Stoke City: Britannia points crucial to our hopes, says Ryan Shawcross
RYAN Shawcross admits Stoke City's poor record on the road has increased the pressure on them to beat QPR at the Britannia Stadium today.
Stoke haven't won away from home in the Premier League for 15 games since they beat Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in January.
Their performances on their travels this season have been far from awful, but they were left frustrated by last week's 1-0 defeat at Norwich after an uninspiring performance.
That leaves them with draws at Reading, Wigan and Liverpool, and defeats at Chelsea, Manchester United and now Carrow Road to show for their efforts away from home.
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Skipper Shawcross said the Norwich defeat hurt. He said: "We have to make the Britannia a fortress again and make sure we get some wins there because we haven't done so well away from home.
"This season has probably seen our best performances away from home, but this defeat was disappointing and we have to put it right.
"They got a goal just before half time and it killed us really. In the second half we looked a bit livelier and got some balls in the box, but it's not good enough.
"We have to take a hard look at ourselves and make sure we are right for a hard game against QPR.
"We haven't picked up the points away from home. Reading away was a big one where we were winning until late on. This week's game is a big one now and we have to produce the goods."
Stoke may have hoped for a better return than nine points from their opening ten games. But they've had a testing start to the season, having had to play six of their first ten games away from home.
An opening set of fixtures which has included matches against Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool hardly represent a gentle introduction to the new campaign.
So, little wonder Stoke are hoping to cash in when second-from-bottom QPR come to town this afternoon.
Jon Walters helped keep QPR in the Premier League when he scored both Stoke's goals in the 2-2 draw against Bolton on the final day of last season.
That denied Bolton the win they needed to stay up at Rangers' expense.
QPR didn't seem likely to be among the relegation strugglers after bringing in a cast of new signings this summer, including Junior Hoillett, Jose Bosingwa, Julio Cesar, Stephane Mbia and Ji-Sung Park.
Walters said: "QPR have some excellent players. There's been a huge overhaul of their squad in the last 18 months and a lot of money spent on wages.
"I don't think they have really clicked as a team yet....and we don't want them to on Saturday either.
"We need the three points and will be going into it all guns blazing."