Preview: Queens Park Rangers vs. Hull City

Sports Mole previews QPR's first game of the season as Harry Redknapp returns to the Premier League by welcoming Hull City to Loftus Road on Saturday.

The Premier League welcomes back a familiar face on Saturday as Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Rangers side host Hull City in their first game of the new season.

The 67-year-old, whose tally of 616 matches as a Premier League manager puts him behind only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, led the Hoops to promotion via the Championship playoffs a year after failing to keep them in the top flight.

Rangers will be hoping to follow the example of Hull, who barely flirted with the relegation zone last term as they finished 16th, and reached the FA Cup final, on their return to the big time.

The Tigers also have European football to contend with this season, and manager Steve Bruce has boosted their bid to battle on two fronts by bringing in a quintet of British talents.

Jake Livermore turned his loan move from Tottenham Hotspur into a permanent switch, and has been joined at the KC Stadium by Harry Maguire, Thomas Ince and Scots Robert Snodgrass and Andrew Robertson.

Redknapp has been typically active in the transfer window, but has been shopping at the other end of the market to sign former England captain Rio Ferdinand following his release by Manchester United.

The 35-year will be partnered by international prospect Steven Caulker, who, along with Jordan Mutch, has arrived from relegated Cardiff City, and Chilean World Cup star Mauricio Isla in defence.

The hosts also have Loic Remy, who scored 14 Premier League goals during a loan spell at Newcastle United last season, at their disposal after Liverpool pulled the plug on an £8.5m deal for the forward.

Both Remy and Adel Taarabt reportedly see their futures away from Loftus Road, though, and therefore may only be used from the bench, with Junior Hoilett and Charlie Austin the most advanced attackers.

Redknapp has hinted that he could experiment with a three-at-the-back formation, which would likely mean a tussle between veteran defenders Richard Dunne and Clint Hill for the final centre-half berth.

Bruce often employed a 3-5-2 system himself last season to accommodate two strikers, but with January signing Shane Long having left in a £12m move to Southampton and Yannick Sagbo suspended, the Tigers boss may revert to one up front.

Snodgrass could be the only one of Hull's summer recruits to feature from the start in London this weekend, with Maynor Figueroa and James Chester holding onto their places. Robbie Brady is fully fit again having suffered a frustrating time with injuries last season.

Possible starting lineups

QPR: Green; Isla, Ferdinand, Caulker, Hill, Traore; Barton, Faurlin, Mutch; Hoilett, Austin

Hull: McGregor; Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Figueroa; Snodgrass, Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler, Brady; Jelavic

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Who will win Saturday's match between QPR and Hull at Loftus Road?

QPR
Hull
Draw
QPR
64.3%
Hull
22.1%
Draw
13.6%
Hull City's English manager Steve Bruce is pictured before the start of the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Hull City at The American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on February 17, 2014
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16Millwall27710102930-131
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds27710103034-431
18Reading2778123035-529
19Barnsley2769122737-1027
20Hull City27510123944-525
21Bolton WanderersBolton2767142545-2025
22Burton Albion2766152146-2524
23Birmingham CityBirmingham2765161538-2323
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