QPR defender Dickie still out with ankle problem

QPR defender Rob Dickie will miss Saturday’s trip to Bristol City and Tuesday’s to Sheffield United as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

The 26-year-old sat out the recent 2-0 win at Millwall and 0-0 draw with Stoke but will return to training on Friday and Rangers boss Mick Beale said the centre-back could be in line to return for next Friday’s match against his former club Reading.

“He’s unavailable for Saturday, maybe Tuesday is a little bit soon, but next Friday he will be declaring himself fit I would think,” Beale said.

“We’ve had two clean sheets and he will probably be thinking ‘I’m not staying out much longer’.

“I’ll be delighted to have him back. Rob knows what I think of him and he is slightly ahead of schedule, which is fantastic.”

The partnership of Leon Balogun and Jimmy Dunne has seen the side not concede a goal in their past two games, but with Jake Clarke-Salter fit again and with minutes under his belt from an Under-21s match against Colchester last week, Beale admits the imminent return of Dickie and the ex-Chelsea man will give him something to think about.

Beale said: “In the back four there has been so much change this season. Kenneth (Paal) has had periods when he has been out, Ethan (Laird) wasn’t here at the start of the season and we started the season with Jake and Rob at centre-back.

“That soon became Jimmy and Rob and now it’s Leon and Jimmy.

“That is not easy with a new manager as well and there needs to be some stability.

“But what it does mean is we have an embarrassment of riches at centre-half when all four are fit.

“It’s my job to manage that but ultimately it is their job to get in the team and stay in it. Just because you kept a clean sheet in one game it doesn’t mean you get to stay in the team for the next one.

“I have a big decision to make but I have to bear in mind that we have three games in six days and not all of them will be able to play that physically.

“But our injury situation even from before I came has been crazy. We have never had all four centre-backs available at the same time, which goes to show why we had to bring in a fourth defender.”

Luke Amos also appeared in the Under-21 fixture alongside Clarke-Salter for an hour and will be in contention for a place in the squad to face the Robins at Ashton Gate on Saturday following a hamstring injury.

But young striker Sinclair Armstrong is unavailable after picking up an injury.