By George Rinaldi.
QPR manager Chris Ramsey reckons the Premier League relegation battle is still in their hands – but admits it’s a must-win game against Tottenham in the London derby.
The Hoops are looking to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in a bid to halt their home slide, having failed to win at Loftus Road since defeating West Brom last December.
Former Spurs coach Ramsey admits his men need to beware of the threat from his old club’s dangerman, Harry Kane, if they are to claim the vital three points needed to leapfrog Aston Villa on goal difference and climb out of the danger zone.
Ramsey said: “I believe there are probably six teams in the fight for survival. It is in our own hands, even though it’s a game we need to win against such a good team.
“Spurs gave me nine years of employment and they’re a very good club, with a great new manager and a strong board. I have nothing but admiration for the club.
“Tim Sherwood, Les Ferdinand and I all helped Harry Kane to progress, but Les especially. I always believed he would be where he is at now. We dreamed the dream with him.
“He gave his all during training and is a great role model for kids. He may not be an outstanding athlete, but his awareness and ability is top notch.
“The players have got their own vibe and they know they can get three points from this. Regardless of what happens, the fight is still on.”
But Ramsey could be without QPR defender Nedum Onuoha, who faces a late fitness test after suffering a deep facial cut in a nasty collision with team-mate Stephen Caulker against the Gunners.
Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, has urged his Capital One Cup finalists to keep their momentum going after beating Swansea. Victory at Loftus Road would close the gap to just three points on fourth-placed Manchester United.
But the Spurs boss knows they face a tough test against QPR in this weekend’s only league game and admits he’s a big fan of their star striker Charlie Austin – who he could see him playing with Kane for England one day.
Pochettino added: “Charlie Austin is a very good player. Could they play together? Why not? Anything can happen in football. They are both good players.
“We expect a tough game. They’re a strong team. It is a derby and the three points are vital. We just have to work hard for the rest of the season.”
Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns and is likely to name the same side that defeated the Swans on Wednesday.
Form Guide: QPR (L L W L L) Tottenham (W W L D W)
Last season: N/A
Stat fact: QPR like a home tie with their opponents today, having won four and drawn three in the last nine meetings.
Queens Park Rangers (from): Green, McCarthy, Murphy, Caulker, Ferdinand, Hill, Isla, Onuoha, Traore, Yun, Doughty, Henry, Hoilett, Kranjcar, Phillips, Sandro, Wright-Phillips, Austin, Taarabt, Vargas, Zamora, Zarate
Tottenham Hotspur (from): Friedel, Lloris, Vorm, Chiriches, Davies, Dier, Fazio, Kaboul, Rose, Vertonghen, Walker, Yedlin, Bentaleb, Capoue, Ceballos, Chadli, Dembele, Eriksen, Lamela, Mason, Paulinho, Stambouli, Townsend, Adebayor, Kane, Soldado.
Read more from George Rinaldi here!