Sir Alex Ferguson said Harry Redknapp's presence will give QPR a better chance of Premier League survival, even though such a scenario is looking more unlikely by the week.
The Hoops have averaged a point a game since Redknapp took over immediately after their first meeting with Manchester United at in November.
Yet it is a measure of the perilous situation they were in before Redknapp was installed as Mark Hughes's successor that they remain four points adrift of Wigan at the bottom of the table and, more importantly, seven behind Aston Villa, who sit just above the relegation zone. QPR will not be expected to win this "worst-versus-first" battle.
Ferguson, however, is convinced if anyone can drag Rangers out of the mire it is his old friend Redknapp. "It is not easy when you are down at the bottom of the league," Ferguson said. "Harry will be the first to admit that.
"It may have helped if he had gone a bit earlier. But with Harry's experience and ability to judge players, he will have a better chance than most in that situation."
Ferguson said he understands why QPR have spent as heavily as they have, even though many of the moves have failed. "The only place you want to be is the Premier League," Ferguson said. "That is reflected in QPR spending the money they have."
He said his club will approach the match with their usual preparations. "These games have to be treated exactly as we would Real Madrid or anyone else," he said.
A victory would give United a 15-point lead over Manchester City, at least for a day, but Ferguson's team will be without Wayne Rooney, who is suffering from a sinus infection. Phil Jones (ankle) and Paul Scholes (knee) also are unlikely to play.
The last time QPR took three points from United, Redknapp was coaching at Bournemouth. His side are likely to be without Loic Remy, the French forward, who is suffering from a groin injury.
The task facing QPR is to halt their slide or risk tumbling into oblivion. QPR's Christopher Samba, the £12.5 million (Dh70.1m) club-record buy from Anzhi Makhachkala, has attempted to stoke the fires of his teammates ahead of the match.
Demanding extra effort from everyone in the team, Samba said: "We've worked hard in the lead-up to the game, and we all want to beat Manchester United.
"Whatever happens, we need to show great attitude and commitment on the pitch. We have quality, but we also have to show desire."
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