QPR v Wigan Athletic – Match Preview

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Is this just one escapology trick too far for Harry Redknapp? To save QPR from the inevitable would take the skill of another Harry – Houdini – to undo the weighted shackles dragging the club into the murky depths below the Premier League. Despite a spirited comeback that almost nicked a point at Fulham on Monday their fate already looks sealed with seven points separating them from safety and seven games left on the schedule. It’s a feat no other Premier League club has achieved. But with Redknapp in the dugout anything is possible. If he can harness the fighting spirit demonstrated in the second half at Craven Cottage over 90 minutes in each of their remaining fixtures Rangers may stand a chance. But the players have to start showing they want to remain in the top-flight immediately starting with the ‘six-pointer’ against Wigan.

Roberto Martinez is another patron of late season escape acts and has already set his into motion. The Latics have made a name for themselves in the recent years as survival specialists and five wins from the last six league and cup games has boosted their chances of avoiding the dreaded drop into the Championship. With a game in hand on the bottom three the prospect of pulling away from danger is a massive one especially if they prevail in West London on Sunday. Confidence is high within the Wigan camp and, although they face a tricky run-in after next weeks first ever FA Cup semi-final, they know a victory over QPR will go a long way to adding another ‘Great Escape’ to add to their already bulging album.

Team News

Shaun Wright-Phillips has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to correct an ankle problem. Other than that QPR have a clean bill of health.

Wigan have Callum McManaman back to full fitness following an ankle injury and apart from their long-term casualties Wigan have no other injury concerns.

What the managers said…

“I’d want to take it if the chairman wanted me to stay. I would stay with the club and have a go at it [the Championship]. I’d do that, but if he said we needed to cut back and I had to go I’d understand as well. It is so difficult to go back up. There are some decent teams in the Championship. The chairman would have to look at the situation carefully. It is well documented that there are a lot of players getting a lot of money here, they would be earning way in excess of what they’d get in the Championship. I know I should be preparing but I don’t even want to think about it.” Harry Redknapp vows to stick with QPR in the event they are relegated (Twentyfour7 Football Magazine)

“It is not a pivotal weekend. We are all set for the final eight games of the season and this period of eight games will be pivotal. QPR is not pivotal in that it will define our season. Instead it is one game in a period of games which allows you to win as many games as you can. And when you’re in this position, the margins of error are very small. Away from home this year we have been strong – we’ve only had one defeat away in 2013. That will be tested against QPR and we must be ready for that. We’re in the moment of the season where you need to reach your highest performance levels and we need to make sure we are as good as we can be on Sunday.” Roberto Martinez insists Saturday’s six-pointer with QPR is not ‘do or die’. (Mirror Sport)

Pre-Match Statistic: Wigan have yet to be involved in a goalless draw this season with their last stalemate coming in February 2012.

Prediction: QPR 2-2 Wigan Athletic

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