Ian Holloway’s QPR showed tremendous character last Saturday, as his team fought back from 2 goals down to save a point at Fulham’s Craven Cottage. The London Derby was a chance for Fulham to close the gap to Cardiff in 2nd place.
At the beginning of the month I wrote how it would be a tough one for QPR with fixtures against 3 of the Championship’s top 6. But with wins against Villa and Sunderland, and draws against Derby and Fulham, this has arguably been our best spell of the season so far.
Saturdays point means Rangers are now 14 points clear of the drop and 15 shy of the play-offs. I say that with a pinch of sarcasm, the play-offs may well be out of reach with 8 games left of the season but that does not mean a top half finish is too.
Between us and that mid-table spot are Leeds, Ipswich and Norwich. The first two are teams in something of a crisis – Mick McCarthy has come under some slightly harsh criticism of late, whilst Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom has got off to a slow start in his new role at Elland Road. All three teams are to play QPR before the close of the season.
So with QPR being one of the leagues current ‘form teams’, it brings light to the once dark story of this season. The season started abysmally and was so until recent, but it seems that Holloway has found a way of playing which suits himself and his current squad.
He hasn’t had a lot to work with since his reappointment, and has come under much scrutiny this season, from myself in particular. But the common theme that keeps arising from Loftus Road is the emphasis of the new wealth of youth that we have.
In games of late we have seen youngsters like Eberchi Eze and Ryan Manning either being introduced or starting, and making a huge impact on the team. Eze grabbed his first goal in the 1-0 win over Sunderland earlier this month, whilst Ryan Manning opened the scoring against Villa last week.
It seems the key the current success here is something that I thought we did not have – depth. All season I have been loathing over our transfer window inactivity but it appeared that such activity wasn’t necessary, as we already had capable players in our own ranks.
This calendar year, Holloway’s QPR have begun to see out games. Our previous record of taking the lead in games and throwing away a couple points in the closing minutes was laughable. But our good form of late is down to the fact that we can see out games, we have the option to bring capable players off the bench in games that make the difference.
With every game, I look forward to the next season. As always with QPR, anything could happen… But as always with QPR, anything could happen.