Just 12 months ago Tim Sherwood and Chris Ramsey stood together in the Spurs dugout, but now they face each other in opposing dugouts and both will be desperate to get one over their former colleague.
Villa boss Sherwood has claimed he wants Ramsey to join him as part of his backroom staff, but their friendship will firmly be on hold tonight in a fierce relegation scrap.
A visiting QPR sit dangerously in 19th place, but should they emerge victorious they will go level on points with 17th placed Villa and force them into the relegation zone due to their marginally better goal difference. A home win tonight will see Villa leapfrog Hull and Sunderland into 15th, at least until the weekend. Sherwood then returns to White Hart Lane on Saturday for a huge fixture against the team where he spent many years and was at the helm for a large part of last season.
Both managers have enjoyed some success since taking the reigns at their respective clubs, but both know the importance of survival in the Premier League and this makes tonight’s fixture at Villa Park a must win fixture as we reach the final stretch of the campaign.
Tim Sherwood has certainly sparked life into a Villa team that were woeful earlier in the season, most notably with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Sunderland. Although they have picked up some points and finally found a way to score goals, Villa are coming off back-to-back defeats against Swansea and Man United on Saturday. This will have taken the wind out their sails somewhat, but the prospect of climbing into 15th should fire up the team who will feel confident that they can win.
Although QPR have struggled in recent weeks, confidence will be sky high following their impressive 4-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday. They will be desperate to win consecutive games for the first time this season, and should they maintain the same attacking threat they did on Saturday then Villa will struggle to contain them. QPR scored some fine goals, including 1 sensational effort from Zamora, and this will give them belief going into tonight’s game.
It is poised to be a crunch game at Villa Park tonight and it should be a fascinating fixture. QPR can climb out the relegation zone and force Villa down, but Villa could climb as high as 15th with a win and put some distance between themselves and those in the drop zone with just a handful of games to play. The subplot of two friends and former colleagues meeting in a key fixture adds to the tension and drama, and it could prove to be a pivotal moment in both these managers first season in opposing dugouts.
Scott Sinclair and Ashley Westwood remain out with hamstring problems, whilst Alan Hutton will also miss the game with an ankle injury. Aly Cissokho and Kieran Richardson could return for the home side, but Tom Cleverley and Philippe Senderos are doubts.
Chris Ramsey will have to cope without Eduardo Vargas, who picked up a season ending injury in their 4-1 victory on Saturday. Yun Suk-Young will also miss out as a precautionary measure, after suffering concussion in the victory. Richard Dunne, Leroy Fer, Alejandro Faurlin and Darnell Furlong remain out.