Tottenham vs Queens Park Rangers match preview: Harry Redknapp is not the lone Ranger

Former Tottenham manager surrounds himself with old Spurs hands as he returns to White Hart Lane

Ahead of a first return to White Hart Lane since leaving in 2012, Harry Redknapp was asked the inevitable question: what does he expect? It led to something of an inevitable response from the Queens Park Rangers manager. “I had a great time at Tottenham,” he said. “This is my team now.”

Except that the current team are increasingly resembling his old club. There is no escaping the links between QPR and Spurs. Four of the coaching staff are former Tottenham employees – Redknapp himself, Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan – as well as four core players – Steven Caulker, Jermaine Jenas, Bobby Zamora and Adel Taarabt. Last season’s promotion also involved two Spurs loanees.

The connection was one of the big issues in the build-up to today’s game, although Richard Dunne insists the squad do not look at it like that. “I’ve not really talked about players or staff going back to previous clubs,” says the veteran centre-half, who arrived at Rangers last summer. “The focus is general, on a normal game. Once the game starts, it’s just a game, there are no revenge missions or anything like that.”

If so, it represents a new focus from QPR, which may be key. Certain staff members and players are not the only factors the clubs have in common. Both London sides are trying to escape recent ructions as well as all the resulting perceptions about them, and move on to new levels.

Yet, for all of last season’s chaos at Spurs as well as the debate about Redknapp’s performance as manager there, he did play a significant part in restoring stability on the pitch at White Hart Lane.

Successive finishes of fourth, fifth and fourth in the Premier League were a long way from the intermittent mediocrity Spurs suffered before then. It is now difficult to  imagine them dipping below that band of Champions’ League wannabes, which does mark a long-term change. Although Spurs may be far from satisfied with where they are, they have found a long-term stability that used to seem so elusive.

It is this that QPR are striving for, and makes for the biggest story of their season: how does a club that endured such chaos in their last Premier League season now recover an element of normality? Rio Ferdinand has said he wants to one day be England manager QPR have adjusted their transfer policy

They have started by making adjustments to the transfer policy. Although Redknapp has spent £22m this summer and still hopes for at least two more midfielders, it has not been on anything like the scattered scale of two years. There has been more of a balance to their purchases, bringing in a mix of Premier League experience in Rio Ferdinand, solid quality in Jordon Mutch and some impressive gloss with Chile’s World Cup star Mauricio Isla.

Redknapp says it makes for a better group, “a nicer feeling, a much nicer place, no bad apples”. He adds: “It’s a good bunch of lads. We’ve got a good chance – I think we are going to be OK this year.”

Rob Green has previously told the story of how, in the 2012-13 season, the old stalwarts such as himself and Clint Hill knew things were really going wrong when they were put back in the team at the expense of the costly signings. Dunne alludes to a deep dysfunction. “I wasn’t here when Harry arrived [in November 2012] but I’ve heard the stories,” the 34-year-old Irishman says.

“Nobody was overly impressed with the squad the last time, and the style and the standard of player that was coming in. This year I’ve not heard anyone question the players the manager signed. They’re all players with ambition, with experience and the right age. I think the board have done their homework and learned their lesson. I think we’ll be a stronger club for it.

“We’ve added people who have bought into that mantra the manager sets, so there’s not been a minute’s problem since we’ve come back.”

That balance has seemingly extended to the back-room staff.  Renowned for the more motivational aspects of management, Redknapp has brought in Hoddle to work on tactics – specifically a switch to a 3-5-2 formation. Although there were evident teething problems in the 1-0 home defeat to Hull City in the opening League game last weekend, and the system has attracted qualified criticism from Gary Neville, Dunne offers praise of Hoddle’s work. Richard Dunne attracted criticism playing on the left of a defensive three Richard Dunne attracted criticism playing on the left of a defensive three

“For everyone, 3-5-2 is 3-5-2, but to have a man like him, who knows the formation inside out, it’s just about little details: in terms of shifting over two yards, or moving forward or backwards two yards,” he said

QPR will hope those little details add up to bigger strides. So Dunne thinks it was vital that Hoddle rejected the advances of managerless Crystal Palace and stayed on at Loftus Road. “The fact that he’s there shows his commitment.”

It also deepens the perceptions of stability. Redknapp will hope for more of that with the first points of the season today, on his first trip back to Spurs. What better place to start?

Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers is today, kick-off 1.30pm

--

QPR signings 2012-13

Summer:

Ryan Nelsen free

Andy Johnson free

Robert Green free

Samba Diakite £3.5m

Park Ji-Sung £4m

Junior Hoilett free

Jose Bosingwa free

Julio Cesar free

Esteban Granero £9m

Stéphane Mbia £5m

Tal Ben Haim free

Fabio loan

Total: £21.5m

Winter:

Loic Rémy £8m

Yun Suk-Young undisc

Chris Samba £12.5m

Jermaine Jenas £2m

Andros Townsend loan

Total: £22.5m minimum

...and 2014-15 so far

Rio Ferdinand free

Steven Caulker £8m

Jordon Mutch £6m

Leroy Fer (left) £8m

Mauricio Isla loan

Eduardo Vargas loan

Total: £22m

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable