Ironside: The QPR derby looks increasingly important

13:35 17 January 2013

West Ham United

West Ham United's Alou Diarra in action against Manchester United. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Every team in the bottom half of the Premier League is still fighting relegation.

About our blogger

Name: Chris Wilkerson

Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson

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Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid

Most memorable game: Playoff Final

Predicted finish: 12th

If you look at all ten of those teams you could see them falling into the scrap at the bottom, and that includes us. We have the quality to make sure that does not happen, but that could be said of our last two relegations.

Home is where our survival will be secured. The Boleyn Ground needs to be a bit of a fortress for us to make sure we stay comfortable and hopefully push back into the top half of the table.

Of course, the injury problems are having a real effect. January acquisitions will help ease that, as well as the way Alou Diarra, Jack Collison and now Mohamed Diame have eased their way back into fitness. Andy Carroll will join them soon, and if we do get the defender Sam Allardyce is after by this weekend, which I hope is Blackburn’s Martin Olsson, then we could soon be blessed with wonderful selection dilemmas across the park.

But this weekend at home to QPR is hugely important. Not merely because it’s a London derby, not because it’s Harry Redknapp strutting into Upton Park again, but because it is the kind of game we should be winning, and it will halt a team that could escape trouble with a bit of momentum.

"New signing Loic Remy joins the QPR ensemble cast, and there seems to be about three or four different transfers windows worth of teams at Loftus Road. It seems he was perennially linked with a move to us, so the pessimistic expect he will show us how good he is with a goal."

Chris Wilkerson

New signing Loic Remy joins the QPR ensemble cast, and there seems to be about three or four different transfers windows worth of teams at Loftus Road. It seems he was perennially linked with a move to us, so the pessimistic expect he will show us how good he is with a goal.

Victory would also help us move out of the rut it feels like we are in, mainly due to poor away performances. Five league games away from home without a goal, and only five scored all season (two against the visitors on Saturday), show signs that we are not exactly reproducing our home form when we travel.

The Sunderland game was a miserable watch, the team devoid of ideas and uncharacteristically unorganised defensively. It was the kind of performance I would not expect the manager will let the players produce again.

Positives, of course, are coming from the recovering players that will breathe life into the squad, whilst new signings will bolster the bench.

It has also been enjoyable to see Danny Potts and Jordan Spence play, both performed manfully at Old Trafford in last night’s 1-0 FA Cup third round exit, and young goal machine Elliot Lee getting a run out would have pleased the fans too. As ever, their technique on the ball appears spot on. Tony Carr never fails us there.

Hopefully, this weekend we can put a bit more distance between the bottom three and ourselves, and if that comes at the expense of QPR then what a shame that is.

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