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Thursday, March 7, 2013
ESPNsoccernet: March 8, 1:08 PM UK
Gardner tips QPR to win survival fight

Kristan Heneage

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner believes Saturday's opponents Queens Park Rangers will win their battle against relegation.

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Harry Redknapp's side chalked up only their third win of the season at Southampton on Saturday, moving them to within four points of safety.

And with the west Londoners hosting Sunderland this weekend, Gardner tipped them to salvage their Premier League status - but only after facing the Black Cats.

"QPR had a good result at the weekend and they want to get off the bottom of the league - but we want to get points on the board too," he told the Sunderland Echo.

"To be honest, I think they will get out of it. They are a strong team and they have got a good manager. If they keep on getting results they will feel they can get out of it. Hopefully we can put a dent in their plans, though.

"Harry Redknapp went in there and obviously the players thought: 'We need to sort ourselves out here.' After being well adrift at one stage, they have started to pick up some results and now the gap is only four points.

"They are a solid team all over the pitch, and they have a lot of experience. But if we are at the races and we perform like we can, I can't see us losing."

Gardner, currently playing at right-back, is Sunderland's penalty taker and second-top scorer after recorded his fifth Premier League goal of the season in the 2-2 home draw with Fulham on Saturday.

He said: "I fancy myself against any keeper in the world from 12 yards. When I first went to Birmingham, Seb [Larsson, now a Sunderland team-mate] was the penalty-taker. But then he missed one, and I took over - and I didn't miss any.

"I always set myself a target of 10 goals every season, no matter whether I am playing in midfield or at right-back, and hopefully I can still achieve that."




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