Premier League preview: QPR v Aston Villa
By Football News
Two struggling sides will meet in the Premier League on Saturday when rock-bottom QPR host Aston Villa at Loftus Road.
Newly appointed manager Harry Redknapp was pleased with what he saw in a goalless draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday but the fact remains his side are winless from 14 Premier League games.
The former Tottenham boss has worked wonders in the past but his task at QPR, who sit eight points adrift of safety will be the most difficult of his managerial career.
Luckily for Redknapp there is plenty of quality in the squad with captain Par Ji-Sung returning against Sunderland for his first game in over a month and Adel Taarabt a constant spark in the heart of midfield.
Rangers will likely be without shot-stopper Julio Cesar, who has been in sensational form, but are lucky sacked manager Mark Hughes purchased two quality keepers in the off-season, as inexplicable as it was at the time.
Cesar came off at half-time with a groin injury and was replaced by Robert Green who will start against Sunderland if the Brazilian fails to prove his fitness.
Aston Villa are starting to string together some positive results and were good value for their 1-0 win over Reading but remain only a point above the drop zone.
Manager Paul Lambert has somewhat of a dilemma on his hands having left England international Darren Bent out of the matchday squad for the Reading clash.
Rumours have since surfaced suggesting Villa will be liable to fork out a further instalment on the 24-million-pound deal agreed with Sunderland in 2011 if Bent plays three more games of the required 50 to trigger the clause.
Lambert has insisted Bent is battling an ankle injury but he continues to start impressive Belgian signing Christian Benteke ahead of him, suggesting the conundrum may well persist until the January transfer window opens.
Villa may have to do without defender Ron Vlaar (calf/shin) after he was injured against Reading, while Charles N'Zogbia, Chris Herd, Richard Dunne and Stiliyan Petrov all remain sidelined.
QPR strikers Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson are both out with long-term injuries until next year.