sport

Redknapp relying on old guard

QPR manager Harry Redknapp will keep faith in the old guard at Loftus Road as he aims to secure Premier League survival.

Redknapp takes his Rangers side to West Brom in an FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday night on the back of Saturday's hard-fought goalless draw against his former employers Tottenham.

Despite QPR's lowly status, performances and results have slowly started to improve since Redknapp replaced Mark Hughes as manager at Loftus Road and the 65-year-old has praised the likes of Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and Jamie Mackie for their commitment to the cause.

"They love the club and want to do well," he said. "They're lads that people write off, saying they're only Championship players, but they're giving everything and I can't ask any more than that.

"Mackie isn't Gareth Bale but he gives everything and I couldn't ask for any more from him. They were great against Spurs."

Redknapp has also been impressed by the unselfishness of his more senior professionals.

"They're good lads, not earning big money but they give everything," he said. "If you ask them to sit on the bench they do it. There's no 'Big Time Charlie' about them, they're great blokes to have in the dressing room."

The original cup tie with West Brom ended 1-1 at Loftus Road with Kieron Dyer, who has since been released by the club, grabbing a dramatic late equaliser for the R's.

That fixture was sandwiched between a shock 1-0 win at the home of local rivals Chelsea and the goalless draw with Spurs and midfielder Derry reckons the QPR players are now feeling more confident about securing Premier League survival.

"We've managed to register two great results on the bounce now," he told QPR Player. "The win against Chelsea and the point against Spurs has given everyone at the club a massive boost.

"We're a different group of players here now. There's huge belief amongst the squad now. We're a lot harder to beat.

"The changes over the last few weeks since the manager and his backroom team have come in have made a big difference."

Mackie does not think the FA Cup replay will detract from the task of Premier League survival and feels a good result in any competition breeds positivity throughout the squad.

"You want to win any game, on a personal note you go out there to win football matches," he said. "It can only be a good thing for the club if we win football matches, whatever they are and whoever plays.

"We have a big squad and people are eager to play now we are getting results, it freshens things up so it could be a chance for other people or a chance for us to keep the momentum going."

The Scotland international said the players had to look within themselves following the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on December 30 and have responded well since then.

When asked what had sparked an upturn in results, Mackie said: "Probably a bit of soul-searching for yourself and looking at yourself.

"Going home and looking at yourself in the mirror and saying 'I've given everything' and the lads have done that now. No-one can say the lads haven't done that in the last two league games.

"That is what it is going to take for us to get out of it because we have definitely got quality if we work from a good platform."