Just five games remain of QPR’s season, and with a top ten finish still a possibility despite a poor display against Rotherham, it is time for another look at who is performing well and who needs to up their game. As always let’s start with the positives.
‘R’ Top Performers!
What a brilliant signing Johansen has been. Immediately he showed his class and proved why he was so integral to Fulham’s promotion winning teams, and now a key reason why QPR will be playing in the championship next year. He is way too good for this league but apparently not good enough for the Premier League, something I simply can’t understand. His inventive passing has been a joy to behold, but he brings more than just that to to the team. His game management is great, something I noticed to some annoyance when he played against us, and it is something that we severely lack. As a team we’re just too nice, often very quiet and we don’t do enough of the dirty work that other teams in the division do to wear the opposition down. It’s a shame that we probably won’t see him play for us next year, his wage massively exceeds our current budget so it would take some sort of minor miracle for him to make QPR his permanent home. But that won’t change the fact that it’s been a pleasure to see him play for QPR.
If at any point in the last few months you’ve watched our match preview show R Talk Live (if you haven’t sort that out and tune in) you would have probably seen me and fellow contributor Tom Ward insist that eventually Dykes would start to score again, and that is exactly what is happening. With 5 goals in his last 5 games his goal tally has rapidly shot up to 10, last night’s goal against Rotherham being the pick of the bunch. I feel like on the pitch he’s developed a good partnership with Austin and he looks much more at home with another striker playing along side him, or with two attacking midfielders just behind. In the first half of the season the team were massively underwhelming, going forward it looked like we were stalling with our only hope for goals coming from Ilias Chair. All too often Dykes was left up top by himself with very few chances coming his way. Now in this rejuvenated side he has a lot of support close to him, something I insisted we needed to do. I’m absolutely delighted for him that he’s hitting form right now, just when many had start to write him off he’s proving those people wrong. He has a massive summer ahead with the possibility of leading the line for Scotland in the Euros, more urgently though Dykes has five games to make it very clear to Warburton that he’s the club’s top striker for next year.
As previously mentioned QPR struggled in the first half of the season going forward. Willock didn’t really get much of a chance being behind Bright Osayi-Samuel in the pecking order, however he has shone in the second half of the season. Firstly by changing games from the bench with impressive cameos but more recently as one of the first names on the team sheet, and since finding himself in the starting eleven regularly he has formed a partnership with Chair. I believe that this has relieved
some of the pressure on Chair to create chances and allowed him to flourish too. Willock has made himself the golden boy of QPR Twitter, if we need a goal people insist he comes on. People are looking to him first to push this side on and that proves how much of an impact he has had in the second half of the season. He is the sort of player that fans love to see play for their team, the type that’s gonna get you out of your seat and cheering. Already he’s being touted as a key player for next year, both by the fans and Warburton himself. If he can continue on his current form QPR will hopefully avoid the sluggish football played at the start of this season. I get the feeling that next year if we retain our talent we might have an outside chance of a play off spot, Willock will be integral to any attempt of achieving this.
The Scottish Roberto Carlos has been going through a bit of a Renaissance. Having missed a portion of the season with injury and after a shaky start he’s come on leaps and bounds. Now playing as a left wing back he’s without a doubt the best wing back at the club, and provides plenty of attacking threat but still manages to get back for his defensive duties. To do all this at his age makes everything so much more impressive. I’m constantly amazed at his ability to just about make it to the ball when played though, and then to put in a cross of decent quality. With our weakness in his particular position I wouldn’t be against a one year contract extension, however at the age of 33 and with the injuries he seems to pick up I would understand if he calls it a day. Still a good solid pro who I imagine does all those senior pro things of being good for the dressing room and encouraging youngsters.
Now for those who need to up their game...
Now if Chris Willock is our golden boy then Todd Kane is the whipping boy, he is regularly picked out by fans as the cause of our problems. There are number of possible reasons why our fan base has never really taken to him, top of that list is probably the fact he came from Chelsea and that he’s pally with John Terry. Add to that some questionable comments and a celebration hitting back at his critics and it’s a recipe for disaster. I would say that his performances on the pitch have been pretty average, though in the right wing back position he certainly has plenty of attacking opportunities. This has led to some assists the pick of the bunch for Austin’s goal away to Birmingham. There is obviously still room for improvement both on and off the pitch, I really hope he has learned his lesson about what you absolutely cannot say about a teammate in the public domain. If I was him I would be looking to keep a relatively low profile right now, I certainly wouldn’t be posting cryptic quotes on Instagram. It’s very possible Kane could be leaving the club this summer and that may be best for him, as I said he’s never really gotten on with the fans. I feel like once that relationship between player and fan has turned toxic it rarely gets better, probably best for him to have a fresh start elsewhere.
Unfortunately this year really hasn’t gone to plan for young Niko. He’s had his chances, plenty of them but it’s clear right now that he’s not good enough to play in the first team. I thought earlier in the season he was doing just ok, he maybe struggled in a few games but for a young player who hadn’t played much professional football I thought that he was just ok. Unfortunately since then his performances have really dropped, his positioning in particular costing us a goal against Rotherham. There was no need to be that high up it’s just too easy to chip a ball over him. Now there are going to be quite a few that want him gone permanently I just can’t see that happening. It’s much more likely that he gets a loan move, after all he did sign a four year deal at the start of the season. This was right in the point where we were losing our minds at the prospect of losing Bright for next to nothing, so anything that was young and could kick a ball got chucked a massive contract extension that they probably didn’t deserve. Will this prove to be a stroke of genius? On current evidence no, absolutely not. Maybe it’s my pathological desire to see every QPR player succeed but I still want him to get some games under his belt at a lower level on loan. Hopefully he can the come back a more educated and intelligent defender.
Written By Alex Bullamore