Season Preview: QPR

Last updated : 05 August 2005 By Mark O'Haire

How did you fare last season?
We finished 11th last season which is probably better than most of us expected. Our aim was to stay up and we weren't too far off the playoffs which was a great achievement. We won 7 games on the run after a poor start and challenged near the top until our small squad was hit by form and injuries but on the whole, very good.

How do you expect you'll do this season?
A lot of people are quietly confident that after Ian Holloway's shrewd transfer activity this summer that Rangers can make the playoffs. I'm thinking we can most definitely end up in the top half and with the squad fit and firing, we might just make the top six. 8th-10th looks more likely though.

What have you done on the transfer market this summer? Which of your new signings are you expecting most from?
Ian Evatt was apparently a rock in Chesterfield's defence as well as captaining their side at 23 which isn't bad and Tommy Doherty captained Bristol City. Simon Royce was on loan last season and will be the number 1 keeper. I'm expecting them to start when they're fit. Elsewhere, Stefan Moore (Aston Villa), Marc Nygaard (Danish international forward), Mauro Milanese (Italian defender) and Ugo Ukah (Nigerian defender) are all good looking signings and will be vital when the squad is hit with injuries.

Where do you think you'll need to strengthen in the January transfer window?
Maybe another goalkeeper and another defender (full-back) right or left sided. Hopefully we won't need to do too much.

Have you any promising youngsters breaking into the team?
Young forward Shabazz Baidoo looked lightening quick when he came on towards the end of last season and Sstefan Bailey looked solid in midfield. Both are very young and still need plenty of training before they're up to the standard.

Have you got the right man in charge of the team? Will he still be there at the end of the season?
Ian Holloway will be here for a while, he's done a magnificent job in bringing Rangers back up the league. The club, fans and manager all want to be back in the Premiership and I believe we'll stick by him until he gets us there in the next two years.

Is the club being run well? Are you likely to be singing 'Sack the board' any time soon?
I don't think so. Last season saw some bizarre appointments, none so much as Dunga, the former Brazil World Cup-winning captain, being appointed as a director. Italian businesman Gianni Paladini has brought a wealth of contacts and money with him and bill power a Rangers man through and through is controlling the club excellently as chairman.

Which team do you most want to beat and why?
Cardiff City. They beat us in the playoff final a few years back and we will never forget that. We deserved to win and it was so cruel how we lost. And also Luton - they think we're their rivals, somehow, so it's always nice to beat them.

Who do you think's going up?
3 from Norwich, Palace, Sheff Utd and Wolves.

Who do you think's going down?
Brighton, Crewe and Watford

How do you reckon Hull City will fare in the Championship?
Similar to us last year, mid-table. You won't be relegated and you won't be in the playoffs - a consolidating season!

Mark O'Haire is editor of QPR Mad.