It really has been the true definition of a mixed start to the season for QPR, with four wins, five draws and four defeats from the first 13 games. What have you made of what you’ve seen so far?
A mixed bag. Not too bad. I am mindful of the fact that Rangers have lost 44 goals from last season. Loan strikers Jordan Hugill (15 goals) and Nahki Wells (15 goals) have departed, along with the £19.5 million sale of Eberechi Eze (14 goals). That is a lot of firepower to replace. We have signed forwards Lyndon Dykes from Livingston and Macauley Bonne from Charlton Athletic and both newcomers have performed well so far. However, Dykes has spent a lot of time away with Scotland and suffered an injury during the first international break, which didn’t help QPR.
At the time of writing, Rangers have conceded 18 league goals, two thirds of which have been scored in the second half of games. Is the defensive side of their game lacking strength?
Rangers have strengthened the centre of their defence with the signing of Rob Dickie from Oxford United for this season. He is a man who will run through brick walls for the cause. What I will say though is that we have been giving away far too many unnecessary penalties.
The finances raised by the sale of Eze to Crystal Palace appear to have been put to good use, with several players brought in during the month that followed and a significant amount left over. How important a deal was that for the club?
It was a reminder of the QPR of old where we developed young players and then sold them on before reinvesting the money. Eze had originally been released by Millwall and was thinking about dropping out of professional football. But the R’s took a risk with him, polished him up and made him into a Premier League player. It is good to see him doing well for Crystal Palace now. As I have said many times on the radio: “Eze good, Eze good, he’s Eberechi good…”. Rangers have had to cut the wage bill dramatically to tie in with the club’s Financial Fair Play position. Players’ salaries at Loftus Road have been slashed by 70 per cent during the past four years. So it has been a return to nurturing young, hungry players, which has always traditionally been the QPR way.
Which player should Brentford fans be keeping an eye on this Friday night?
Personally, I don’t think Eze was our best player last season. I believe that Bright Osayi-Samuel (pictured above) is more consistent and more direct. He has electric eel-style trickery on the flank and blistering pace. Once he gets on his bike, he is very difficult to stop. Bright creates a host of chances for others and also has an eye for goal himself.
How is Mark Warburton likely to set up his side at the Brentford Community Stadium?
It is likely to be a 4-2-3-1. The two holding midfielders act as a shield for the defence. Then three pushing on, including two wide men, to support the centre-forward.
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