Transfer Weekly (#4)

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Josh Scowen-

After an impressive season at Barnsley last season Scowen’s contract is coming to an end, in July he will become a free agent. It is thought that Barnsley are keen to keep hold of the 24-year-old, although Scowen wants to join a club capable of mounting a promotion challenge next season.

Last season Scowen was an important player at Oakwell, making 41 appearances, scoring two goals. His versatility is also an attractive prospect, as he can play central midfield and anywhere on the right flank.

Although, the R’s are likely the face competition from Nottingham Forest, Preston and Bristol City.

Pelly Ruddock-

23-year-old Pelly is a powerful box-to-box midfielder for league 2 side Luton Town. A player described as having “endless energy” left West Ham to kick-start his career at non-league Borehamwood. He then joined Luton on loan in 2013 before making the move permanent in 2014. Since 2013 Pelly has made 100 appearances, with 52 of those coming this season.

His current manager Nathan Jones said that one day Pelly will play in the Premier League. He has also praised his versatility, having played Pelly at centre half and even in the number 10 position. Although Jones has said Pelly’s best position is sitting in front of the back 4 as a defensive midfielder.

Sammy Ameobi-

25-year-old Ameobi is soon to be released from newly promoted Newcastle United. A lack of first team opportunities led to the 6 ft 4 attacker going on loan to Bolton, who secured promoted to the Championship last season.

Ameobi played his part making 20 appearances, scoring twice. He is able to play out wide as well as up front. If this is a signing that the R’s are considering we are likely to face competition from Bolton and Nottingham Forest.

Cyrus Christie-

The 24-year-old Derby right-back was unlucky to have broken a bone in his ankle against Wolverhampton Wanderers in November last year. Although, after his recovery, the Republic of Ireland international featured on a regular basis, making 30 appearances in all competitions, scoring 1 goal.

Christie has been at Derby since the summer of 2014, although, with the recent signing of Andre Wisdom from Liverpool, he may be surplus to requirements. As a player who is used to playing first team football he will not want to sit on the bench and may seek a move away.

The R’s could probably get this deal done for under a million pounds. Although, it is thought that play-off finalists Reading are also interested in Christie.

Bersant Celina-

Celina is a 20-years-old Kosovo international who plays for Manchester City. Last season he joined Twente on loan, taking the number 10 shirt. He went on to make 27 appearances, scoring 5 times and assisting 5 times, with Twente finishing 7th in the Eredivisie. It is thought that City now want Celina to get experience in the Championship, perhaps to expose him to the physicality of English football.

Alongside the R’s it is thought that Leeds United and Ipswich Town are also interested.

Matty Fryatt-

Fryatt is a 31-year-old striker whose contract at Nottingham Forest expires this summer. Last season he struggled with problematic achilles, although during the last few months of the season he returned to full fitness.

The R’s are likely to face competition from a number of clubs including Ipswich Town and Hull City, who are reportedly keen to resign Fryatt who spent three years at the club from 2011-2014.

Having made over 350 appearances at Walsall, Leicester and Hull to name a few, his experience would be good for what is a youthful dressing room. Although, the R’s fan base would perhaps question whether Fryatt is the type of player we should be interested in, considering he has only started 17 games since 2014.

 

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Transfer Weekly (#3)

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Ángel Rodríguez:

Angel is a 30 year old Spaniard who plays for Real Zaragoza in the Segunda division (second tier). His contract is set to expire in the summer and reports in Spain suggest that there are tensions between the player and the club in terms of contract negotiations.

Since 2015 he has made 71 appearances and scored 32 times. Rangers sent their scouts to watch Zaragoza’s penultimate game of the season, an away trip to Girona. It is thought that our scouts were impressed by what they saw.

Angel had a great season in 2016/17, scoring 21 goals and assisting 4 times in the 39 games he played in the league. With 21 goals Angel was just 2 goals shy of being the league’s top goalscorer. Quite an impressive stat considering he did it in a struggling Zaragoza side who, like us managed to stay up by 2 points.

