Queens Park Rangers: Ian Holloway unfazed by tough start to Championship season
PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 August 2017
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QPR start at home to beaten play-off finalists Reading on Saturday as west London club begin new league campaign in front of their own fans
Manager Ian Holloway admits Queens Park Rangers have a tough opening run of fixtures in the Championship as they prepare to start the campaign at home to Reading on Saturday.
In the opening month of the season, the west Londoners face the Royals, who were beaten in May’s play-off final; Sheffield Wednesday, who lost in the play-off semi-finals; and Hull City, who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
QPR boss Holloway admits that calibre of opposition will make life tough early on, but knows his team will give it their all to get off to a good start.
“You wouldn’t get a harder start, but whoever we play, we have to play them anyway,” said the 54-year-old after Saturday’s 1-0 friendly loss at home to Bournemouth.
“We’ve got two who got in the play-offs and one of the relegated teams, but that’s life, that’s our challenge.
“By hook or by crook, we’re going to have to dig in and get some results. All I can say is we’re going to work our socks off.”
Last season saw QPR finish 18th in the Championship, but only two points above the relegation zone.
The target for Holloway this year, then, is to avoid another battle against the drop for the Loftus Road club.
And the Rs boss has pinpointed where his team have to improve if they are to move up the table.
“Our challenge is very simple: if you don’t stop the goals going in, and you don’t score more, you’re only going to be in a certain position,” he added.
“We have a massive deficit to solve, end of. Do I believe I can solve that within my squad? I believe I can go so far to do that.
“Do I need to add one or two? I’ve already added Josh Scowen and Charlie Owens in the youth team. Do I need some more? Well I’m going to try to.
“It’s all about my boys working their socks off again and again and again, and me bringing in some help.
“In the meantime, I don’t ever shirk responsibility – whatever I put out there belongs to me, nobody else.”
Ahead of the new season, one trend Holloway will hope to avoid is QPR ending the campaign with a different manager to the one they started with.
Harry Redknapp back in 2013-14 was the last man to last a full term with Rs, helping them win promotion to the Premier League — could that be an omen for Holloway?