another season, Southampton would be far closer to the top two than the 10 points that currently stand between themselves and Ipswich.
Nevertheless, Russell Martin can only be delighted with the 14-game undefeated streak that has been put together since the back end of September.
Last weekend’s 4-0 victory over Ipswich Town made it nine wins and five draws during that period, Southampton having not conceded more than once in a game since October 25.
Only a second-half-of-the-season collapse from Leicester City and Ipswich will open the door to automatic promotion, yet the South-coast outfit will do everything possible to remain on their coattails.
That is partly down to just nine points being the advantage over seventh spot, highlighting that the chasing pack are still within a margin where they could put Southampton under pressure.
If QPR had been offered 12 points from their opening eight games under Marti Cifuentes, they would have jumped at that total when they were seemingly cut adrift from safety.
However, while just two defeats have come in that period, one of them was against relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, the Owls scoring twice from the 86th minute onwards to earn a potentially-pivotal win.
Rather than catapulting themselves into 20th, QPR have remained in the bottom three, now two games without a win after the previous stalemate with Plymouth Argyle.
There are still largely positives to take from Cifuentes’s short reign, but back-to-back away trips to Millwall and Ipswich Town following this contest heap the pressure on at least a point being claimed versus the Saints
Lyndon Dykes should return to the QPR XI as a replacement for Sinclair Armstrong down the middle of the attack.Reggie Cannon is in line to remain at right-back with his half-time withdrawal against Sheffield Wednesday due to tactical reasons.Chris Willock will be considered for a recall in central midfield or a
wide-attacking role.With Kyle Walker-Peters switching to left-back and Joe Aribo moving to the front of the attack paying off, Martin may opt to keep the same Southampton XI.Martin was able to rest players during the closing quarter of the win over Blackburn, so the likes of Ryan Fraser and Carlos Alcaraz may be kept in reserve