If you subscribe to the theory that momentum is something that is real in sports, then there is no doubt that Newcastle have it. Call it momentum, a lucky streak, or whatever you like, but Newcastle have won four league matches in a row and have vaulted themselves up from being a relegation candidate to in the top eight.
And then the International Break happened. Surely, Newcastle would have wanted to keep playing. After all, ask any card player in Nevada, and they'll tell you to not leave the table when you're on a roll. But, the calender called for the break, and so for two weeks, Newcastle has had to put their streak on hold.
Unfortunately, Newcastle suffered some injuries during the break. Fabricio Coloccini, who had been anchoring the backline is out four weeks with a calf injury, with his injury making Newcastle that much thinner at the back. Steven Taylor, who had just returned from injury, is out again with a knee. And new fan favorite Mehdi Abied broke a towe and will be sidelined a few weeks. It will not be a fully fit Newcastle side that tries to make it five straight league wins, and it certainly will not be the best Starting XI.
QPR, meanwhile, is relatively healthy. They are only expected to miss Adel Taarabat due to injury and Rio Ferdinand, who is suspended. THe Hoops will be eager to start playing well and soon. QPR only has one win in its last eight matches, and finds itself in 19th, though only a point from safety. There can be little doubt that Harry Redknapp sees an injured Newcastle squad as a good way to earn a vital three points that might keep his club in the Premier League. QPR will also be looking to keep some momentum going, as their final game before the break resulted in a 2-2 draw against Manchester City.
While the two clubs did not play last season, Newcastle is unbeaten in their last six matches against the Hoops, recording five wins.
For American audiences, Newcastle's match will kick off at 10 am Eastern time on Saturday.