Whilst Angel is slightly older, his experience and ability to find the net would be useful going forward. Considering he is likely to be a free agent come July, this is a move I would like to see the Rangers hierarchy go for. A 20 goal a season man in a struggling side, coming at a transfer fee of £0 is the kind of sustainable business that Les Ferdinand and Lee Hoos always talk of.

Alongside Conor, Sylla and Smith, I think we would look a lot better going into next season. Hopefully some extra competition would also bring the best out of the strikers already at the club.

David Cotterill:

Cotterill is a 29 year old winger for Birmingham City who has won 24 caps for Wales. He has spent 3 years at the Blues, playing 96 times and scoring 14 times.

In the lead up to Euro 2016 Cotterill was one Birmingham’s star men. That summer in France he was part of Chris Coleman’s Wales squad that reached the semi-finals.

However, ex boss Gianfranco Zola got rid of Cotterill in the January window, with Cotterill leaving for Bristol City. Appearing 13 times he managed to score 2 goals and play his part in helping the club secure their Championship status at least for another year.

His contract does not run out until the summer of 2018. Although, it is thought that Birmingham have told the player that he is surplus to requirements. Whilst this potentially makes the R’s pursuit easier, we do face competition from Derby County for his signature.

Fred Onyedinma:

Onyedinma is only 20 years old but since his debut in 2014 has gone on to make over 100 appearances for Millwall. He is widely regarded as one of most promising young players in the football league. Before signing a 2 year deal in 2015, it was reported that Liverpool and Arsenal were tracking his progress.

Although Millwall won promotion to the Championship via the play-off final in May, there is speculation regarding the number 10s future at the club. Although he played 54 times last season, towards the back end of the campaign perhaps he did not play as much as he would have liked.

Millwall boss Neil Harris has recently talked of the clubs hopes of keeping Onyedinma. Although, if this is a viable transfer the R’s are likely to face competition from Watford, Brentford and Hull.

Ashley Smith-Brown:

Smith-Brown is a 21 year old who was born in Manchester and came through the academy at Manchester City after joining as a 5 year old. He is primarily a left back but can operate at right full back and in central midfield. He has represented England from U16 level through to U20, scoring 2 goals throughout the four year period.

Last season he was sent on loan to NAC Breda, a side in the Dutch Eerste (second tier) to gain some experience of first team football. He made 29 appearances and scored 1 goal.

Although, the coaching staff at Manchester City want him to gain more experience in a more physical and perhaps competitive league, preferably on home soil.

If the R’s want to sign Smith-Brown they are in competition with a number of clubs, including Barnsley, Wigan, MK Dons and Hearts, all recently linked with City’s young prospect.

Salvatore Monaco:

Monaco is a 24 year old Italian defender who plays as a centre-back. He currently plays for Perugia in Italy’s second tier, Serie B. He made 33 appearances in all competitions as Perugia narrowly missed out on achieving promotion to Serie A.

Monaco is out of contract this summer and it is thought that he is looking to progress his personal development. Whilst the player is relatively unknown, standing at 6ft 3 and a half, he could bring some much needed physical presence to the squad.

 

Transfer Weekly (#2)

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Alex Smithies:

We will soon discover whether we will have to pay £57.9 million for breaching financial fair play regulations. If we do it is looking increasingly likely that outgoings will have to fund incoming players. Unfortunately the Rangers no.1 and player of the season Alex Smithies could be set for a return to hometown club Huddersfield Town. Shay Given has said that he would be open to playing for one more year whether in the Premiership or Championship. We may very well see a battle between Given and Ingram for the no.1 spot next season.

 

Josh Bowler:

It is understood that 18 year old Bowler has rejected a new contract from QPR. After Everton had an initial bid of £1.5 million rising to £3 million rejected, this is likely to give them fresh impetus and bolster Ronald Koeman’s pursuit of the youngerster.

