WITHOUT a doubt this is Burnley’s biggest game of the season to date, but it is not make or break as far as the race for automatic promotion goes.

The Clarets go into today’s lunchtime game at QPR three points behind the Hoops.

But a win would put them back into second place on goal difference.

There’s no reason why we can’t do the double over the promotion favourites and come away with three points, but even if we don’t I don’t think it would rule us out of the top two.

It is becoming increasingly a race for second spot.

Leicester have opened up a huge lead at the top and I don’t see anything stopping them from lifting the title now.

So it looks like being a battle between three or four teams for the other automatic place.

QPR will be rocked by the injury to Charlie Austin. They have enough reserves, both financially and in terms of personnel – existing or new arrivals, to cope.

But he will be a huge loss to the team, not least for the amount of goals he has scored.

Fourteen in the league makes him the runaway top scorer. Matty Phillips is way behind with three, so it just goes to show how heavily they have relied upon Burnley’s former marksman.

That shouldn’t lull us into a false sense of security with regard to today’s game, or indeed long term, because they have plenty of quality throughout their squad.

But hopefully the initial aftershock of the news of Austin’s injury lay-off is something we can benefit from.

It is bad news for him and for Harry Redknapp, but good news for Burnley because he had hit another patch of scoring form and I’m sure he would have been determined to put one over his old club, especially after having such a quiet game on his Turf Moor return.

With the crowd behind him, in that intimidating Subbuteo-type ground, it would have given him an extra lift.

But after a couple of draws there’s a chance for us to make a statement at Loftus Road.

And fingers crossed we can.