Goal drought is the Rs' striking feature
PUBLISHED: 15:20 17 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky THREE managers, 22 players, dazzling at home, dire on the road – the first half of the season certainly hasn t been dull at Loftus Road. With exactly 50 per cent of the Championship programme completed, QPR are nestling on the fringe of the p
By Ben Kosky
THREE managers, 22 players, dazzling at home, dire on the road - the first half of the season certainly hasn't been dull at Loftus Road.
With exactly 50 per cent of the Championship programme completed, QPR are nestling on the fringe of the play-off places, virtually equal distance from both automatic promotion and the drop zone.
So what have Rangers been doing right on the field... and where do they need to improve? The Times casts an eye over the current squad and gives our half-term report:
Radek Cerny's debut was probably the worst by a QPR goalkeeper since... well, Czech compatriot Jan Stejskal. He turned out pretty well in the long term and Cerny has also improved greatly since that shaky display against Barnsley.
The former Spurs keeper has clearly worked on his catching and is also a proficient shot-stopper who doesn't make too many mistakes, although it couldn't be said that he really dominates the six-yard box.
With Lee Camp mysteriously forced out of the club and set to sign for Nottingham Forest in January, you suspect Rangers may be looking for another stopper to provide Cerny and Jake Cole with competition.
Probably the strongest area of the team, underlined by the fact that Fitz Hall has so far been unable to regain his place in the starting line-up after missing out through suspension.
Damion Stewart's form has been inspired and Kaspars Gorkss has started to show exactly why QPR went to such lengths to sign him last summer, while Matthew Connolly would surely have been a regular as well but for injuries.
Peter Ramage has been solid enough at right-back and the only concern has been Damien Delaney's patchy form, although you feel the club would have done better to sign an up and coming defender as cover for him rather than Coventry reserve Gary Borrowdale.
Sometimes less is more - excluding the injured Akos Buzsaky and the on-loan Adam Bolder, Rangers have 10 candidates for four midfield spots and that appears excessive.
Paulo Sousa's preference for a diamond formation should make some of the selection issues clearer, but Gavin Mahon and Mikele Leigertwood have both made strong claims for the defensive role.
Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook are again showing the form everyone knows they are capable of - just as well, since Emmanuel Ledesma has faded after a sizzling start and, unsurprisingly, Daniel Parejo looks out of his depth.
The 'goals for' column speaks for itself, but all credit to Dexter Blackstock for the way he led the line on his own earlier in the season and still returned a decent scoring rate.
Incredibly, it took Rangers until late November to sign a striker (Heidar Helguson) who may - and we haven't seen enough of them together yet - prove the right foil for Blackstock.
Patrick Agyemang has his qualities, but he and Blackstock rarely seem to gel together, while Samuel Di Carmine does nothing badly, but nothing terribly well either. This, surely, is a key area where Rangers MUST make the right signing in January.