Norwich City-Queens Park Rangers Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) -- Queens Park Rangers and Norwich have both been busy in the final few days of the January transfer window ahead of their match at Loftus Road on Saturday.
Bottom club Rangers (2-10-12) are battling hard to save their Premier League status and are unbeaten in four league games, while Norwich (6-9-9) have slumped to 14th place after a winless run of seven league matches and are now just seven points above the drop zone.
QPR bolstered their defence by signing ex-Blackburn defender Christopher Samba from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday for an undisclosed club-record fee. Samba, 28, is seen as a direct replacement at the heart of the Rangers defence for Ryan Nelsen who has left Rangers to become full-time coach of Major League Soccer club Toronto FC.
"This is an unbelievable signing," manager Harry Redknapp told the QPR website. "Chris is just what we need. He's a monster.
"Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He's a proper centre-half."
Redknapp had earlier this week signed 22-year-old South Korea defender Yun Suk-Young for an undisclosed fee from Chunnam Dragons.
Norwich (6-9-9), meanwhile, have strengthened their attack with the acquisition of strikers Luciano Becchio from Leeds United and Kei Kamara from MLS side Sporting Kansas City.
Becchio, a 29-year-old Argentinian, moved to Carrow Road in a swap deal that saw Wales forward Steve Whitaker move to Elland Road.
Sierre Leone international Kamara, 28, has joined the Canaries on loan until the end of the season, subject to him being granted a work permit.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton welcomed the arrival of Kamara, saying: "From what I've seen of him, we're not just taking an average player from that division. We're taking a player from that division that has excelled in recent seasons. I think he'll give us another dimension in the forward area."
Rangers held defending Premier League champions Manchester City to a goalless draw at Loftus Road on Tuesday with a performance that pleased Redknapp.
"Of course it is a bonus point, it is a great point," Redknapp said. "They rip teams to pieces home and away, you would take a point off them at any time. It is a fantastic result."
In addition to their faltering league form, which included a 5-0 thrashing at Liverpool on Jan. 19, Norwich suffered an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to fifth-tier side Luton Town a week later to become the first top-flight side since 1989 to be knocked out of the FA Cup by a non-league team.
Norwich bounced back from that debacle with a much improved display in a 1-1 home draw against Tottenham on Wednesday. The Canaries had much the better of play and took the lead with a first-half goal from Wes Hoolahan. They appeared to be heading for a well-deserved victory before Wales winger Gareth Bale scored a superb individual goal in the 80th minute to earn a point for Spurs.
"Until Spurs scored, I thought we were good value," Hughton said after the match. "We have a great support and it was important after Liverpool and Luton that we put on a performance.
"We were better today, we have had some misfortune lately, but if we continue like this, we will be OK."
The match finished as a 1-1 draw last August when the two teams met at Carrow Road in this season's reverse fixture. Simeon Jackson gave Norwich the lead after 11 minutes before Bobby Zamora leveled for QPR eight minutes later.
Updated January 31, 2013