 

Jake Bidwell:

The 24 year old joined Rangers from local rivals Brentford last summer on a three year deal. He went on to be a mainstay at left back, making 36 appearances for the Hoops. Mark Warburton, having recently made the switch to from the Bees to Nottingham Forrest, is reportedly keen to reunite with Bidwell. A player who was part of Warburton’s Brentford side who reached the play-off semi-finals in 2015, although falling short to Middlesbrough.

 

Conor Washington:

The R’s number 9 was brought in last summer for £2.5 million as a replacement for Charlie Austin. The 25-year-old scored nine goals in 45 appearances for the R’s last season. Although it has been reported that Conor is a target of new Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp, who is looking to inject some pace into the Blue’s front line.

 

Yeni N’Gbakoto:

The Democratic Republic of Congo international signed a 3 year deal from Metz last summer. This season he made 26 appearances, scoring 4 goals, notably our goal of the season in the 4-1 win away to Birmingham. After a bright start the 25 year old had to deal with a family bereavement, a long term injury and a lack of playing time. Subsequently, Yeni is rumoured to be unsettled in the capital.

Last summer Yeni choose Rangers over Toulouse and a number of other top flight clubs in France. Although it is thought that Toulouse are interested in giving the wide man a return to France this summer. A move that Yeni’s agent this week has refused to rule out.

 

Benjamin Kololli:

Kololli is 25-years-old and a Kosovan international defender. He currently plays in Switzerland’s top flight for FC Lausanne. This season he scored 8 goals and is apparently comfortable anywhere on the right hand flank. Whilst it is thought that this signing would cost the R’s under a million, we would face much competition on this one. Benjamin is attracting interest from top flights clubs in Switzerland such as FC Basel, as well as from clubs in the Championship, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

 

Tommie Hoban:

Rangers have been linked with 23 year old Watford defender who made 16 appearances on loan to relegated Blackburn Rovers last season. Hoban spent a long period of his loan out with injury. Whilst Hoban has ambitions to make it at Watford, another loan spell and further experience in the Championship is perhaps ideal as competition is at Watford is rife.

 

Transfer Weekly (#1)

Transfer weekly is a new feature to the blog that will track both the ins and outs of what is set to be another busy transfer window for the club.

Josh Bowler:

18 year old Josh Bowler joined the club in 2013 after being released from Fulham. He signed his first professional contract in February this year. Just a few weeks ago Holloway gave Josh his debut in the 4-0 away defeat to Norwich City on the final day of the season.

An initial bid of £3 million was rejected last week. Whilst it is thought that Rangers are keen to hold onto Josh, it is reported that Everton are preparing a second bid. With parachute payments slowly drying up, it will be interesting to see how the R’s respond.

Shay Given:

It was been reported that Alex Smithies may return to former club Huddersfield Town if they are able to beat Reading in this afternoons play off final at Wembley. QPR are reportedly considering a free transfer for 41 year old Shay Given, recently released by Stoke.

Last season Smithies was phenomenal, we need no reminding that his performances perhaps kept the club in the second tier. His departure would be extremely disappointing if a moves materialised.

Alex Bruce:

After being relegated from the Premier League, the 32 year old shockingly found out that he had been released from Hull’s Twitter account.

Making over 100 appearances for Ipswich and 85 for Hull over a number of years, Bruce could provide the experience that the Rangers defence has been crying out for since Clint Hill departed. In what is a fairly inexperienced and youthful dressingroom, a deal for Bruce on sensible wages would be a wise move.

 

The 2016/17 season in numbers

This season has been another one of transition. Another seasons of ins and outs, both players and managers. This post looks at the season in stats, with credit to whoscored and squawka.

