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Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp hoping for Premier League return

11 February 2014

By Tony Leighton

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is intent on going one over the eight as he looks to guide his team to a rare promotion feat.

The Hoops are aiming for an immediate return to the Premier League from the Sky Bet Championship following last season's relegation.

But set-backs like Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at Derby County are making it hard for Redknapp's third in the table side to stay on course for automatic promotion.

Not that the experienced manager expected an easy ride, as he explained after John Eustace's first-half goal had put Derby just one point behind QPR.

"The statistic that people don't realise," said Redknapp, " is that only eight teams have gone straight back up automatically since 1993.

"Hopefully we can make it nine this year, but when you go down it's hard to get back in the first season. It doesn't happen too often."

If it's going to happen for QPR they will have to find goals from a new source as top goalscorer Charlie Austin is set to miss the rest of the season through injury.

Austin has hit 15 goals but the next highest scorer, with just three, is winger Matt Phillips - and he too has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

Redknapp loaned strikers Kevin Doyle, Modibo Maiga and Will Keane on the January transfer window's deadline day in a bid to boost firepower.

But neither Doyle, signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers, nor West Ham United's Maiga, are prolific scorers as Redknapp admits.

And 21-year-old Manchester United forward Keane, who has made only one appearance for the Red Devils, is unproven and is yet to make his QPR debut.

Redknapp said: "It was difficult, transfer deadline day, what do you do? We've brought in a couple of lads, but they haven't scored goals for a year or so.

"They're good lads, though. Kevin Doyle works his socks off and I just hope that he can have a good run scoring some goals for us.

"I've also got the young boy Will Keane, who I like a lot. I'm looking forward to getting him involved - I'm looking to get him in [the team] as quick as I can."

Redknapp must also look to get his side winning games against their promotion rivals if they are to clinch his hoped for top-two finish.

The Hoops seem to have no great problems against teams lower down the table, but recent results against sides around them do not bode well.

They have lost to top team Leicester City, fifth in the table Nottingham Forest and now fourth-placed Derby - and next up are Reading, who lie sixth.

They are behind second-placed Burnley only on goal difference, but the grip that earlier in the season they looked to have on automatic promotion is slipping.

Redknapp remains confident, however: "We've got a real tough run-in." he noted, "and it'll be close. But it's all to play for - and I still feel we've got a good chance."

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