EFL Championship

QPR v Leeds: Defences on top in capital clash

Daniel Farke - Leeds
Leeds remain in the hunt for automatic promotion

Leeds look to take another step towards Premier League promotion when they visit basement battlers QPR on Friday night. Betfair writer Mark O'Haire is opposing goals at Loftus Road.

QPR v Leeds
Friday April 26, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports

QPR 5.004/1 boss Marti Cifuentes said he would sleep soundly after overseeing side bag a vital victory against Preston last weekend. Lyndon Dykes' first-half goal secured a 1-0 success at Loftus Road, taking Rangers to 50 points - four points clear of the relegation zone with only two matches left to play.

Asked if he believes the win will be enough to keep the R's up, Cifuentes said: "I hope so. But whatever happens, my mindset is that of course today we took a big step forward in the right direction but until the job is done, it's not done. We need a winning culture and mindset in this club, so we need to make sure that we go into the last two games all-in."

Jack Colback made a positive impact on his return to the XI against Preston and looks set to hold onto his place in central midfield alongside Sam Field, whilst Dykes' all-round performance should ensure the Scottish international starts in attack yet again. Morgan Fox is hoping for a recall at left-back should Cifuentes opt for extra defensive solidity.

Promotion-chasing Leeds 1.635/8 climbed to second in the Championship with a thrilling 4-3 victory at Middlesbrough on Monday night, ending their three-game winless run. The Whites came from behind at The Riverside with Crysencio Summerville striking twice, plus goals from Patrick Bamford and Willy Gnonto proving decisive on Teesside.

Leeds chief Daniel Farke admitted there was a sense of relief post-match with the Whites under heavy pressure in the latter stages of the showdown. He said, "You could see we were nervous. The last seven minutes were crazy, with their keeper more in our box than theirs. They tried everything and we felt the pressure, but we showed steel and resilience."

Daniel James is considered a doubt for Friday's clash after leaving the pitch with the help of physios after taking a blow to the midriff late on. Joe Rodon was also in the wars but the centre-back is expected to be fine for the trip to the capital; Connor Roberts and Pascal Struijk remain sidelined, though Jamie Shackleton is available again.

Defences on top?

QPR have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround under Marti Cifuentes. Rangers were second bottom, six points from safety and had lost six matches in a row when the Spaniard took over as boss at the end of October following the sacking of Gareth Ainsworth. The R's are impressively ranked ninth in terms of points accrued during Cifuentes' tenure.

Despite a recent rocky spell, Leeds can also be commended for their eye-catching form. Following a slow start to the season, the Whites are the best-performing Championship side since late September (W25-D5-L7). However, the bulk of their best work has been achieved at Elland Road - the visitors have failed to succeed in half of their road trips this term.

I'm happy to leave the main 1x2 and handicap markets alone here and instead have an interest in Both Teams To Score 'No' at [1.98]. QPR have found goals hard to come by of late - notching only five in their last nine, although Rangers have largely been solid defensively under Cifuentes, allowing just 0.90 Expected Goals (xG) per-game over their last 16 outings.

Leeds lead the way in the xGA rankings over that same 16-game sample, and despite shipping three at Middlesbrough on Monday, have seen our proposed 'BTTS No' play pay-out in 12 of their last 19 Championship encounters.

Meanwhile, 10 of the Whites' 13 fixtures away against teams outside of the top-10 have also proven profitable for BTTS No backers.

Back Both Teams To Score 'No' @ 1.981/1

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