Position- 18th

Points- 53

Total goals scored- 52

Total goals conceded- 66

Goal difference- -14

Average goals per game- 1

Top goal scorer- Idrissa Sylla (10)

Most assists- Luke Freeman (4)

Most cards- James Perch (11 yellows, 1 red)

Average possession- 49%

Total chances created- 384

Players and fans player of the year: Alex Smithies

 

 

Match Preview: Derby County V QPR

After the international break Queens Park Rangers take on Derby County at Pride Park, live on Sky Sports 1 from 7PM.

The R’s head into tonight’s fixture in the best form of the season so far, the last 7 games have seen Rangers win 5, draw 1 and lose 1. We are undefeated in the last four, winning 3 and drawing 1, meaning we are currently one of the inform teams in the Championship.

(Source: Sky Sports)

However, in Derby County’s last 10 league games they have only won once, this downturn in form led to Steve McLaren being sacked for a second time by Derby. They began 2017 in 7th place, just a point off the playoffs. Their 1-0 away win in the reverse fixture at Loftus Road in December saw them complete a run of 7 straight wins. However, they now sit in 10th place, 9 points adrift of top six.

Gary Rowett has come in and talked the talked. He has challenged his squad, coming out in the media and insisting that Derby, 9 points off the playoffs, are still in the race. He has also defended his squad from the critics, insisting that his squad are a ‘united group’.

Therefore, we should expect a different Derby side tonight, one revitalised by the new gaffer, and I am sure the atmosphere will have been given a big lift by Rowett’s appointment. The international break came at a good time for Rowett, the former Birmingham manager’s first came in charge was a 2-2 draw away to rivals Nottingham Forest, giving him 2 weeks to work with most of his squad in the built up to tonight’s game.

Given QPR’s biggest win last time out, 5-1 against Rotherham, the international break very much came at the wrong time. However, Holloway gave the players 4 days off after the win and he has come out and said the squad are rested but raring to go. Given our recent form Holloway yesterday said in his presser that he has challenged the squad to see if they can win all of the last 8 games of the season!

Tonight’s game kicks off a tough week for the R’s, after tonight we travel to the inform team in the the Championship being Aston Villa, over recent years games at Villa Park have always been tough and full of goals. We then take on promotion hopefuls Brighton next Friday. The use of the squad will obviously be important and to be fair to Holloway the squad does look strong and has good depth now so it shouldn’t be a problem for players to come in and out of the starting XI.

A win tonight could see us go level on points with Derby who currently have 53 to their name. In what is a tough week to come let’s hope we can start positively and only climb the table from here on out. Below is the team I would start with

Come on you R’s!

Queens Park Rangers 3-5-2 football formation

Preview: QPR V Rotherham

This weekend sees the R’s return to Loftus Road.

The visitors Rotherham are all but relegated, sitting rock bottom and 22 points from safety. Since the new year the Millers have only picked up 4 points, a 2-1 home win against Norwich in January and  a 1-1 home draw against Blackburn in February. They have the worst away form in the league, having only picked up 1 point on their travels all season.

Rangers on the other hand are the most inform team in the league. In recent weeks Loftus Road has slowly been becoming the fortress we know it can be, with wins against Wigan, Cardiff and Barnsley. The R’s will also be high on confidence after Saturdays goalless draw against promotion chasing Leeds at Elland Road, a game in which we had the better chances to take all 3 points.

Holloway has said in his pre match thoughts that we have to earn the right to win against Rotherham, in this league there are no easy games. The prime example being the reverse fixture where Isaiah Brown’s goal gave Rotherham a 1-0 win over us in December. Although, with that being said, the match winner Brown is no longer with Rotherham and Rangers look a lot stronger and have made solid progress since December’s fixture at the New York Stadium.

At Loftus Road the R’s have only kept two clean sheets in the league all season. Our last clean sheet in the league came 5 months ago on the 18th of October 2016, a midweek fixture against Bristol City where Sylla’s goal was enough to secure the R’s all 3 points.

This is a record that needs to be improved, Saturday’s fixture provides a good opportunity to keep a clean sheet against a team completely lacking confidence, losing all of their last 6, conceding 17 goals in the process, they are also yet to score a goal in March after fixtures with Villa, Brighton and Wolves.

Considering our recent uplift in form and Rotherham currently struggling to not only score but pick up any points I  hope we can record a much needed clean sheet at Loftus Road and with the team very high on confidence hopefully score a couple of goals as well

My team for this match would be as follows:

 

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Come on you R’s!

QPR’s academy at last showing signs of life

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(Image credit to Associated Press, AP)

Richard Langley made his full debut at Rangers 19 years ago, since then the academy production line has froze, a problem that is widespread across academies all over England, especially in the top flight.

Raheem Sterling was very much the one that got away whilst Ray Jones and Kiyan Prince were unfortunate tragedies.

However, QPR’s academy has recently been showing promising signs of life. When Tony Fernandes took over in W12 in 2011 he said: I want the fans to be proud of what we’re doing…I am keen to create a good academy, so that there’s a constant supply of players.

All good things take time, whilst mistakes have been made along the way, concentration and investment throughout Tony’s 6 years as chairman are finally showing signs of life. I think we have finally turned a corner, at present two youth players in Manning and Furlong have established themselves as first time regulars, with Manning being one of the first names on the team sheet.

Let’s take a look at some of QPRs most exciting prospects:

Ryan Manning:

In January 2015, then manager Harry Redknapp bought in Irish teenager Ryan from Galway United for a reported £60,000.

Holloway gave him his full debut in December, a 1-2 away win to Wolverhampton Wonderers, a debut that Holloway said was the “best he had ever seen”.

Since then memorable moments include Ryan’s fantastic assist for Mackie in the 0-1 away win to Reading and his first goal in the 1-1 West London derby against Fulham.

Ryan has looked comfortable from his first game and I’d say at the moment he is one of the most consistent performers, definitely one of the first names on the team sheet and is quickly growing into a fans favourite.

His mature performances recently earned him a new contract, keeping him at Loftus Road until the summer of 2019.

Darnell Furlong:

Darnell joined Rangers academy at the age of 10. Fast forward 9 years and 19 year old teenager Darnell made his breakthrough, notably playing in the games against Hull City away from home and Arsenal at Loftus Road, finishing the season as winner of the EDS young player of the year award, an award voted on by R’s fans.

Now 21, Darnell has benefitted from loan spells at Northampton Town, Cambridge United and Swindon Town. Holloway made it clear early on that he was keen to recall both Furlong and Michael Doughty from their loan spells.

His return to the club saw him thrown straight into the starting XI in the 1 nil win away to promotion hopefuls Reading, his first league appearance for the R’s after almost 2 years away. What impressed a lot of Rs fans was how quickly he slotted in and immediately forged a good partnership with his wide man on the night Pawel Wszolek.

His energy and pace on the right flank has impressed the R’s faithful, also the loan spells have improved the defensive side to his game. After his return, a number of impressive performances, has seen Darnell rewarded with a new contract also keeping him at the club until the summer of 2019.

Mide Shodipo:

19 year old Mide joined QPR’s academy at the age of 15, impressing in his professional debut against Leeds United, this season’s opening fixture at Loftus Road. He went on to make a further 13 appearances before moving to League one outfit Port Vale on loan.

Rangers fans have always loved an exciting winger with pace, trickery and the ability to beat his fullback, and Mide certainly ticks all those boxes.

Offensively Mide is very talented, however it is the defensive and tactical side of his game that Holloway wants to fine tune: “He’s brilliant going forward, but needs to work on the defensive side of his game. He’d probably do better with a little bit of a loan spell.”

Hopefully Mide will do well and gain good experience  in what is a difficult league and then return to QPR in the summer. With a solid pre season under his belt I believe Mide could establish himself as a first team regular at Loftus Road next season, something I am sure the fans would love considering he is one of our own.

After his breakthrough and string of impressive performances Mide also was rewarded with a new contract, keeping him at Rangers until the summer of 2019.

Osman Kakay:

Nicknamed ‘Ozzy’, Kakay has been at QPR since the age of just 8 years old.

The 19 year old made his debut in the EFL cup, on the night he looked bright and energetic, impressing at RB against Rochdale. Notably he played 90 minutes against Premier League opposition in Sunderland in the third round of the EFL cup and I felt he more than held his own, and definitely did not look out of place.

Osman primarily plays as a RB but can also operate in midfield. Darnell currently has a 3 year advantage on Osman and currently has the shirt as the clubs first choice right back.

Consequently, Osman recently went out on loan to League one Chesterfield to gain some experience of playing so called ‘mens football’ as oppose to the more comfortable u23 reserve level.

Hopefully Ozzy can benefit from a loan spell or two in a similar way that Darnell has and come back and fight for his place in the first team.

Reason for optimism:

Whilst the players listed above are currently the ones that have been in and around the first team, I think it shows how far QPR have come when there are also many other players who I could have included that are exciting prospects.

For instance, in this article we have not even spoke about the likes of Michael Doughty, Joe Lumley, Michael Petrasso, Reece Grego Cox, Niko Hamalainen, Axel Prohouly, Ebere Eze, Brandon Comley, Gianni Crichlow and so on.

It has been well documented that Fernandes has made some mistakes and spent a lot of money doing so. He is often the target of at times very harsh abuse on social media.

In 2011 Fernandes wanted to create a supply line and a path for academy players to break into the first team. He also wanted to build something that the R’s fans could be proud of. In more recent times the club has become something that fans are recognising again and can say they are proud to support QPR. I certainly feel a sense of pride when I see passionate blue blooded youngsters fighting for the badge.

The academy has also shown that it can produce first team players elsewhere. The likes of Josh Laurent, Max Ehmer, Michael Harriman have moved on in search of first team football. The recent selling of Cole Kpekawa for £500,000 shows signs of progress. In years gone by a lot of youngsters have been released or sent back early from loans. The academy seems to have grown, not just in providing players for our squad but also producing players who can go on and carve out a decent career for themselves.

Despite all the criticism that Tony gets I think he is now starting to deliver on the academy front. Progress was slow and very much done in the background, however I feel we are now starting to see the results of the commitment and investment put in, so credit to the co chairmen and the likes of Steve Gallen, Perry Suckling, Chris Ramsey, Paul Hall, Paul Furlong and Andy Impey, to name a few.

Come on you R’s!

 

5 ways Holloway has revolutionized new look Rs

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Ian Holloway has now been in charge of 18 games back at Rangers. Whilst he has not been in charge for very long, his current win percentage is 37.5%, which is currently better than that achieved by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank, Chris Ramsey and Harry Redknapp. This article looks at five ways in which Holloway has made an impact in his opening three and a half months.

1- Confidence in the youth

To the delight of R’s fans Holloway has shown faith in the youth. The likes of Manning, Furlong, Shodipo, Kakay and Eze have all featured and more than held their own. Like Furlong had to, Shodipo and Kakay have recently gone on loan to gain experience in the English Football League.

However, Ian has unearthed a gem in Ryan Manning. His debut came in the 1-2 away win at Wolverhampton in December and Ryan has not looked back since, consistently putting in fantastic performances.

Ian also recalled Furlong from Swindon, throwing him straight into the away fixture at Reading in a 1 nil win for the R’s last month. Furlong has since been in the team regularly and has played well. Darnell’s pace and energy down the R’s right hand side has been impressive. However, even more impressive was how he instantly clicked with Pawel, and I think the two have built a strong relationship on the flank, so plaudits to Ian for having that trust that youth players can deliver for us in the league.

It has been well documented that before the likes of Manning and Furlong broke through, it has been a very long time since Rangers have had good young talent. Raheem Sterling was very much the one that got away, although, our desire to bring through talented youngsters may potentially serve us well.

This avenue to progress to the first team can only help the academy to attract better players. Players who would perhaps go to the likes of Chelsea or Tottenham may consider Rangers as the club that can realistically offer them a path to first team football.

Lastly, the future looks bright. Shodipo and Kakay have looked impressive and will only return from their loan spells as better players. Ebere Eze is a striker that came from Millwall who is very well regarded by Holloway and is a player who has been training with the first team. He showed some glimpses of quality in the FA Cup before he unfortunately got injured.

If the players are good enough then Holloway, as seen with Manning and Furlong, will not hesitate to give them a chance. With a number of talented youngsters at the club, the future looks promising and hopefully we can become a club that produces a lot of good players rather than having to buy them.

2- The passion is back

Along with Bircham, Holloway has brought an infectious passion back to Loftus Road. The team are fighting for the badge and I think the management have done a good job in getting the players to believe in themselves.

Away to Newcastle was an example of how far I think we have come, when Shelvey scored in the first sixty seconds their fans were probably thinking they could hit us for 6 again. However, the players stuck to the game plan and fought their way back into the game. We dominated the first half and much of the second, and our players did not go hiding, a sign of a confident outfit.

Recent wins against Birmingham and Wigan have propelled us away from the  relegation trapdoor and displayed how QPR look a new side. Even when we have lost games we have been creating chances, a lot of the recent narrow losses have been unlucky. The level of performance has been good and the desire the players show has also been refreshing to see.

A result at Birmingham I feel was one that was coming. With all three strikers scoring as well it shows that they are not afraid to get into scoring positions, at times when strikers are low on confidence do not like doing. However, I feel that Holloway has got our strikers confident that every time they cross the white line that they are going to score.

3- High press

When Hasselbank came in he promised a high tempo pressing game. In pre-season, after the Watford game at home for instance, the pressing game worked very well and many, including myself were optimistic.

However, through the season Hasselbank arguably became more negative, often opting for two defensive midfielders and one up front when at home, we even at times played quite deep and this pressing game that was apparently his style fettered out.

However, Ian has brought in this exciting style of play. Against the likes of Fulham at home and Reading away, we have shown how we can win the ball high up the pitch, especially against teams who like to keep possession and work in around the back line and through the middle of the park.

Lastly, the squad now looks extremely fit. Against Wigan yesterday we were unchanged, it is a refreshing and welcome change that we now have a side capable of playing two games in the space of 4 days.

4- Flexibility and two up front!

Holloway has made us more flexible, for instance, we can successfully play a 5-3-2, but also as we saw yesterday a 4-4-2, at times even a 4-3-3. Holloway has implemented a style and system that suits us. The 5-3-2 is a system we have been extensively using and I feel it is one that suits us.

Firstly, defensively we are not the best, so playing a system that allows us to play 3 centre backs makes us more solid and compact. But the system also allows us to play two upfront which is very important. Washington is a useful player who is full of energy, but he was brought in as the number 9 to replace Austin. So he needed to be scoring goals, which he was not.

However, the signing of Smith from Fulham has been crucial for Washington in turning his form around, the two have also quickly develop a good partnership, one that reminds me of the one that Austin and Zamora used to have.

When Conor has played with another striker alongside him he has looked dangerous, and certainly in the last 6 games he has scored 4 goals, which should have been 5 after his goal at the Ewood was wrongly disallowed. Having a target man is so important and the signing of Smith is proving to be a master stroke for getting the best out of Conor.

5- Impressive business

Along with Les and Lee, in my opinion Ian was very successful in the January transfer window. Ian brought in a lot of younger players and it has freshened up the squad and created a good blend of experience and youth. He also spent little and big contracts are definitely a thing of the past anyone, a much more sustainable way of doing things and exactly what a club like ours should be doing.

