OPINION: ‘Disputed’ QPR man is the perfect player to unsettle Birmingham City – but Blues’ ‘brick wall’ could be the difference
Birmingham City host QPR in the Championship today, with Mark Warburton’s side looking o go six games unbeaten in the Championship.
QPR are one of the division’s most in-form sides going into this weekend’s bout of fixtures. They’ve lost just one of their last eight in the Championship having won seven of those, and face a Birmingham City side who are fighting for their lives.
Aitor Karanka has been on the brink of losing his job at St Andrew’s for the past few weeks. He bought himself some more time with a win at Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the month but a heavy defeat at the hands of QPR today could spell the end of him.
Warburton’s side have become a formidable force in the Championship after a keen showing in the January transfer window.
They’ve given themselves a distant hope of achieving a late spot in the top-six having had some keen performers right throughout the season, but one man who’s struggled is Lyndon Dykes.
He arrived in the summer and fans had high hopes for their marquee signing, but he’s scored just one goal from open play all season.
Warburton has kept the faith in Dykes after some increasingly contested performances – he once again shared his support for the Scot after missing some golden opportunities v Preston North End in midweek. That game was a prime example of how hard Dykes works to get into goal-scoring positions, but his finishing remains weak.
Birmingham City have had problems at the back all season – the likes of Harlee Dean have been hugely contested and a bustling striker like Dykes could play a huge part in today’s game.
If he can get at the defence and put them under pressure, and utilise his strong hold up play to bring more into the attack, then Birmingham City will struggle to cope.
Their only hope could fall on Neil Etheridge – the Blues stopper has been one of their performers of the season and he’ll no doubt be a busy man this afternoon.
Birmingham City v QPR could boil down to Dykes and co. v Etheridge, in a game that holds huge importance for both sides.