Q&A With Queens Park Rangers

  • October 20, 2017 | By Gabe John
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/c44d0

Bolton fans should think twice before putting too much emphasis on the performances of Karl Henry, despite a steady start to life at Macron Stadium.

Those are the views of Queens Park Rangers supporter Clive Whittingham, an editor at Loft For Words (@LoftforWords), who spoke to us ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between the sides.

In the following Q&A interview, Clive shares his views on Henry's time at Loftus Road, why there is a degree of caution following years of misspending, as well as the lack of quality on display at Championship level.

Q: QPR's campaign has been inconsistent so far. Draws have become somewhat of a regular theme, with only four points separating you from the bottom three. What does Ian Holloway have to do to assure you don't get dragged into an unnecessary relegation battle?

A: Many expected a relegation battle before the season began given how last season ended - seven defeats from the final eight matches - and a relative lack of transfer activity over the summer.

We started well in August, when our fixtures looked very tough, but haven't done so well through September, when they looked a bit easier.

We've had a lot of injuries in the middle of the defence - Grant Hall (knee), Nedum Onuoha (hamstring), Joel Lynch (hamstring), Jack Robinson (various), Steven Caulker (drunkard) and James Perch (knee) have all been out medium-term, and many are still absent. So we don't keep clean sheets.

At the other end, our strikers aren't really good enough and the over-heated transfer market for strikers means we can't really do anything about it. We need two goals to win most weeks because of the defence, but we don't have the strikers to get them.

We're starting to see games like Barnsley away and Sunderland away where we're much the better team but end up drawing or losing.

Q: QPR have one of the biggest budgets in the league, being one of the teams who have only just recently dropped down from the Premier League. How difficult have you found it in trying to get the club back into the top-flight?

A: No we don't, absolutely not, not any more. That period of 'big spending QPR' is well and truly, and thankfully, over.

Sadly, the amount squandered by Mark Hughes, Harry Redknapp and Tony Fernandes has left quite the legacy and we're in the middle of a long drawn out process to get out of it.

The club is trying to hack into the wage bill and get rid of all the big earners, bring down the average age of the squad, reduce the losses in line with Financial Fair Play and get back to scouting for signings, signing players from lower divisions, be a bit more canny in the transfer market rather than just signing washed up big names from favoured agents of bent managers.

That all takes time. We've made mistakes along the way, we're still carrying the biggest squad in the league (though the wage bill is greatly reduced), and in the meantime all we can really hope to do is stand still in this league. Staying mid-table whilst halving the wage bill and then halving it again would be progress.

Q: Karl Henry is a familiar face to QPR supporters. He recently joined Bolton on a free transfer and has already made a positive contribution in his first three games. How important will he be in trying to keep Wanderers from going down?

A: Well if you're relying on him then you really are in trouble.

He's an experienced player and can play holding midfield to a reasonable standard - most QPR fans wouldn't even be that kind.

He did a steady job for us in his early days, despite his many critics, but extending his contract for another year covering last season was a mistake and he looked well past the level required to play in the Championship.

Q: Looking forward to Saturday, who would you pick out as QPR's biggest threat to Bolton and, vice versa, who would you pick out as Wanderers' key man?

A: I got asked this question by a Sunderland site last week and honest to God I'm not being a stupid, but nobody. That's not me saying we'll win, we very rarely do away from home, or that we're any good, because we're not really, but this is a dog of a league. The vast majority of the teams in it are all much of a muchness and these two certainly are.

There's some stand out talent dotted about - I've enjoyed watching Sheffield United so far this season and Wolves have obviously bought some quality, but almost every game you see at this level bumbles along for 90 haphazard minutes of mediocre, attritional, basic football resulting in a score that could easily have been the two other outcomes on another day.

Outstanding players that you genuinely worry about are few and far between across the whole division, and I don't expect many of them to be on show in this fixture.

Our midfield three of Luke Freeman, Josh Scowen and Massimo Luongo is quite nice to watch. Idrissa Sylla has a comedic quality about his striker play. That's about it.

Q: Finally, how do you see Saturday's game panning out?

A: If you hadn't won last week I'd have been lumping everything I have on a Bolton win as QPR have a long and inglorious history of gifting teams in a dire situation their first win of the season. But you did, so I'll upgrade to another draw. 1-1.

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
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20 Tranmere Rovers 18 17
21 Milton Keynes Dons 19 14
22 Southend United 20 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 16 2
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