Season Preview - Ben Kosky
Kilburn Times journalist Ben Kosky shares his views about the forthcoming season to Vital QPR, indicating the he was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Jim Magilton.
How do you rate Rangers performance last season?
I think the players deserve a lot of credit for finishing in the top half of the table given the circumstances. If it wasn`t bad enough to lose key attacking players such as Akos Buzsaky, Martin Rowlands and Rowan Vine for long periods, the owners did their best to wreck morale with the incessant interference, changes of coach and ridiculous signings that did nothing to improve the squad. It`s hard to regard it as anything other than a year wasted and in terms of entertainment, I can`t actually recall a season that included fewer memorable games.
What was your stand out moment?
The Carling Cup win at Aston Villa was the highlight for me, partly because of the support and the superb team effort, also because Rangers hadn`t beaten a Premier League club since they were one themselves. Old Trafford was an exciting occasion but a dreadful game and very disappointing that Rangers appeared to make no attempt to win. I was also pleased to see Rowan Vine score against Sheffield Wednesday after a year out - by all accounts, his attitude while injured was as exemplary as it is on the field.
How do you feel about the appointment of Jim Magilton?
To be honest, I could only imagine a mercenary or a no-hoper being interested in what had become virtually an impossible job thanks to Flavio Briatore, so I was pleasantly surprised by Magilton`s arrival. Anyone who played for and managed Ipswich for several years will appreciate the importance of two areas that have been woefully lacking at QPR - an attractive passing game and some semblance of a youth policy. I hope Magilton is given the time to implement these, but Briatore`s record suggests he won`t be.
Do you feel Rangers have strengthened adequately?
No. If anything, the squad looks weaker than it did last season. Rangers have sold a good goalkeeper and their top scorer to Nottingham Forest for a pittance, although they did well to get their initial outlay back on the out of form Damien Delaney. Instead of replacing them with better players, they have forked out a lot of money on an unknown midfielder (Alejandro Faurlin), signed an unknown striker with a pretty modest record (Alessandro Pellicori) and brought back Adel Taarabt - a skilful crowd pleaser, but yet again someone who plays in a position that`s already overloaded with competition. It`s still hard to see where the goals will come from and even harder to see how Magilton can fit the players at his disposal into an effective 4-4-2, which is his preferred formation.
Who will be the key player(s) for the R`s this season?
If the team are to maintain their defensive record, they need Matthew Connolly to stay fit because he`s versatile and reads the game so well. Vine and Buzsaky, whose absences were so sorely felt last season, will play major roles at the other end of the field. Another key player may be whichever goalkeeper comes in, because I suspect he may be forced into action when Radek Cerny`s shortcomings are exposed at some stage of the season.
Where do you expect the R`s to finish this season?
Assuming Magilton remains in charge for the whole season - and the team are a bit luckier with injuries - they could make a decent challenge for the play-offs. They might get close but I can see them doing a Cardiff and finishing seventh.
Championship - Who will be…
Champions: If they can keep their squad together, West Brom. Even without Steve Coppell, I think Reading will be in the frame as well.
Overachievers: I can see Nottingham Forest making the top six this season, with Lee Camp and Dexter Blackstock both playing key roles.
Underachievers: Swansea will find it harder this time around, having lost not only their manager to Wigan but Jason Scotland as well.
Young Player to Watch: Angelo Balanta, hopefully! Away from Loftus Road, I`d keep an eye on Reading defender Alex Pearce and George Boyd of Peterborough.
Top Goalscorer: Simon Cox of West Brom - unproven at this level but the players they have should create a hatful of chances for him.
Ben covers Queens Park Ranges for the Kilburn Times and their website can be located by Clicking Here >>>
Many thanks to Ben for taking the time to contribute
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