The clash between Champions League-chasing Everton and relegation-threatened QPR at Goodison Park represents a must-win encounter for both sides if they are to achieve their starkly different objectives for the season.
After encountering a mid-season dip, the Toffees have roared back to take three wins from their last four league matches, with all three of those successes coming in front of their home fans on Merseyside. However, David Moyes will surely be wondering what may have been had his side held on to their 2-1 win lead at Tottenham last week.
Instead, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late equaliser leaves the Toffees six points off fourth place, although they have the ability to take advantage of Chelsea and Tottenham’s lack of playing action and take six points from their next two matches with QPR and then Arsenal at the Emirates to really bring them into the race.
Moyes could hand Phil Neville a start after the 36-year-old announced that this would be his last as an Everton player. Tony Hibbert remains the squad’s only absentee with Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini both welcomed back from suspension.
QPR meanwhile will have to lift themselves after the body blow of Shaun Maloney’s last-gasp equaliser for Wigan at Loftus Road last week. Three points there against all odds after Bobby Zamora’s sending off would have brought Harry Redknapp’s side to within four points of escaping the bottom three. Instead, the gap remains at seven and with only six games to play now, it is beginning to look inconceivable for the Rs to preserve their Premier League status.
With Zamora missing, Redknapp must choose whether to partner the in-form Loic Remy with Jamie Mackie or instead bring Adel Taarabt in to play behind the Frenchman. Shaun Wright-Phillips (ankle) and Samba Diakite are unavailable.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Everton