Harry Redknapp takes charge of his first QPR match at Loftus Road searching for the club’s first victory of the Premier League season at the 15th time of asking.
Redknapp will know that with the R’s currently eight points off Aston Villa and the safety mark, a victory would not only be crucial in terms of his side’s confidence, but also help drag Paul Lambert’s Villa team further into the relegation mire. Redknapp will be buoyed by his side’s fortitude in their 0-0 draw at Sunderland in the week but will know that wins are needed and quickly if the R’s are to survive.
Redknapp is sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who has a hip problem, so Robert Green could come in to deputise while up front, he will be without the services of Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson for the foreseeable future, leaving a choice between the erratic but at times brilliant Djbrill Cisse, and the workman-like Jamie Mackie.
Aston Villa may well have grabbed victory over Reading in the week courtesy of Christian Benteke’s late winner but Paul Lambert will surely be under no illusions that his young side must improve if they are to pull away from relegation trouble. Thus, his decision to ostracise a now fully-fit Darren Bent from even the substitutes bench remains a mystery, particularly with Villa’s injury problems elsewhere continuing to mount.
Going into the match at Loftus Road, there are doubts over defenders Enda Stevens, Ron Vlaar, Joe Bennet and Chris Herd, while Charles N’Zogbia and Richard Dunne also look set to miss out.
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