25 October 2014 15:33
Under-fire QPR manager Harry Redknapp has urged the Loftus Road faithful to roar his side to victory against Aston Villa on Monday.
The London club are bottom of the Premier League with only four points from eight matches on their return to the top flight.
Last season’s Championship play-off winners came agonisingly close to adding to that tally last Sunday against Liverpool, twice drawing level in the closing stages before remarkably being consigned to a dramatic 3-2 defeat.
But Redknapp was keen to take positives from the performance, as well as the role played by Rangers’ vocal home support.
“I’ve been pleased with our home form,” Redknapp told QPR’s official website.
“We were excellent against Liverpool and we’ll need another performance like that again against Villa on Monday.
“The quality and the spirit we showed on Sunday was excellent from the first minute.
“The fans were bouncing, Loftus Road was loud – and we need that again on Monday under the lights.
“I’m still confident we will be fine this season.”
Redknapp was in conciliatory mood when discussing Adel Taarabt at his pre-match press conference, having lambasted the playmaker for being “three stone overweight” when addressing the assembled media after the Liverpool loss.
Claim and counter-claim from both men spilled over to the national press on Tuesday, before QPR chairman Tony Fernandes called for an end to the spat that he labelled an “embarrassment”.
QPR revealed that Taarabt will miss out against Villa due to a bout of illness, while fellow midfielders Joey Barton and Jordon Mutch continue their recovery from hamstring injuries.
Sandro could bolster Redknapp’s options in the middle of the park if he is able to overcome a groin problem and defender Nedum Onuoha (hamstring) is also in line for a late fitness test.
Villa manager Paul Lambert must run the rule over defensive duo Philippe Senderos (thigh) and Nathan Baker (hamstring), while the Scot has pressing issues of a different nature at the other end of the pitch.
Following an impressive start to the campaign, Villa are looking to end a sequence of four consecutive losses, a dismal run in which they have failed to score a single goal.
Former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole made his Premier League debut for Villa from the bench in the closing stages of last weekend’s 3-0 loss at Everton.
Cole joined Villa on a free transfer during the close season and although fitness issues initially hindering his progress, Lambert is delighted with the application shown by a player he believes can supply a much-needed creative spark.
He told Villa’s official website: “We’ve got a really good player, someone who can unlock things. I think he’s getting up to speed.
“He’s been good as gold. He’s a great trainer, he does extra work after training so he’s been good, really good.
“He’s done great in training and he’s great about the place. I think he can certainly create things for us.”
Villa will be without Fabian Delph after Lambert confirmed the England midfielder’s rehabilitation from surgery on a dislocated shoulder will rule him out for the remainder of this calendar year.