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P.J. Murray 14th Jan 2012 - 19:29

Sparks will fly at the Sports Direct Arena

Back in September a new look QPR welcomed Newcastle to Loftus Road and played out a very exciting 0-0 draw. Once again a somewhat new QPR side face the Magpies and new manager Mark Hughes will hope that a point is the least his side can get, especially considering they are now in the relegation zone.

Both sides have been effected by the African Cup of Nations, Newcastle will be without Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote while The Hoops will lose Adel Taarabt and Armand Traore. Injuries have further decimated the already fragile QPR squad as Alejandro Faurlin is out for the season and former Newcastle player Joey Barton is suspended.

Newcastle (4/5) have kept seven clean sheets in the Prem this season, nearly as many games as QPR managed to score in. The Magpies are 6/5 to deny QPR a goal this match. They are coming into this game on the back of a massive morale boosting win at home when they beat the champions 3-0.

QPR (4/1) were held at StadiumMK by MK Dons in the FA Cup after they lost at home to high flying Norwich in the league. That bad run of form saw Neil Warnock lose his job and the fans will be expecting a lot from Hughes. The new manager effect has already been in evidence this season with Sunderland and the Londoners will be hoping that it's just not confined to the North East.

The visitors last win at Newcastle came in their first meeting in the Premier League, way back in 1996. Three points for Newcastle would see them leap-frog Liverpool and draw level on points with Arsenal, albeit for a few hours. QPR could make a massive jump from 18th to 16th with three points and more importantly, jump out of the relegation zone.

Shola Ameobi (9/2 first and 6/5 anytime) and Leon Best (9/2 first and 6/5 anytime) will lead the line against QPR.  Neither player has been quite prolific this season, but they can cause the R's defence a lot of hassle.

Heidar Helguson (15/2 first and 9/4 anytime) has been the surprise package of the QPR team this season. Despite signing some strikers at the end of the window the Icelandic warrior is the clubs top scorer with seven goals. He should start and given Federico's Macheda's ability to put good balls into the box there is a good chance he could provide Helguson with some much needed support.

Newcastle's ability to keep clean sheets and QPR's inability to score could mean this will be a low scoring game, under 2.5 goals is 10/11. This could also be won by just a single goal so backing Newcastle at 5/2 to win by one goal looks like a value price.


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