It is a potentially critical weekend at the bottom of the Premier League table.
The games almost have a play-off theme to them – with the bottom six facing off against one another. Blackburn Rovers host QPR, Bolton Wanderers entertain Wigan Athletic and West Brom travel to Wolves in the Black Country derby. The relegation betting stakes could look a whole lot different come 5pm on Saturday.
Ten points separate Wigan at the bottom from West Brom in 15th, with a five-point gap between the Baggies and QPR directly below. Roy Hodgson won’t be panicking too much at the moment, but defeat against bitter rivals Wolves could drag them into a dogfight.
Conversely, Wolves are in deep trouble despite a first league win in ten against QPR last weekend. They have lost their last four home games in all competitions and know a fifth could see them slip into the relegation zone. It will be a nervous 90 minutes for the fans who watch football live at Molineux, Ewood Park and the Reebok.
The side best placed to leapfrog Wolves are Bolton. They won’t have a better chance to get out of the drop zone than against a side without a win in ten. Defeat for Wigan could spell the beginning of the end.
QPR, buoyed by a new manager and high-profile signings, were dragged back into trouble after their 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Wolves.
They had showed improved form in recent weeks and looked to be heading for victory at Loftus Road before new signing Djibril Cisse saw red following an altercation with Roger Johnson. That was the last thing they needed and saw them pulled deeper into the mire.
It is an intriguing weekend and one which could well prove decisive in the relegation dogfight. It is not just three points at stake for those sides – it is the psychological advantage that comes with a win over one your rivals.