QPR v Sunderland – Match Preview
Despite spending much of the season rooted to the foot of the Premier League table there is a chance of potential salvation for QPR. Last week’s hard fought win at Southampton manifested genuine hope that they can stay up with just four points standing between them and the hallowed ground of 17th. That gap could be significantly reduced if the R’s manage to record back-to-back victories for the first time since returning to the top-flight. Home games will be particularly crucial with Sunderland the first of five left at Loftus Road. And theres no reason why they can’t claim maximum points from them all. To cut a long story short; they have too. But with players like Jay Bothroyd and Junior Hoilett coming in from the cold to play significant roles on the South Coast last week Harry Redknapp has a squad all pulling in the same direction, and togetherness can be a powerful tool when you’re in a scrap.
Sunderland will relish the trip West London after ending a run of three straight defeats with a hard fought draw against Fulham last Saturday. It’s been just over 22-years since the Black Cats last left Loftus Road empty handed and victory would ease the growing anxiety on Wearside. Although there is no immediate danger to their Premier League status supporters are refusing counting their chickens just yet as Martin O’Neill’s compact squad struggles to cope with the demands of the top-flight. Getting Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham firing and tightening up at the back would go along way to providing that much sought after reassurance and O’Neill will be hoping his side can start at QPR this weekend.
QPR will wait until the last possible moment before deciding on the fitness of Bobby Zamora (hip and ankle) and goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
“If we can get to 37 points, I would take 37 points now and walk away and take my chances. Whether it is going to be enough I wouldn’t be sure, but if someone offered 37 points, you would have to be a fool not to take it. It can all change so quickly – six, seven, eight points can evaporate so quickly. A couple of wins, a couple of losses, it can pretty soon happen. We need a run of wins, we need another five wins at least, we need to win half our games, maybe get a draw or two. We just have to keep going ourselves, keep trying to pick up results.” 37 points is all it would take for QPR to avoid relegation according to Harry Redknapp (BBC Sport)
“Naturally I would have liked to have picked up a couple of extra points over the last five games. But it doesn’t matter how you feel you’ve done. I don’t think we should have been beaten in any of the games, but it doesn’t matter; we have done. An extra point or two in the table, and that would have counted for a great deal. As it is, we’re still looking over our shoulder, as is the case for many sides, even though we’re only three points off the top 10. That shows you how tight the whole situation is.” Martin O’Neill admits Sunderland are still looking over their shoulder (Shields Gazette)
Pre-Match Statistic: QPR have failed to beat Sunderland in the 11 games since a 1-0 win at Roker Park in April 1991
Prediction: QPR 2-1 Sunderland