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Football | Premier League

QPR survival an uphill task for Harry



Harry Redknapp was the man the fans wanted, but after two matches in charge of struggling Queens Park Rangers it is clear his presence alone is not enough to guarantee a second great escape from relegation.

Having drawn 0-0 at Sunderland in his first match in midweek, hopes were high among supporters that his opening home game at Loftus Road on Saturday would bring a first win of the season.

Despite having the best of the opportunities it was not to be, with Jamie Mackie cancelling out Brett Holman's early opener for Aston Villa.

The 1-1 draw meant the west London side equalled Swindon Town's record for the longest winless start to a Premier League season set back in 1993/94.

Six draws in 15 matches is their meager return and puts them three points behind Reading at the foot of the table and seven off 17th-placed Sunderland.

Having helped both Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur avoid the drop to the second tier, Redknapp was the only person the QPR board wanted once they put Mark Hughes out of his misery eight days ago.

QPR narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of last season, but they are going to have to start winning soon if they are to have any chance of repeating that feat.

The crowded fixture period in the coming month will be crucial to their future and could also shape how Redknapp approaches the January transfer window.

While widely admired for his shrewd dealings in the transfer market, Redknapp said there was no point bringing in even more players to a bloated QPR squad if they remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table come the New Year.

"If you are still adrift in January what is the point?" he told reporters.

"If that was the case I would advise the owners not to spend their money."

Hughes brought in a dozen new players during the off-season, many of whom have failed to impress, and Redknapp is wary of adding further disruption to a squad full of potential but failing to live up to expectations.

"What are you going to do - load yourself with more big wages?" he pondered.

"If we are in touching distance then I'm sure we will have a go and get one or two in but they can't keep spending their money and upping the wage bill.

"You've got to see where you are in January. If you are in touching distance then maybe you can go and get a couple in who can make the difference and get out of it that way. If we can do that then maybe we will have a go.

"We are OK in some positions but desperately short in others. We are short of centre halves."

QPR, owned by Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes, visit modest Wigan Athletic next Saturday.



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