Sport : Football


7th May 2012, 01:26pm

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Mark Hughes: We'll give Etihad challenge our best shot

Mark Hughes: We'll give Etihad challenge our best shot

QPR manager Mark Hughes hopes to ruin Manchester City's coronation and secure his own team's Barclays Premier League survival next weekend by becoming the first team to win at the Etihad Stadium this season.

QPR moved two points clear of the relegation zone on Sunday with a dramatic 1-0 win over Stoke that came courtesy of Djibril Cisse's 89th minute strike.

Although they remain ahead of 18th place Bolton, the Trotters still could leapfrog Rangers in the season finale next weekend if they beat Stoke and the Londoners lose at City, whom Hughes managed between 2008 and 2009.

The odds are certainly stacked in City's favour. Roberto Mancini's men will seal the title if they win and their home record is superb.

The Blues' last home defeat in the league came in December 2010 while Rangers have not won on their travels since last November, but Hughes hopes his team can pull off a highly improbable win on Sunday.

"We haven't covered ourselves in glory this year on the road, but what better time to turn it around?" Hughes said.

"There will be a huge amount of expectation on the game with them going for the title, but we'll give it our best shot.

"It's unbelievable what this league throws up time and again, but it's in our hands and that's all we can ask for.

"Obviously results elsewhere could help us out, but we want to go and make it happen ourselves.

"My focus is totally on what we do - I get the feeling we'll be a lot better than we were at Chelsea last week."

In truth, for the vast majority of Sunday's game, QPR looked like an npower Championship team.

The west London outfit lacked creativity in midfield, were devoid of any menace up front and looked shaky at the back against a Potters team playing their 55th match of a 10-month long season.

It took a late strike from substitute Cisse to steal all three points for the hosts, the Frenchman sweeping home Anton Ferdinand's flick-on from an Adel Taarabt corner in the dying seconds.

Hughes admits had the Frenchman's strike - his fifth in six starts - not gone in, his team would have almost certainly been relegated.

"It was a huge result," he added.

"It was key for us that we got the three points, a draw wouldn't have been enough for us - it would have been too much.

"The fact we have one more game and have our fate in our own hands is something we are grateful for."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis fielded four strikers on Sunday but neither of them were able to beat Rangers keeper Paddy Kenny.

It was a familiar theme for Pulis' team, who have scored just 11 goals away from home this term - the lowest in the division.

Pulis said: "We had lots of chances to score but we didn't and that's been our problem all season. The attitude was first class but we had good opportunities to score and didn't."

Cameron Jerome criticised Pulis for not starting him enough this campaign but he proved little to his manager by blazing over after being played in by Peter Crouch just four minutes in.

"Cameron went through and he should be hitting the target from there," Pulis added.

The Potters boss has vowed that his team will put up a sterner test against Bolton next weekend in a fixture that will prove decisive in who stays up and who goes down.

"We will approach it in the same manner as we did against QPR," Pulis said.

"We will do it the right way. We will not let anyone down."

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