We were able to get around 6-7 million pounds for Polter and Chery and bring in a number of good young players and still make a profit. The signing of LuaLua, Freeman, Goss and Ravel will give us a boost in creativity and were all very sustainable deals. Although I touched on it in the previous point, the signing of Smith has been very impressive. Many fans on social media doubted this one, however, he has struck up a good partnership with Conor and they are both in rich goal scoring form at the moment, so long may that continue.

With a full pre-season and transfer window, who knows what Holloway might be able to achieve next season. As R’s fans we have become accustomed to every transfer window being almost a rebuilding process. However, the squad next season is largely going to be the players that are currently playing, and perhaps a few new faces and some youngsters returning from loans.

I have been impressed with what Holloway has done so far and I am feeling optimistic that we have finally found the right man. After two great results lets go to Preston and hopefully make it 3 wins out of 3!

Come on you R’s!

 

 

 

Memorable goals scored at Loftus Road

I am now 19 years old and have been a season ticket holder for seven years, during this time I fell in love with QPR and Loftus Road became my second home. Throughout this time I have witnessed a lot of highs and lows, but also some very memorable goals. In this article I will be sharing some of my favourite goals that I have seen scored at Loftus Road.

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Charlie Austin’s brace VS Wigan (2014)

Austin’s double in the playoff semi final second leg saw Rangers reverse a 1-0 deficit, winning in extra-time to ultimately reach the play off finals at Wembley. The atmosphere, scenes at full time and feeling of pure elation will live long in the memory. This result was very important in reinforcing the whole ‘find a way’ campaign that the fans and players alike adopted as our mantra. I believe the style of this win gave us the confidence to go and clinch promotion to the promise land, albeit doing it in typical QPR style, in the most difficult way possible. What I enjoyed most about that season is there was a real feeling of togetherness throughout the season and the playoff period.

 

Djibril Cisse’s winner vs Stoke (2013)

Cisse’s 89th minute winner blew the roof off LR, the celebrations were something to behold. It was ultimately those huge three points that kept us up after we failed to get anything on that incredible final day away to Manchester City. A win for City meant the title was theirs, therefore, we had to get something from the home fixture against Stoke to alleviate some of the pressure. As Bolton only managed to get a draw against Stoke on the final day we managed to survive whilst City won the title with their own unbelievable winner right at the death, courtesy of Sergio Aguero.

 

Loic Remy vs Wigan (2013)

This goal came in a massive relegation six-pointer against Wigan. Remy’s strike was incredible, one of the best finishes I have seen at LR. Remy latched on a through ball from Stephanie Mbia, shooting first time from 20 yards with a side foot perfectly into the top corner. This goal would have been so much sweeter, although it was unfortunately dampened with Maloney’s free kick at the death ensuring Wigan left LR with a point.

 

Jamie Mackie’s winner VS Liverpool (2012)

An incredible game at Loftus Road saw a crazy second half see Rangers reverse a 2-0 deficit against Liverpool, with Mackie finishing expertly in the last minute to complete one of the most remarkable comebacks I’ve seen at Loftus Road. At 2-0 we looked dead and buried, but the fight back was something quite incredible, even Shaun Derry got on the scoresheet! The atmosphere that night was immense, night games at LR when the atmosphere is electric really is special. As the 12th man it felt like we sucked the ball into the net for the winner, and not for the first time either.

 

Adel Taarabt vs Preston (2010)

When Adel was in the mood he really was a joy to watch and at times unplayable. Adel was the first number 10 I fell in love with watching as a youngster. Against Preston it was very much a goal of individual quality, taking the ball down on the halfway line from Cerny’s goal kick, Adel dribbled past 3 or 4 Preston players, even nutmegging one in the process to then curl the ball into the top corner from 25 yards, cracking individual goal that rounded off a 4-0 home win.