QPR expected to survive top-flight return and push for top half

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A late, late Bobby Zamora goal sent QPR fans into delirium as the west London side sealed promotion back into the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Derby in the playoff final at Wembley.

Having had Gary O’Neil sent off, Harry Redknapp admitted his side were hanging on against Steve McClaren’s blood-hunting charges in the hope that the tie would go to penalties only for striking veteran Zamora to curl the ball into the far corner in the dying minutes.

Now, plans must be made for a return to the Premier League, having spent just one season away from the country’s top-table.

Lessons should be learnt from the money-throwing strategy the club employed when threatened with the drop two years ago, and the crux of the squad is top-flight ready, with a host of internationals.

Such a squad, containing the likes of Niko Krancjar, Joey Barton and Kevin Doyle, should really have been crowned champions of the second tier but, with Premier League experience running right through it, is well equipped for survival next season.

That strength is indicated in the odds Ladbrokes have offered about the club next term, with the company going 1/3 that they stay up.

It’s 2/1 that Redknapp suffers an immediate return to the Championship, while the 7/4 on a top-ten finish is an intriguing price.

Ladbrokes have never previously offered such short odds on a second-tier playoff winner breaking into the top half of the Premier League the following season, and the odds reflects the strength with which the former Tottenham boss is working with.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: “We’ve never known a play off winner to have odds as short as this for a top ten finish in the Premier League. The betting suggests QPR will splash the cash this summer to make a bold bid to stay in the division.”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.