Former Preston North End man Gareth Ainsworth requires a 'miracle' to stop QPR's slide ahead of Good Friday clash

Preston North End have a chance to edge closer to the play-offs as they travel to West London on Good Friday to face QPR, a side with just two wins in 23 games.
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Former Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth is at the helm for the former Premier League outfit and has won one game in six since taking charge of the club in February.

The 49-year-old spent 11 years at Wycombe, before joining QPR and has successfully battled relegation previously, as the Chairboys beat the drop from League Two on the final day of the 2013-14 season before rising as high as the Championship before their controversial relegation in 2021.

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The R’s are edging closer to the relegation zone, as the losses pile up, which is causing plenty of anxiety amongst their supporters. They sit just three points above the drop zone and could be looking at spending next season in League One for the first time since 2004 if they do not start picking up results.

Gareth Ainsworth speaks to his Queens Park Rangers players by the side of the pitchGareth Ainsworth speaks to his Queens Park Rangers players by the side of the pitch
Gareth Ainsworth speaks to his Queens Park Rangers players by the side of the pitch

Form for Rangers has fallen off a cliff since October, when they were top of the Championship under now Rangers manager Michael Beale. Flying high at the top of the second tier, he turned down a move to Wolves citing loyalty before losing five of his next six and departing for Ibrox a month later.

QPR then looked to ex-Blackpool boss Neil Critchley to take charge, he won at Deepdale in his first game in charge and failed to win in his next 11 before getting the sack.

Watford are the only side since PNE on December 17, to lose a game of football against QPR.

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Now it is down to Ainsworth to rescue Rangers’ season, with his side three points above the drop with worse goal difference and a defeat to bottom of the league Wigan Athletic at the weekend, the task is looking tougher and tougher each week.

Speaking to BBC Radio London, manager Gareth Ainsworth said: “We’re in a real bad run of form and I’ve got to change that. I’ve got to change the mentality here because it’s not something I’m used to, but I’ll be positive until the end. I’m not fearing anything. I’ve been in this game a hell of a long time and I’ve got absolutely no fear.”

“Listen, I know pressure. When you’re looking at the abyss, the trap door of the Football League on the last day of the season, three points adrift we were that day. Miracles do happen. It happened that day. I’m not saying that QPR need a miracle – we just need a change of form.”

As far as miracles go, North End will be needing results to fall in their favour over the weekend as Blackburn Rovers host Norwich City, sixth playing seventh respectively.

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Coventry City head to South Wales as they face Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion play Rotherham United, as the Midlands side look to extend their unbeaten run to five games.

As for PNE, an impressive derby day performance should give them a boost going into the final seven games of the season and a win against Queens Park Rangers will certainly push them in the right direction, with Reading soon to follow in PR1 on Easter Monday.