Season Preview - Liam Osborne
Liam Osborne of QPR MAD shares his views about the coming season to Vital QPR.
How do you rate Rangers performance last season?
Where do I start? The most frustrating aspect of last season from my point of view was the constant bouts of false hope that I felt throughout campaign. Excellent wins against the likes of Birmingham, Wolves and Preston that I`d hoped would kick-start our season would inevitably be followed by poor performances against average opposition. In fairness, our mediocre form throughout the season can be excused due to the shambolic goings on behind the scenes, the distinct lack of cohesion between the board and playing side. You also cannot forget the absence of various key players throughout the season. On the plus side we were very, very good defensively for large parts of the campaign; however a laughable goals-for tally coupled with a seemingly constant knack for losing away games proved to be the main stumbling blocks last term.
What was your stand out moment?
Tricky one as there are not many, but I suppose the stand-out moment for me would be travelling up to Man United to see the boys play under the floodlights at the theatre of dreams. Being apart of the glorious support we had in the upper tier that night was something I will always remember, not to mention shaking Kevin Gallen`s hand at the hot dog counter during half time.
Although the result was disappointing, nothing can take away from the brave effort of the players, or the way the travelling rangers` faithful dominated United`s so called 'supporters`.
How do you feel about the appointment of Jim Magilton?
I am surprised that we managed to get a manager in at all after the shambles of last season, however we have, and in all honesty I`m very happy with the appointment of Jim Magilton. Although it`s early days, I like what I have seen of the Scotsman so far. I am a firm believer in the way he tries to play the game, and I am very impressed with the way he and John Gorman seem to already have gained the utmost respect of the players. The fact that we now have a more traditional English managerial set-up is by far the best way to go, and I feel the players will really go that extra yard in order to be successful for Magilton and Gorman. At long last I feel we now have the stable foundations needed in order to seriously compete in this division.
Do you feel Rangers have strengthened adequately?
Yes and no. I really do feel that with everyone fit we have a team that can definitely be successful in this league. The absence of Buzsaky, Vine, Rowlands and Agyemang for large parts of last season definitely took its toll on the rest of the team. The creative threat that these players bring in the attacking third was sorely missed, and their involvement this time around really will seem like having new signings. With regards to the new recruits we have brought in, I`m not yet convinced by Faurlin and Pellicori purely due to the fact that we have seen similar signings come and go without so much as a whisper in the last 12 months. Taarabt is a quality signing. His ball retention and ability to beat a man is a real joy to watch at times. Yes he can be frustrating, but there is no doubt in my mind that the young Moroccan will play an important role for Jim Magilton this term. I am still very concerned that we haven`t brought in a genuine goalscorer to replace Dexter Blackstock, however only time will tell as to whether this will be a problem or not.
Who will be the key player(s) for the R`s this season.
I feel that Adel Taarabt will have an excellent season. We saw glimpses of what he is capable last year and there is no doubt that he will reek havoc among defences this season. A quality player, and one who I`m sure will flourish playing aside the likes of Rowlands, Vine and Buzsaky.
Where do you expect the R`s to finish this season?
Like last season, I am optimistic as ever going into the new campaign. I believe the board have learnt from a lot of the mistakes made last year, and now feel we have a better foundation to push on in this campaign. I am happy with the appointment of both Jim Magilton and John Gorman, and I`m sure the players will perform well for them. I am going out on a limb here, but I will put rangers down for a 5th place finish. You heard it hear first folks.
Championship - Who will be…
Champions: I don`t think you can look too far past West Brom. They have a very strong squad, and have made a shrewd move by signing goal-machine Simon Cox. Don`t think the departure of Tony Mowbray will have a negative effect on the team.
Overachievers: Nottingham Forest. Looked good towards the end of last season, and have a very good manager in Billy Davies. It`s a fresh start for the scot, and a host of good signings this year (not to mention Lee Camp & Dexter Blackstock) makes me feel like Forest will be much improved on last season and pushing for a play-off spot.
Underachievers: Newcastle United. Although at the moment there is probably little expectation from the Geordie faithful, they are still a massive club. The club remains in dire straights with no new manager forthcoming. A squad filled with players who feel they are punching below their weight smacks of a season filled with disappointment. Teams will inevitably raise there game against the magpies as well.
Young Player to watch: Angelo Balanta. Seems to have impressed new manager Jim Magiltion so far in pre-season, and I am a big fan of the talented youngster. He is good on the deck and an exciting player to watch when he glides forward. Will continue to get better as the season progresses.
Top Goalscorer: Dexter Blackstock. I`m half saying this as a joke but something tells me it may not be so far fetched. Hope he does well at his new club.
You can find Liam by visiting QPR MAD
Many thanks to Liam for taking the time to contribute
Mike - QPR Report
Clive Whittingham - Loft For Words
Scott Jones - We are the Rangers Boys
Bill Power - Former Chairman
Longegunmen - QPR Fanz
Ben Kosky - Kilburn Times
Dave Barton - queensparkrangersfc.com
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