Redknapp hopes to become QPR coach Friday

Former Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp said Friday he expects to
take over as manager of struggling Queens Park Rangers, just hours
after the club fired his predecessor Mark Hughes.

Having sacked Hughes earlier in the day, QPR opened discussions
with Redknapp about him taking over a side which is in last place
in the Premier League and without a win this season, having earned
only four points from 12 games.

Late Friday night, Redknapp told British television channel Sky
Sports News that he was keen to become QPR’s new manager and that
”hopefully we can get it done tonight. There shouldn’t be any
problems.

”If everything gets sorted, and I’m sure it will, I’ll be in
Sunday morning, will have the team in training on Monday, then fly
up to Sunderland.” QPR faces Sunderland on Tuesday in what would
be his first match in charge.

Redknapp said he planned to go to watch QPR’s match at
Manchester United on Saturday. He also said he hoped to bring his
two longstanding coaching assistants – Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan –
with him to the west London club.

”I’m looking forward to it. It’s a big challenge and a tough
job to take on – but I’m up for the challenge,” said the
65-year-old Redknapp.

Though widely acknowledged as a shrewd mover in the transfer
market, he ruled out any major splashes when the transfer window
opens in January, despite the very real threat of relegation.

”I don’t think too much will happen in January,” he said.
”There is a big staff there and you can’t keep bringing players
in. The players have got to start performing. If they do that we’ve
got a chance.”

He said the team had to ”find a way to pick up points, be hard
to beat and win some matches. It’s all about the players.”

Redknapp took charge of Tottenham in 2008 when the team was last
in the Premier League with only two points from eight games. He
turned their fortunes around, guiding them into the Champions
League for the first time in 2010.

He was fired in June despite Tottenham finishing in fourth place
last season, and has since taken on a non-paid advisory role at
third-tier Bournemouth and become a television pundit with the
BBC.

Hughes was dismissed after failing to turn around a dismal run
of results.

”Mark has shown integrity and professionalism throughout his
time here, but ultimately the circumstances we find ourselves in
have left the board of directors with very little choice but to
make a change,” QPR said in a statement.

Fans turned on Hughes – and the QPR players – after the loss to
Southampton, which left the team five points from safety with
nearly a third of the season gone.

”Maybe it’s a watershed moment because we can’t get any
lower,” said a despondent Hughes, who had 1 1/2 years left on his
contract.

Tellingly, QPR owner Tony Fernandes refused to defend Hughes
last weekend, as he has done in recent weeks. Only last Friday,
Fernandes posted a Twitter message responding to calls for Hughes’
departure, saying: ”Won’t be happening. For the one millionth
time. Hahaha. Stability.”

That changed this Friday.

”This decision has been taken after careful consideration by
the board of directors, following numerous meetings over the last
few days,” QPR said.

Assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will take
charge of QPR’s match at United.

Hughes managed to keep QPR in England’s lucrative top league
thanks to a strong finish last season and attempted to revitalize
the squad by signing 11 players in the offseason, including Park
Ji-sung from Manchester United, Jose Bosingwa from Chelsea and
Julio Cesar from Inter Milan.

Getting so many new players to gel has been his major problem,
while the team has struggled to score and also has one of its
leakiest defenses.