blackpool9324812-411
15Preston North EndPreston9243911-210
16Luton TownLuton92431316-310
17Swansea CitySwansea9243811-310
18Middlesbrough9234911-29
19Millwall9162911-29
20Barnsley9153610-48
21Peterborough UnitedPeterborough92161020-107
22Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest9126813-55
23Hull City9126514-95
24Derby CountyDerby924368-2-2

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