Wigan boss Uwe Rosler will not stoop to 'pressure bingo' ahead of Championship play-off clash with Queens Park Rangers

Rosler makes light of Harry Redknapp's mind games

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The Independent Football

Wigan boss Uwe Rosler is not prepared to engage in "pressure bingo" ahead of their meeting with QPR as two of last year's relegated sides bid to be instantly restored to the Barclays Premier League.

In the build-up to third-placed Derby's play-off semi-final clash with Brighton, Rams manager Steve McClaren suggested the onus to go up through the play-offs was firmly on Rosler's men and Harry Redknapp's Rangers, who meet in their first leg on Friday night at the DW Stadium.

The ex-England boss stressed it was a "must" for two clubs playing in the top flight last year to achieve promotion this month, something Rangers midfielder Joey Barton disagreed with on Twitter this week when he claimed Derby, because of their league position, "deserved to go up".

Redknapp himself positions his side as third favourites behind the Rams and Wigan, who he believes have the best squad in the division.

On Thursday Rosler had a chance to add his own opinion, but the German neglected the opportunity to join the pre-match mind games.

"What we have now is 'pressure bingo'," he said.

"I was preparing myself today and thinking 'I'm not going in that direction'. But when Harry says we are the clear favourites for promotion then I have to smile a little bit about that one.

"Harry said we have the best squad - I think we have a very good squad - but Harry has probably three times a bigger wage budget than we have.

"Every team that's in the play-offs deserves to be in the play-offs. We face in QPR a team with a lot of experience, a lot of Premier League quality in their squad and they can raise their standards on the day like we can."

While McClaren, Barton and Redknapp may be keen to transfer the pressure away from their own club, Rosler admits he relishes the all-or-nothing nature of the play-offs.

"It's two games with everything at stake, it's a great situation," added Rosler, who suffered defeat in the League One play-off final with Brentford 12 months ago.

"I like pressure, it gets the best out of me in that scenario and the players are used to that. Wigan Athletic, historically, have been under pressure so I really believe that we can raise our standards again."

Like their Latics counterparts, QPR's players will be driven by a desire to be back among the elite next year.

"Once you have tasted being in that league it's totally different to anything else I've experienced," defender Clint Hill said of the Premier League.

"So to get back to that environment and get the club back where it needs to be is important."

Being in the second tier has certainly not curbed Rangers' ambitious plans under chairman Tony Fernandes and they recently unveiled plans for a new stadium in the capital.

Hill and his team-mates know all too well that having a share of the Premier League's riches would go some way to aiding those aspirations, as well as keeping the club's higher earners around.

The R's captain added: "You hear the stories about the money situation.

"There are plans for the stadium and training ground in place, it's all about us as players to try to get back into the league above us and give the club a better chance to progress."