Queens Park Rangers perform much better when influential midfielder Joey Barton is part of the starting line-up (matchweek 1, 2 and 3) compared to when he isn't (the 4-0 loss to Manchester United), however, manager Harry Redknapp has confirmed that the Englishman could be back in the team for the Loftus Road clash with Stoke City on Saturday as the defensive midfielder will undergo a fitness test.
Joining Barton could back in the match-day squad could be Jordon Mutch. Redknapp said, as quoted by the club's official website: "We’ve got a few knocks as Joey has a hamstring and Jordon has a slight knock as well, but we’ll assess them ahead of the weekend. Yun [Suk Young] is fit and [Eduardo] Vargas is available.”
Barton has been an all-action performer in his three Premier League outings in the season to date as he has received almost 75 touches on the ball per game, completes nearly 84% of all his passes, has created 12 goal-scoring opportunities and is responsible for a number of tackles and duels won.
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Queens Park Rangers have collected three points from four games so far but in order to fortify their status as a safe Premier League side, Redknapp will be hoping the club can bank a further three points at the weekend.
"I watched Stoke last week against Leicester and thought they were unlucky," said Redknapp, on the task ahead. "It'll be a tough game. Mark [Hughes] has done a very good job there and he will come here looking for a win.
"We want to get a positive result this weekend. Our fans will be right behind us and we'll be looking to win the game. I've been pleased with our home performances. I think we've played well at Loftus Road so far. We're at home so we want to be on the front foot and get after them. We'll be positive."