Belfast Telegraph

Taarabt comeback on hold

Adel Taarabt's fitness bid is "back to square one" just as the QPR playmaker was on the verge of a comeback.

Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has revealed the Morocco midfielder damaged his niggling ankle ligament problem in training on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old missed QPR's entire pre-season agitating for a permanent move to AC Milan after spending time at the San Siro on loan last term.

Loftus Road club boss Redknapp conceded Taarabt's battle with weight, fitness and injury problems are causing constant headaches.

"His ankle's sore again this week so we're back to square one with him," said Redknapp.

"Just when we thought he was starting to get a bit fitter he's back to square one again because his ankle's gone.

"We just can't get him fit.

"He came out for training, but had to limp off again after 15 minutes because his ankle was too sore to train.

"I don't know how long he'll be out, he keeps trying to come back on it but it's going again.

"So you rest him for a few weeks, but then while he's resting, how are you going to get him fit? It's such a difficult job with him.

"He missed his pre-season, that's his problem.

"And it's a massive frustration, because he's a talent.

"I'd like to have fit and available, he's got great ability."

Taarabt will miss Saturday's lunchtime Premier League clash at Loftus Road with Mark Hughes' Stoke.

Redknapp believes the enigmatic forward is ready to put his questionable lifestyle in the past and assume greater levels of professionalism.

The former Tottenham boss also admitted QPR medics could order further tests in a bid to beat Taarabt's nagging injury if it does not ease quickly.

"He's shown interest, we've got to get him fit basically, but we can't get him fit because of this problem with his ankle," said Redknapp.

"He needs to get his weight down, get that right and get fit to play.

"I think he wants to be professional now, he's been through the situation where he wanted to go back to Milan but he's here.

"He loves to play football, but we've got to get him fit and he's got to get himself fit.

"If he does that he can be a big asset for us this year.

"He's had a scan on his ankle, but if it keeps going we'll get more tests on it.

"I've been talking to the doctors about it this morning, and maybe we'll look at it again."

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