The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW -

HARRY Red­knapp locks horns with his for­mer first­team coach to­mor­row night – and the QPR boss ad­mits Steve McClaren is now a di­rect pro­mo­tion ri­val.

Since leav­ing Lof­tus Road in Septem­ber, for­mer Eng­land man­ager McClaren has turned Derby into se­ri­ous Premier League hope­fuls.

And Red­knapp ac­knowl­edges the Rams will take some stop­ping with his old mate at the helm.

“Derby are a great club and one that was in the Premier League a few years ago and Steve has done an ex­cel­lent job there,” he said.

“There are about six or seven teams chas­ing Le­ices­ter, who seem to be run­ning away with it, and Derby are one of them.

“Like any of the clubs they could move into the Premier League, it’s go­ing to be tough and I wouldn’t want to pick who’s go­ing up. It’s go­ing right down to the wire.”

Matty Phillips may miss the rest of the sea­son af­ter suf­fer­ing an an­kle in­jury in Rangers’ thrilling 3-3 draw with fel­low ti­tle chasers Burn­ley last week­end.

Yossi Be­nay­oun (groin) and Ale­jan­dro Fau­rlin (cru­ci­ate) both have long-term in­juries but the po­ten­tial de­but of new sign­ing Aaron Hughes could be a ray of hope for the West Lon­don side.

And Red­knapp has urged his play­ers to bat­tle through a dif­fi­cult pe­riod, with the R’s boss also miss­ing the likes of Char­lie Austin and Danny Simp­son.

He added:“They’re all a big loss but now it’s up to the lads who have come in and the ones we al­ready have here to get on with it now.”

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