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Respect for Harry, points for Blues

14 September 2013

By Tony Leighton

Birmingham City manager Lee Clark has the greatest of respect for Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp; but when Blues visit Loftus Road on Saturday it will not be giving respect but taking away points that will be Clark's focus.

With three defeats and just one win from their opening five games, points have obviously been hard to come by for Clark's 19th in the table team as they head into their second season under the former Huddersfield Town manager.

Meanwhile, unbeaten QPR, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last term, have made a flying start to their Sky Bet Championship campaign and are lying second after collecting 13 points from a possible 15.

As Clark looked ahead to what could be a difficult afternoon in west London, he said: "QPR have a terrific manager in Harry Redknapp, who should not be working at this level - he should be in the one above.

"He has quality throughout his team, and this is what's always associated with Harry Redknapp. He has a great team with top quality, experienced players who will battle for him - and he was able to reinforce his group on deadline day.

"They are expected to win every game though, so the pressure is always going to be on them whether they like it or not. I have great respect and admiration for them, but I certainly don't fear them.

"I'm really looking forward to the game, which people outside our dressing room won't be expecting us to win. We have to go there and show what a good group of players we've got here at Birmingham."

Former midfielder Clark has been encouraged by the work his players have put in during the fortnight's international break, following which he has a virtually fully fit squad to select from for Saturday's encounter.

"We've had a lot of positivity with players coming back from injury," said the manager. "We have Nikola Zigic and David Murphy in full training, that's really good for us, and now we've only got Neal Eardley still out injured.

"We've worked had on the training pitch and the players have responded brilliantly - and in the five games we've had there hasn't been a big gap between the teams. With a bit of luck we could have had a couple more points."

What would be three surprise points would be ideal at QPR. "When I was a player at Newcastle," Clark said, "one of my managers said that if you go to London and get a result everyone takes notice - and that will be our aim."

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