QPRs’ Joey Barton and Jordon Mutch will face late fitness tests ahead of the visit of Stoke City to Loftus Road and the fate of the former could decide the destination of the points.
Awaiting the verdict, the wise owls embedded within the bwin laying department have our adversaries’ inseparable at 9/5 for victory, with the draw a 21/10 shot.
The former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder’s absence was keenly felt as a Rangers side who had been competitive in each of their previous Premier League outing rolled over for the Manchester United renaissance last time out.
Prior to that Barton had taken centre-stage in their engine room, to the extent that he ranked the division’s single most creative player in terms of combined key passes, accurate long balls and crosses after three games.
For a full guide to the numbers that prove as much, click here to read ‘The stats that say: QPR are more creative than Liverpool and Man City’.
In truth, the fact that Barton rated such a loss for Harry Redknapp’s troops as they bobbed up and down on the Old Trafford tide like polyester-clad jellyfish could have been anticipated.
After returning from Marseille to help freshly-relegated Rangers blast back up the top tier travellator he set up about proving his doubters wrong.
QPR won 53 per cent of the 38 games in which the Huyton philosopher pulled the strings from the start, losing just 21 per cent.
When unavailable from the off his importance to the cause was writ large – the Super Hoops claimed victory just 36 per cent of the time, losing 43 per cent of their 13 outings.
One thing is for certain, if there’s any possibility that he can play Barton is likely to relish the opportunity to inflict punishment on Stoke boss Mark Hughes.
The Welshman initially made Barton his captain during his ultimately disastrous spell at Loftus Road.
However, Hughes later gave the Liverpudlian the colder of his shoulders in the wake of the player’s sending-off against Manchester City on the final day of the 2011/12 campaign, first attempting to loan him to Fleetwood Town before removing his squad number.