QPR face Aston Villa in a crunch Premier League tie this weekend. Will Harry Redknapp continue to work his magic?
Redknapp has a history of turning the fortunes of clubs on their heads.
The 66-year-old took Portsmouth from Championship obscurity into the Premier League and even to FA Cup success and worked wonders with Tottenham as he oversaw their transformation from a relegation-threatened team to Champions League quarter-finalists.
And if his current Queens Park Rangers team are competing in the top division next season, then Redknapp will be able to add another seemingly impossible achievement to his CV.
Bottom of the table and with only four points to their name when Redknapp replaced Mark Hughes as manager in November, QPR were considered as good as back in the Championship by many pundits and fans alike.
But Redknapp’s dramatic turnaround means the Londoners know that victory against fellow strugglers Aston Villa this weekend will give them a huge boost in their quest to remain a top-flight team.
Victory won’t take QPR out of a relegation zone that they’ve ended every weekend a part of, but it would take them to within a point of safety, at least until Wigan face Newcastle United on Sunday.
Lose, however, and they could be as many as seven points adrift come Sunday evening; grim reading for the Loftus Road faithful with just eight games remaining.
Yet, to even be in with a shot of survival at this stage highlights the good work Redknapp has done; the club started the season worse than any other side in Premier League history, only winning their first game in mid-December at the 17th time of asking.
It wasn’t until the end of the January transfer window that things really started to look brighter for QPR and since then their form has dramatically improved to one of a team who shouldn’t be threatened with relegation.
Only table-topping Manchester United and Swansea City have taken all three points from Redknapp’s side since the turn of the year and QPR owe much of their stronger performances to their January additions.
Loic Remy has been impressive and scored three goals since his arrival, Chris Samba has added much needed steel to their defence and loanees Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend from Redknapp’s former club Spurs both scored in their vital win at home to Sunderland last weekend, keeping QPR within touching distance of those outside the relegation zone.
Improving the team came at a cost: the combined fees for Remy and Samba exceeded £20m, while Samba’s wages are reportedly astronomical.
But this will almost certainly be forgotten if Redknapp can produce arguably his most impressive achievement to date and ensure Queens Park Rangers kick-off their next campaign in the Premier League, which makes victory at Villa a must.
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