Two relegation-threatened teams in contrasting form face off in a crucial encounter at Loftus Road as an increasingly desperate QPR side attempt to prize victory against a Wigan side that has beginning to click into it’s annual relegation-saving gear.
Despite the arrival of Harry Redknapp and the club’s lavish spending both last summer and in January on players such as Christopher Samba and Loic Remy, this season has been nothing short of a disaster for the Rs. Defeats to Aston Villa and Fulham as well as wins for Wigan against Newcastle and Norwich have now left Redknapp’s men a full seven points behind the Latics with only seven matches left to play.
The former Tottenham manager at least has the luxury of a near-full strength squad to choose from with only Shaun Wright-Phillips ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing ankle surgery. In a must-win encounter, Redknapp may also choose to deploy Adel Taarabt from the start after his impressive showing at Craven Cottage on Monday night, behind both Bobby Zamora and Loic Remy.
Meanwhile, Wigan seem to be bang in the middle of their customary great escape from relegation trouble and their run of three victories from their last four league matches, all against fellow rivals for the drop has seen them leap out of the bottom three and still with a game in hand on the sides around them.
Their Wembley FA Cup semi-final date with Millwall may only be a week away now but boss Roberto Martinez will be aware that should his side take three points away from Loftus Road, it could well be the final nail in the coffin as far as QPR’s Premier League status is concerned.
However, the Spaniard must still contend with a raft of long-term injury problems, with Ryo Miyaichi (ankle), Ben Watson (leg), Ivan Ramis and Albert Crusat (knee) all set to miss the rest of the season. Striker Callum McManaman is fit however after a shaking off an ankle injury.
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