Premier League: Harry Redknapp makes bow as QPR boss at Sunderland
Last Updated: 27/11/12 9:44am
Harry Redknapp: Charged with the task of guiding Queens Park Rangers to Premier League survival
Sunderland will provide the opposition for Harry Redknapp's first game in charge of struggling Queens Park Rangers.
The Black Cats will be hoping that the hype surrounding Redknapp's return to Premier League management plays into their hands, as they are also in need of a points pick-me-up.
Sunderland suffered a 4-2 defeat to high-flying West Brom in front of their own supporters on Saturday, with post-match speculation suggesting that Martin O'Neill had quit his managerial post.
The Ulsterman remains very much in charge at the Stadium of Light, but he will be aware of the need to avoid back-to-back defeats on home soil and start pulling clear of trouble - with just two points separating the Wearside outfit from the relegation zone.
Much of the midweek focus will, however, be on the away dugout, with Redknapp hoping to oversee another Harry Houdini mission at Loftus Road.
QPR remain rooted to the foot of the top-flight table, having suffered nine defeats in 13 fixtures, and are the only side yet to collect a victory this season.
The bridge to safety currently stretches to seven points and Redknapp knows he cannot afford to see that gap widen if he is to justify the faith of his board and secure survival.
Injuries to Lee Cattermole and John O'Shea compounded Sunderland's misery during their weekend loss to West Brom, with both men facing up to 'weeks' on the sidelines.
Cattermole aggravated a knee complaint and limped out of the action midway through the first half, while O'Shea suffered a calf strain and did not reappear after the interval.
O'Neill faces something of a selection dilemma when it comes to finding cover for O'Shea, with fellow centre-halves Wes Brown and Titus Bramble already sidelined.
Redknapp should be able to call on club captain Park Ji-sung, with QPR in need of inspiration from an on-field leader.
Park failed to recover from a knee problem in time for Saturday's defeat at former club Manchester United, but is expected to be in contention for a trip to the North East.
Jose Bosingwa is thought to have recovered from the virus that ruled him out at the weekend, but strikers Bobby Zamora (hip) and Andrew Johnson (knee) are long-term concerns.
Barclays Premier League
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Sunderland v QPR
Sunderland's Danny Rose has urged his team-mates to be ready for a fight as they bid to turn their slump around.
QPR can survive the drop if Harry Redknapp can build up the players' belief, says son Jamie.
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill could not hide his disappointment at their failure to beat rock-bottom QPR.
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