Belfast Telegraph

Ramsey: Survival fight back on

Chris Ramsey reckons QPR have blown the race for survival wide open as he prepares to go head-to-head with friend Tim Sherwood.

Rangers beat West Brom 4-1 on Saturday and will move out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with a win at Aston Villa on Tuesday.

QPR are three points behind 17th-placed Villa - who lost 3-1 at Manchester United on Saturday - but have a better goal difference than their rivals.

Ramsey was Villa boss Sherwood's assistant at Tottenham last season and believes the fight to stay in the top flight can go to the wire.

"For the neutral it's fantastic because it goes right to the end. It's going to be very interesting because Leicester will be thinking they're not out of it either," he said, referring to the Foxes' 2-1 win over West Ham on Saturday.

"If things hadn't gone our way and perhaps gone Villa's way then the mountain looks a little bigger but the game on Tuesday will be very important for both teams.

"They have a lot of pace and they are in touching distance from being out of this mire.

"They want to get the points early so they can get their thoughts on the beach with four or five games to go. No-one wants to be travelling on the coach on the last day needing to win 3-0 to stay up."

But regardless of Tuesday's result Ramsey backed Sherwood, who replaced Paul Lambert in February, to keep Villa up.

He said: "Without a shadow of a doubt, I think he will keep them up.

"He is good enough, he has a good squad, he has players who have the wow factor and from his point of view he knows how to manipulate those players. If I was a betting man - which we're not allowed to do - I would be putting a bet on him keeping them up.

"It's strange from a personal point of view because we worked together at Tottenham.

"We speak every four or five days maybe. We live near each other, me, him and Les (Ferdinand) live probably ten minutes from each other so sometimes there is a pint to be had."

Rangers gave themselves hope of beating the drop after Bobby Zamora's wonderful lob capped a first-half goalrush at The Hawthorns.

Charlie Austin and Eduardo Vargas also scored while Joey Barton netted an injury-time fourth after Victor Anichebe had pulled a goal back for the 10-man hosts.

Youssouf Mulumbu was sent off late on, just 12 minutes after coming on, after a challenge with Barton.

Defeat left Albion seven points above the drop zone before they host bottom side Leicester on Saturday and Mulumbu protested his innocence after his red card.

"I just jumped higher than Joey Barton - I didn't even know what player it was," he said.

"I just jumped higher than him and I didn't make any movement with my shoulder.

"I think it's harsh but that's how it is.

"I don't know if we'll appeal. I will speak with the club but when you look at the video it's very harsh.

"I didn't make any movement to hurt anybody so we will speak with the coach and the club and see what is the best way to sort this out."


From Belfast Telegraph