Harry Redkapp returns to the touchlines tonight as QPR take on Sunderland in his first game as Hoops manager. The 65 year old, nicknamed Harry 'Houdini' for miraculously saving Tottenham and Portsmouth from relegation, admitted that with QPR winless and rock bottom of the table, ensuring their survival would be his toughest challenge yet.
"Well, it's a tough job you know. We mustn't kid ourselves, this is much tougher than those two jobs (Tottenham and Portsmouth) in my opinion, but it's a real challenge and one I'm looking forward to. There's no reason why, I am optimistic we can pull it off."
One of the great man-motivators in the game, Redknapp will be looking to get the best out of the underperforming Rangers players. He said that the players only need look at themselves as to why QPR have struggled so far this year.
"They haven't really performed to their capabilities at the moment, they've got to do better. They've lost a good manager in Mark, he's been unfortunate to lose his job. The players have to take responsibility for performances, they're the ones on the pitch, they're the ones playing, you can only put them out there. They've got to up their performance level now and get us out of trouble. It's their responsibility that we're in it at the moment. But I feel there's enough ability here and with a bit of confidence, we can climb the table hopefully."
Redknapp has been out of work since June, after falling out with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. Despite the acrimonious exit, the former West Ham player said his mind was focused now on QPR.
"That's history, I had four great years at Tottenham, I left there...but it couldn't have gone better for me. But that's history, QPR's my team now. My grandkids are all getting QPR kit this week. This is their team, this is our team, this is my family's team now. Where you are is where you are and this is the team for me now and I just want to be successful here. Really badly, I want to keep this team in the Premier League. That would be fantastic for me and everybody else involved in the club. But the people here deserve it, they're good people."
The Hoops travel to The Stadium of Light to face a Sunderland side who have lost their last three games at home. Aston Villa and Reading, the two other sides currently in the relegation zone, meet in tonight's other Premier League game.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner