Forward Thinking

With the 2015/16 football season edging ever nearer Queens Park Rangers find themselves short in key areas just days before the season starts. It has to be questioned just what the club was thinking when we decided to loan out Steven Caulker to Southampton. A deal that makes little sense because it’s left us even shorter of options in defence. On the other hand it may be argued that it cuts the wage bill and the club does receive a small fee for it (£1.5m). Having signed James Perch on Sunday morning this signalled a real intent from the QPR board that they wanted to strengthen at the back, with the former Wigan man being ideal as he can play at right back and centre back as well as being able to sit infront of the back four. I have little doubt that James Perch will be a fantastic player for our football club and will help to bring some stability. However we’re still short in several positions. The signing of Paul Konchesky drew mixed feelings among QPR fans, a vastly experienced left back (also John Terry’s best man). I think that Konchesky is a decent signing for a club like us, although short of pace now at the age of 34 he still has the bite that we require. This morning the R’s signed Grant Hall from Spurs. The 23 year old impressed me during Sundays friendly to Serie A side Atalanta and looks confident in playing from the back. However there is still work to be done so I have identified a list of options that I think would be suitable for the club and would work around our shoe string budget.

Goalkeeper- Dan Bentley:

2015/08/img_7682.jpg Having lost one young prospect in Alex McCarthy to Crystal Palace for a measly £3.5m, Bentley would be an ideal replacement. QPR have already had a couple of bids knocked back from Southend but remain keen to get their man. QPR will have to pay in the region of £2m if they want Bentley’s signature.

Right Back- Danny Simpson:

2015/08/img_7680.jpg One that I’m certain QPR fans wouldn’t mind seeing back in a hooped shirt. Simmo made 34 appearances for the club in our play off winning campaign before being sold to Leicester the following season for a fee in the region of £2m. Simpson now finds himself out of favour at Leicester and could be on the move.

Centre Back- Tim Ream:

2015/08/img_7681.jpg Rangers had a £1m bid knocked back for the versatile American on Tuesday. Ream can play anywhere across the back four and is vastly experienced having made 112 appearances for Bolton, meaning that he knows the Championship well.

Left Winger- Jesse Lingard:

2015/08/img_7683.jpg Not really a position that we need to be strengthening but the 22 year old Manchester United winger is set to leave the club with United willing to accept a bid in the region of £2.5m. Lingard has been on loan at several championship clubs, proving his quality whilst doing so. With bags of pace and bags of ability Rangers should definitely look at signing the England U21 international.

Striker- Dwight Gayle:

2015/08/img_7684.jpg Having signed Connor Wickham, Gayle has fallen down the pecking order at Crystal Palace. Gayle was signed by Palace for a then club record of £4.5m in 2013. Gayle has showed glimpses of quality for Palace, scoring 12 goals in 48 games but has failed to cement a place in their starting line up. At 25 years old Gayle is just the type of striker that QPR are looking for, young and hungry and knows where the goal is. No doubt Gayle is capable of scoring 15-20 goals in the Championship. Gayle would be an ideal replacement for Charlie Austin and QPR’s interest has been reported along with Middlesbrough and Bournemouth’s. However Palace are looking for a fee in the region of £10m. QPR would have to sell to gain the funds to buy Gayle. With the end of the transfer coming around the corner so I hope to see a few more deals completed before the window slams shut. Tony, if you’re reading this you know what to do! Roll on Charlton away, come on you Rs!


Last minute depression, survival aggression and Chris Ramsey progression.

Wrote on Sunday – My thoughts on the club following our harsh 1-0 defeat to the rentboys. For once I had too much to say to fit in a series of tweets. Follow us – @TBATW_ on twitter.

Last minute depression

Consistently conceding late on in games is certainly a trait unwanted in any standard of football. In the Premier League it’s not unwanted, it’s suicidal. Queens Park Rangers have conceded late goals in a staggering 10 games so far this season. How many points has it cost us? I calculate it to be ELEVEN. The late goals conceded mean that we are still scrapping for survival rather than already planning ahead to back-to-back campaigns in the premier league. I’d be in dreamland if a QPR side ‘already had their flip-flops on’ during mid April because that would have meant we had done it the easy way. Unfortunately we’re doing it the hard way (again). Sunday April 12th was another chance to climb to safety. Nothing short of the most important and most anticipated game of the season, Chelsea at home. Unfortunately though yet more last-minute heartbreak as Fabregas, who epitomises the amount of loyalty in football today, wrongfully gave the Chelsea bastards all three points. Rob Green gets the finger pointed at for the goal but then again he’s won us far more points this season than he arguably lost us today. I’m sure our club will be punished for the actions of a few heroes situated in the Q,P,R blocks. To whoever threw that lighter at Ivanovic I ask one question, why couldn’t it have been something heavier? I thought the John Terry chants were brilliant and Sky will be delighted they chose a boring game which the people at home will remember for hearing “Terry you’re a c**t” booming out in their living rooms.

