Harry Redknapp?s prospects of saving Queens Park Rangers from relegation this season may well hinge on Sunday?s clash with fellow strugglers Wigan at Loftus Road. Despite showing improved form of late, Rangers are seven points adrift of the Latics who also have a game in hand. If QPR cannot take maximum points on Sunday they will face an almost impossible task to claw their way out of the bottom three.
Wigan are accustomed to the relegation struggle and Manager Roberto Martinez has engineered some end of season escapes that Houdini would have been proud of. They have already earned themselves a place in the FA Cup semi-finals and victory on Sunday would be another cause to celebrate. Most pundits now see Reading and QPR as doomed to relegation with Wigan involved in a fight against Sunderland and Aston Villa for survival. Newcastle and Stoke are by no means safe either.
Recent meetings between the sides offer few clues about a likely winner on Sunday with Wigan having won one, drawn one and lost one of their three meetings with QPR. More worrying for Redknapp is that his side has only once in their last seven home league games. By contrast, The Latics are unbeaten in their last three away games and travel to London full of confidence. Defence has also been a major problem for Rangers who have leaked 14 goals in their last six matches. The statistics do seem to indicate the prospect of goals with at least one goal having been scored in all of Wigan?s league matches this season.
Although QPR had chances in both matches, they came away from vital games against Aston Villa and Fulham with nothing to show for their endeavours. It is understood that Redknapp will be asked to stay on even if Rangers drop back to the Championship and the 66-year-old welcomes the prospect. For the time being his focus is totally on trying to win every match so that the Londoners can retain their Premiership status.
Martinez is under far less pressure at Wigan and knows that a draw would be a good result for his side. Striker Callum McManaman is fit to be included in the squad and midfielder Fraser Fyvie is the only new addition to the club?s injured list. QPR will be without Shaun Wright-Phillips for the rest of the season after the winger?s recent ankle surgery.
The latest sports betting odds make Wigan 11-10 favourites to take all three points this weekend and put Rangers on the brink of relegation. QPR are 7-5 to grab a vital win with the draw priced at 5-2. QPR have lost their last two matches by three goals to two but you can still get 40-1 about the same result today. Loic Remy is favourite to open the scoring at 11-2 with Aroune Kone at 7-1 and Franco Di Santo at the same price.