The Loftus Road encounter will be best noted for the fact it will see QPR take to the field for the first time since Harry Redknapp quit his managerial post.
Les Ferdinand will be in caretaker charge of the hosts, with a coaching rookie pitting his wits against a serious contender for this season’s top coaching prizes in the form of Saints boss Ronald Koeman.
While much of the focus will be on events off the field, there will be plenty to keep those in attendance entertained on it.
Charlie Austin has almost single-handedly kept QPR within touching distance of top-flight safety, while Graziano Pelle has played an instrumental role in Southampton’s top-four challenge.
It is difficult to compare the two directly, as they are different breeds of frontman, but what do they offer to their respective causes?
|Position||Team||Goals||Ontarget Scoring Att||Duel Won||Aerial Won||Was Fouled||Accurate Pass||Ball Recovery||Total Att Assist||Appearances||Mins Played|
Judging by the Opta statistics above, and by his showings over the last few seasons, Austin is more of an out-and-out goalscorer.
He is a nuisance to top-flight defences with his movement, which sees him draw plenty of fouls, and offers more of a threat as he gets more efforts away on target – which in turn leads to more goals.
Pelle, though, could be considered more of an all-round forward.
He is a couple of inches taller than Austin, which makes him better in the air and more of a physical presence.
Southampton’s success this season, and their ball-playing philosophy, helps to explain why Pelle puts more passes in, but it is intriguing to find – given how hard his QPR counterpart works – that the Italy international has also proved adept at regaining possession once it has been lost.
|Team||Goal Assist||Total Att Assist||Fwd Pass||Touches||Dispossessed||Total Sub Off||Appearances||Mins Played|
It has to be noted from the table above that Pelle does give the ball away more than Austin, which will force him to work harder in getting it back, but again he dominates in other important areas in the final third.
He has sought to provide of opportunities for others and would appear to drop deep with greater regularity, allowing him to turn and get Southampton on the front foot with forward passes.
Both men are strikers, though, and will be judged on their end product in the final third.
Austin has more goals and the same number of assists despite playing 218 fewer minutes than Pelle, so could argue that he makes the greater impact. It is, however, almost impossible to choose between the two.