Andre Villas-Boas takes this Spurs side to Loftus Road.
Andre Villas-Boas believes knowledge of Tottenham Hotspur’s key players gives Harry Redknapp an advantage in his first clash against his old club since leaving White Hart Lane.
Redknapp twice finished in the top four of the Premier League during his three-and-a-half seasons at Spurs and the likes of Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon were key members of the team.
But he will be looking to get the better of them in Saturday’s London derby at Loftus Road when his bottom of the table Queens Park Rangers team look for another win in their bid for Premier League survival.
“It’s a big advantage. In the end when you manage a club you know your football players very well,” said Tottenham manager Villas-Boas when asked Redknapp’s understanding of the Spurs squad.
“You get to know them, you get to know their qualities and I think Harry can take advantage of that.
“They have done things together, he knows what makes them tick and what they are not so good at.”
QPR stunned Chelsea with a 1-0 win over the European champions in their last Premier League game and another victory will bolster their once seemingly all but non-existent survival hopes.
“Obviously everything has changed recently for him (Redknapp) in the fact that he has gone to QPR, the fact that he won against Chelsea and that is such an important boost of confidence,” Portuguese manager Villas-Boas explained.
But Tottenham are motivated by knowing they will be within three points of champions Manchester City, for at least a day, if they win.
With Arsenal playing City on Sunday, it gives Spurs — who will kick-off six points adrift of the top two — the chance to close in on leaders Manchester United, at home to Liverpool on Sunday, and the title holders.
“We approach the game on a good run of form too, full of confidence and wanting to profit from a weekend when the top teams meet each other,” said Villas-Boas.
“We take it very seriously this weekend if we want to continue our progress.”
William Gallas has been ruled out of the QPR game through injury but Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor is available before heading to South Africa for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Villas-Boas insisted he was not looking for a striker during the January transfer window, saying: “We’ve been pretty happy with the team and what we have available, with the options that we have.
“To be fair it’s not that great amount of time that we lose Adebayor.”
QPR are looking to recruit players and have had a bid for West Brom centre-back Jonas Olsson rejected, but Tal Ben Haim can play in defence against Spurs after arriving as a free agent.
“The team has great players and an excellent manager so I believe we can stay up,” said Ben Haim, who played under Redknapp at Portsmouth.
Ben Haim, who made his QPR debut against West Brom in a drawn FA Cup tie, added: “It’s great to be back and my first game after so long was not easy. After one or two more games, I think I’ll be playing better.
“I worked hard during the months I was out of the game and kept myself fit, but I always believed in myself and waited for my chance.”
Venue Loftus Road, Saturday 12.45pm
Last season QPR 1 Tottenham 0
Referee Lee Probert
This season’s matches 13 Y38, R1, 3.00 cards per game
Odds QPR 10-3 Tottenham 6-7 Draw 13-5
Queens Park Rangers
Subs from Cerny, Green, Murphy, Park, Ferdinand, Ben Haim, Ephraim, Bothroyd, Faurlín, Ehmer, Campbell, Cissé, Doughty
Doubtful Granero (hamstring)
Injured Traoré (calf, 19 Jan), Bosingwa (knee, 29 Jan), Hoilett (hamstring, 29 Jan), Zamora (hip, Feb), Johnson (knee, Mar)
Unavailable Diakité (international duty)
Form guide WLLLWD
Disciplinary record Y32 R2
Leading scorer Taarabt 4
Subs from Friedel, Gomes, Huddlestone, Adebayor, Naughton, Sigurdsson, Falqué, Livermore, Sandro, Townsend, Caulker
Injured Gallas (calf, 19 Jan), Kaboul (knee, Feb)
Form guide WWWDWL
Disciplinary record Y31 R2
Leading scorer Defoe 10
Tottenham have only won one of their five previous Premier League games away at Queens Park Rangers (D1, L3).
Spurs’ last victory at Loftus Road was a 3-2 win on 25 September 1995, when Teddy Sheringham scored twice for the visitors. Rangers were relegated at the end of that season.
Queens Park Rangers
Victory would give Rangers back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since December 1995, when they beat Bolton and then Aston Villa.
Shaun Wright-Phillips’ goal against Chelsea was his first in the league since 9 May 2010. Prior to scoring he had attempted 42 shots at goal in 2012, more than any other Premier League player.
Rangers have kept three clean sheets in 21 league games this season, two of which came against Chelsea. They have failed to record a shut-out in nine league games at Loftus Road since their 0-0 draw with Chelsea on 15 September.
Harry Redknapp won 49% of his league games in charge of Tottenham (P144, W71, D37, L36). Andre Villas-Boas (57%) is the only Spurs boss with a better Premier League record.
Rangers have scored 35% of their league goals from shots outside the penalty area this season, more than any other top-flight side.
Defeat would be QPR’s 100th loss in the Premier League.
Spurs have won nine of their last 11 games in all competitions (W9, D1, L1).
They are the only Premier League team to score in every away game this season.
Tottenham have scored 12 league and cup goals in four games since Christmas, conceding only twice.
Gylfi Sigurdsson could make his 100th league appearance in English football.
SOURCE: BBC Sport
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