Martin Jol is under no illusions that Saturday’s tie with Queens Park Rangers (3pm) will be an easy game, despite the fact that our West London neighbours continue to prop up the Barclays Premier League.
Rangers are still searching for their inaugural league win of the campaign but Whites Manager Jol insists they are unfortunate to still be without a victory.
“I can remember games from even before Harry [Redknapp] was there when they were quite close to winning,” he explained. “They’ve had seven draws and could have had wins because I saw a couple of games where they were very unlucky.
“They are in a difficult situation but there are a lot of games to go where they can get a lot of points on the board so you can never write them off.
“Harry has been there a couple of weeks now and they are looking for a response all the time and they need a response now. We are aware of that. You can never write clubs off. I think they have got the quality and, of course, Harry is capable of coming up with a few very good results.”
Redknapp has been given the task of staving off relegation at Loftus Road and it’s a challenge that Jol is not unfamiliar with, having prospered during a similar situation in his time in the Netherlands.
“I think it’s always a tough job,” he said when asked about the difficulties of taking over at a struggling side. “At my second club [RKC Waalwijk], they had three points at the end of November and that was the first time in history that a club had that amount of points and still managed to stay in the league.
“The year after, we were fourth with two other clubs, so I think Harry can do a similar job. He’s proved in the past that he’s a very good manager, a fantastic manager. But it’s a big challenge.”
Jol also delivered the latest team news ahead of our trip to Loftus Road, confirming that Bryan Ruiz’s rehabilitation was on schedule, but that another influential midfield player was likely to miss the local derby.
“Mahamadou Diarra is not fit,” he said. “He had a knock against Tottenham Hotspur but I took him on the bench [against Newcastle United] because I thought it was important to have him in the squad.
“He said if I need him for 20 or maybe 30 minutes then he could do that but he had two injections on Tuesday so I don’t think he will be involved. But there is still a slight hope that he could be fit for selection.
“Bryan is halfway through his recovery now and hopefully – because our medical staff said he would be out for four or five weeks – it will be four weeks, rather than five.
“Simon Davies won’t be available at the weekend. He’s trained with us so that was good news but he’s not nearly [match] fit. He had an operation and it’s still a bit painful so it will take some time before he is back for selection.”