Redknapp planning for the worst

Harry Redknapp has started identifying the players he thinks are up to the challenge of dragging QPR back into the Premier League.

New Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp

QPR's relegation to the npower Championship will be confirmed on Sunday if they fail to beat rock-bottom Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

Given that there is only a minuscule chance of Redknapp's Rangers escaping the drop, the 66-year-old has already started plotting how to return to the top-flight at the first attempt.

The former Tottenham manager will meet with QPR's board next week to discuss possible ins and outs, and he then expects to spend most of the summer on the phone, trying to flog the players he does not want and replace them with hungry battlers.

Redknapp has often spoke about how consuming football is in his life and if his wife Sandra expects to enjoy a nice peaceful break on the Essex coast then she may have to think again.

"I go away with the wife, we have a caravan down in Canvey and we will go there and then maybe on to Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey - we've got a caravan there too - right next to the bus station," the enigmatic QPR manager said with a smile.

"In fact this year they have actually got a shower as we haven't gone one in the caravan. I love it.

"But I'll be on the phone all day.

"You're never switching off; you're thinking about next year and how you'll get a team that will get us back out of that league. You're looking around to find players who will get us back into the Premier League, where we want to be."

Figures released last November showed that QPR paid a staggering £6,818,688 on agents' fees over the previous 12 months as they sought to secure a top-half finish by bringing in big names like Julio Cesar, Esteban Granero and Jose Bosingwa.

Given that most of the players who moved to Loftus Road last summer have failed to live up to expectations, Redknapp will try to orchestrate QPR's signings between himself and the board.

"I won't be on the phone to agents. They do my head in," said Redknapp, who said that "gang warfare" had broken out between agents during the January transfer window.

"You have to know the players you want. If you listen to agents you'll end up in the Conference. They haven't got a clue.

"You have to have your own list and we have to follow up on those as quickly as we can."

When Redknapp sits down with the QPR board, near the top of the agenda will be the future of Joey Barton.

Barton has made it clear that he wants to stay at Marseille, where he is on loan until the end of the season.

But Redknapp warned the controversial midfielder that he will have to come back from the south of France to help QPR out in the Championship if a deal cannot be struck with Marseille.

He added: "I'm sure Joey has learnt a lot in France. He belongs here, so if he comes back and we can't do a deal with Marseille he would be welcome back here.

"I've seen where Joey lives when I went over to watch Remy play and I'm not sure if he would want to move away from there, he has got a nice lifestyle.

"But I ain't got to sell it to him, he belongs to us. Let's see what happens."

Redknapp insisted on Friday that he still has the heart to remain at QPR despite their almost inevitable relegation.

"It's been disappointing how it has finished, but we were always in trouble," said Redknapp, who replaced Mark Hughes in November.

"I haven't exactly got a hard life. It's people getting in lorries this morning [Friday] driving up motorways all day (that do).

"I don't think it's tough having to drive up (from Poole) in a Range Rover with the radio on. When I do get tired of it I'll pack it all in."



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