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QPR v Rotherham: 5 things to look out for

Rotherham continue their Sky Bet Championship campaign with a trip to QPR on Saturday - their first jaunt to Loftus Road since 2004.

Rangers were in the Premier League last season and have a striker in Charlie Austin who was in the England squad as recently in May and this is the first clash for the Millers against a side who are expected to challenge for promotion.

Here is five things to look out for in the game.

Was Jonson Clarke-Harris a flash in the pan?

There weren't too many bright points of that stalemate on Tuesday, but one of them was the impact of Jonson Clarke-Harris, who came off the bench and brought vigour to what was previously a lacklustre Millers display. The club's record buy has never even looked like he he could bring a consistent run of performances, so all eyes will be on how he fares after the positivity of Tuesday night. He is almost certainly going to be on the bench at Loftus Road, so any contribution he does make is likely to be as a sub. But it is important that the former Oldham man proves that Tuesday was not a flash in the pan and begins to put a string of performances together.

How will the Millers fare at a big club?

One of Rotherham's biggest weaknesses last season was that they were often sitting ducks when visiting the big teams and never looked capable of getting a result. Indeed, they only took four points from games at clubs who finished in the top half of the table, through draws at Bournemouth, Norwich, Cardiff and Charlton. Their trip to west London represents their first away-day of the season at one of the big boys and how they fare will see what progress the Millers have made since last season. Boss Steve Evans looks likely to go 4-5-1 again, a system he deployed on the road for most of last season and at Nottingham Forest last week, immediately setting the stall out to not get beat rather than go for the win. The Millers should be more streetwise at these sort of grounds this season, so will be looking to see a bigger points haul on the road.

Is Grant Ward the new John Swift?

Based on his performances in pre-season, everyone was expecting big things from Grant Ward this term. But after being hauled off at half-time of the opening-day clash against MK Dons, the on-loan Spurs midfielder has not been seen since. It is all very reminiscent of John Swift last season, who came on loan from Chelsea, looked superb in pre-season but then was found wanting to the rigours of the Championship. He did not feature for the Millers again after being replaced at half-time of the second league game of the season against Wolves. Ward looks like having enough talent to still come good, as he showed in pre-season he has the ability to get from box-to-box and has an eye for goal, but at this stage it doesn't look as if Evans fully trusts him at this level, evidenced by Paul Green getting the nod from the bench in the draw with Preston instead of Ward. And while we're at it, where is Emmanuel Ledesma? He is yet to feature in the league and was overlooked when the Millers were crying out for some creativity against North End.

Can Rotherham build on their clean sheet?

It's no coincidence that the Millers' first clean sheet of the season in the league on Tuesday came when they kept the same back four as the previous game. Lewis Buxton, Greg Halford, Danny Collins and Joe Mattock look like being Evans' first-choice four and the more they play together the better they will become. Their credentials will be tested to the max on Saturday as they came up against a QPR side with undoubted Premier League quality in their ranks. Austin, who may well be set to leave Loftus Road, should still be there and Matt Phillips scored two and made the other in Rangers' come-from-behind win at Wolves in the week. If the Millers can keep those quiet and register a second successive blank, then that will be a real achievement.

Will Danny Ward be fit?

In a seemingly weekly issue in these pages, Rotherham are sweating on the fitness of Danny Ward. The injury-prone striker was ruled out of Tuesday's clash with Preston after taking a knock in the defeat at Forest. The Millers could do with him back, owing to the last two performances of Jordan Bowery on the left hand side of midfield - a role Ward is capable of fulfilling well. Ward's fitness is proving a frustration as he has been rarely capable of putting a run of matches together since joining the Millers in January. However, if he is fit on Saturday, Evans will surely think seriously about throwing him straight back in.

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