Survival aggression

Our performance was superb. No QPR fan will be going home tonight feeling sick knowing that their teams been out played in the West London derby. I go home tonight knowing that the eleven players who put on the blue and white hoops today gave absolutely everything they could for the badge. They understood how much it meant to the fans and they showed no fear at all. Chelsea were made to look ordinary at best. Arguably the leagues best player, Eden Hazard, was bullied off the ball continuously. Chelsea players found themselves surrounded every time they had the ball within 30 yards of our goal and we managed to keep up the aggression and desire throughout the 90 minutes. Joey Barton managed to put together the most energetic and tenacious performance I’ve seen at Loftus Road by a QPR player in a while. Since returning from his ban following yet another act of stupidity he has encouraged determination amongst the dressing room. To me it appears as though he’s keen to redeem himself and finally understands what significance his stupidity has to us after being at the club for three seasons. Sandro was also excellent today in showing how to tackle in a derby game and it damaged us when he had to be subbed off. Clint Hill unsurprisingly made tackle of the day for his all-out-wipeout on Willian. Cleanly getting the ball whilst being able to clatter the Brazilian with both feet made it a perfect derby day tackle. Charlie Austin became a QPR legend for life for throwing Terry on the floor, in front of the Loft, leaving the scumbag humiliated. The type of aggression shown to fight back at Villa in midweek and the desire to take the game to Chelsea today showed that Queens Park Rangers are a team that many pundits are now questioning their decision to write them off. Obviously Paul Merson will still predict a heavy QPR loss every week after his mate’s departure because he ‘had people inside the club against him’. I will hold my hand up and say that after the game vs Palace I was preparing for the Championship and I assume many QPR fans who also went to Selhurst Park on that Saturday afternoon also just wanted the season to end.

Chris Ramsey progression

Back in October I wrote an article wanting Redknapp out following a poor start to the season (4 points in 7 games). I regret wanting Tony Pulis as his long-term replacement however it was evident that under Redknapp we were quite simply not good enough. In the article it mentioned “we lack everything a team at the bottom needs to get out of safety” and if it wasn’t evident enough in the early games then our away performance vs Burnley confirmed it. Of course the excuses remained. Adel Taarabt was three stone overweight, we had 12 players turn up at the start of pre-season, Harry’s knee is sore, Sandro has been out injured, we finished lowest out of the promoted clubs last season, Harry doesn’t read the papers, Zamora can only do 60 minutes, Fabio Borini wanted £90,000 a week, we lost Loic Remy. Do I need to mention anymore? However under Chris Ramsey how many excuses have you heard as to why things aren’t perfect? Could you imagine how long Redknapp would be moaning about having to play Karl Henry at left midfield vs Chelsea. The man now is charge of Queens Park Rangers Football Club is no longer an overrated manager looking to avoid complete humiliation before he finally retires to his home along the south coast. Instead in charge of my football club is a man with something to prove. Ramsey believes he finally has the opportunity to prove what he’s had the desire to do for years. This leaves us with a manager not sitting around waiting for his list of problems to magically go away. It leaves us with a manager that is proactive, not reactive. When Leroy Fer and Richard Dunne are ruled out for 10 weeks each there is sound of Ramsey crying about it. Instead the reaction is how can it be fixed and that it isn’t the end of the world. Despite no points picked up at home in five games under Ramsey so far I still feel confident of our upcoming games against West Ham and Newcastle. Compare that with the optimism levels following the first five away defeats under Redknapp and it’s quite a contrast. Our side under Ramsey has changed brilliantly. He’s given confidence into a player who looked like he could be leaving in January (Matty Phillips) and now he’s one of the most dangerous players in the league. We now go to teams away from home and aim to score first with the intention of then building on our lead. Our performance vs Villa showed a side that really wanted the retain its Premier League status. What I see in Ramsey is a man doing his best to succeed with what he’s got. Our style of football may not be something to saviour and our depth in many positions is very bare. Whatever the outcome of this season I would give him the job permanently because he’s desperate to achieve and has the hunger we haven’t seen in Redknapp or Hughes. The integration of the youth system into the team is something that will give the club a better future. One thing is clear. Despite the man only having a temporary short-term contract, Chris Ramsey is keen to improve the long-term future of QPR.

Wrong man for the job

Richard Dunne has had a great career at centre half. Playing for big premier league clubs and having hundreds of appearances under his belt. However his role in the recent 352 formation acquired by new boys QPR is a tough test for the 34 year old. In both of the R’s first two games the defender has been exploited and cracks have began to widen in his performances. The system calls for a defender who is able to confidently step out of the back-line with the ball, but also move out to the touchline to face the wingers one-on-one. The 34 year old looks awkward in possession, and he tends to play conservatively to compensate for his lack of pace. As he doesn’t push on, it forces Traore to hold back, and the whole system suffers as a result.

Nedum Onuoha has the pace required to equal his counterparts. He has also shown many times in his QPR career that he is not afraid of going forward with the ball. This will enable QPR to be less negative on the ball and give Armand Traore the chance to be further forward more often. Something that will hopefully lead to QPR moving off their goal tally of zero for this season. Just like Richard Dunne however Nedum is right footed. A problem which leads to the right footed player at left centre back being uncomfortable when playing it down the left side and forcing them to play it inside. As shown on sunday against a typical Mauricio Pochettino team, the high pressure upfield led to Richard Dunne panicking and Spurs capitalising on him being forced to play inside. Erik Lamela forced Dunne onto his left foot and outpaced him every time when cutting inside.

As ‘deadline day’ approaches there is an expectancy from R’s fans for business to be done late on. The type of player QPR require to replace Richard Dunne may not be available. The amount of quick, left footed, confident on the ball, good passing, defenders that are within our price range and wanting to join a club already fighting against relegation is limited. A lot of work needs to be done with whoever Redknapp has planned to partner Rio and Caulker if QPR are going to look better on the ball and leak less goals. The opening two games have shown that although QPR have some players who suit the 352 perfectly, they also have a few who really look out of their comfort zone. The inclusion of Richard Dunne vs Burton on Tuesday night suggests that he will not feature on Saturday. Three games in 6 days is something a man of his age cannot cope with. If QPR are to survive this season the removal of the veteran from the starting XI could be the key to getting into winning ways and chasing down the 40 point target.