By Site Reporter
Friday 25 Jan 2019 22:48:00
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As always there is plenty of debate about which clubs will field weakened teams in the FA Cup in order to keep one eye on league progress. But if Pompey do so against QPR, it will have more to do with who's unavailable than any move to protect star men.

Kenny Jackett has lost all four summer loan signings, leaving him a little short in midfield and wide areas, and is without Jamal Lowe, who is suspended. It means the Blues team who will take on the Hoops at a packed Fratton Park almost picks itself.

Brett Pitman, Ronan Curtis and Gareth Evans are the only available senior forward players but Jackett is likely to use new man Bryn Morris and possibly even one or two untried teenagers to make up his squad of 18.

Luke McGee, Nathan Thompson and Oli Hawkins are still out but Ben Close is set to feature again after making his return from injury in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Peterborough on Tuesday.

Pompey fans will be hoping the cup tie passes without any more injury or suspension problems coming to light ahead of a vital League One trip to Luton on Tuesday. But while promotion remains Pompey's big ambition this season, there's plenty of excitement about the cup - not to mention belief that the QPR tie is winnable.

Rangers are 14th in a very competitive Championship but come to Fratton on the back of a 4-1 home defeat to Preston. Pompey, of course, have also had a league wobble - losing to Blackpool and Oxford in their past two outings.

Jackett told the club website: 'It’s great for us to get through to this stage and we’ve had different tests against Maidenhead, Rochdale and Norwich. We now have one at home against another Championship club in Queens Park Rangers and we’re looking forward to it.

'The enthusiasm from the supporters has been excellent and it’s good for the players to come up against guys from a higher division. Then there’s the overall development of the club, which can only benefit from the profile and finances of the competition.

'The FA Cup is such a big thing for everyone – and you’ll be able to see that with the attendance on Saturday.'

His opposite number Steve McClaren told the QPR website: ‘This is what I call a traditional FA Cup tie. It’ll be a full house and they’re flying the league. I fully expect them to be in the Championship next season. They have a great home record and after beating Norwich in the last round from what I hear they will be expecting to win this one.'

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