While QPR may have already had their Premier League fate settled, the same certainly cannot be said of opponents Newcastle who remain in grave danger of relegation to the Championship. After setting the division by storm last term, the Magpies have struggled immensely this time around and are precariously looking over their shoulder as they bid to achieve what their opponents couldn’t.
It seems strange to think that just over a year ago Harry Redknapp was the front runner for the England job, only to now see the veteran ready to embark on a managerial experience in the Championship. Having failed to save QPR from the drop, Redknapp has stood loyal by the Loftus Road outfit and has even gone as far as saying that there is more of a chance of the club being relegated again, rather than immediately returning to this level. If this season is anything to go by, he could well be right with the R’s significantly underachieving despite their enormous wage bill. Relegation obviously hasn’t prompted any sort of revival in form either, with the club approaching this clash without a win in their last seven.
Newcastle may join them in the Championship if things don’t improve in the North East and Alan Pardew’s men could drop into the bottom three on Tuesday if they lose this Sunday and Wigan win their match. Pardew has already admitted that he is unsure of his future at the end of the season no matter what division the club find themselves in and this won’t surprise many considering the disastrous campaign the Magpies have experienced. Despite their unexpected success last year, Newcastle have dropped like a stone and have won just one of their last seven Premier League games. To make matters worse, there have been some humiliating defeats thrown in there, including home drubbings against Liverpool and local rivals Sunderland.
In terms of team news, QPR have been dealt several blows with Chris Samba, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Andrew Johnson all poised to miss the clash as they struggle on the treatment table. Newcastle meanwhile will have to play the waiting game, with Alan Pardew sweating on the fitness of Davide Santon, Moussa Sissoko and Sylvain Marveaux. Pardew also won’t be able to call upon Tim Krul and Ryan Taylor who will not play again this season.
Sides that have been relegated prior to the season finale usually put up some sort of fight in a bid to earn contracts. In the case of QPR, we just can’t see this happening as it is clear there are some serious squad morale problems that Harry Redknapp will have his work cut out to resolve. Newcastle may also be struggling, but with everything to play for, we think the Magpies have it in them to pull a 3-1 victory out of the hat.