QPR’s troubles threaten play-off hopes

QPR FanZoner Chris King feels the Rs are heading into the play-offs in shocking form and says the fans are starting to turn on Harry Redknapp.

It's all Rover | Tommy Spurr celebrates putting Blackburn Rovers 2-0 up against Queens Park Rangers. (Image | BBC)
Game Rover | Tommy Spurr celebrates putting Blackburn Rovers 2-0 up against Queens Park Rangers. (Image | BBC)

Queens Park Rangers succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday, wrapping a neat bow around the promotion gifted to Burnley on Saturday.

The dismal defeat, hot on the heels of an equally poor 2-1 loss to in-form Bournemouth, saw Harry Redknapp’s side slump to fourth in the Championship table.

With automatic promotion long having slipped away, the Rs, who are just nine points ahead of seventh-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, could even miss out on the playoffs.

It is particularly telling that, with a similarly large budget and an equally gigantic squad, Leicester City have romped to the title, scoring 77 goals in the process.

Although yet to be crowned champions, the Foxes’ success shows the extent to which QPR have underperformed, even taking into account a cruel spate of injuries.

Sympathy for Redknapp, who, according to reports, remained glued to the bench as Blackburn cruised to victory, is minimal and appears to be waning.

His claim that, given the diabolical state the club was in after relegation from the Premier League, occupying a top six place constitutes success, is not universally felt.

Improvements have unquestionably been made, most notably the additions of Charlie Austin, Danny Simpson and Matt Phillips, but the squad remains a disjointed mess.

Bringing Luke Young, who had not played for the Rs for nearly two years, back into the fold, when most fans probably thought he had left long ago, is indicative of this.

Amid the vitriol and disappointment on Twitter after the match, the most important voice of all was missing from the cacophony: that of QPR owner Tony Fernandes.

Clearly, there would be absolutely nothing to be gained from sacking Redknapp before the season is out, and he could still lead Rangers back into the top flight.

However, on current form the hard-fought, gutsy, 1-0 win against the Latics a fortnight ago looks far beyond the Superhoops, who have netted just 49 times in 41 games.

The return of Charlie Austin, whose goals lent the Rs’ performances and results in the first half of the season a perhaps undeserved gloss, should help, given the dearth of other options.

Even if the former Burnley striker, so often a match-winner before his devastating injury, does not make an immediate impact, a talisman is worth his weight in gold.

It is almost shocking that QPR could still be promoted, in the same way it is laughable that, despite astronomical spending, the Rs could not get anywhere near the top two.

Returning to form will not be easy, with the visit of Nottingham Forest, who Rangers have not beaten at home in two attempts, followed by a tricky trip to Leicester.

Going into the playoffs out of form is rather like trying to run a marathon without training: fine for the first half, but when the going gets tough, the cracks start to show.

Not only this, but there are surely no runners getting ready to cover 26.2 miles in London this weekend whose future financial well-being depends on them finishing the race.

Under Redknapp, with a different but equally ineffective cast of drifters, pointless loanees, and overpaid has-beens, QPR will be lucky to get to the start line at all.

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking

Originally published on TEAMtalk on Thursday April 10 2014.

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