Beat around the Bush

By Adam Boxer THE day that nobody had foreseen – twice – has come to fruition and Queens Park Rangers will be playing Championship football next season. Initially, the more optimistic supporter had grand illusions of the Premier League, particularly after

By Adam Boxer

THE day that nobody had foreseen - twice - has come to fruition and Queens Park Rangers will be playing Championship football next season.

Initially, the more optimistic supporter had grand illusions of the Premier League, particularly after the relative ease with which some sides in this division were dispatched.

After the dust settled and the optimism subsided, Championship football seemed a disappointing formality, until decline set in and Rangers were primed for a relegation dogfight.


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But under the guidance of Neil Warnock, the Rs stayed up as opposed to any previous thought of being 'held down' in the Championship.

It's been an emotional roller-coaster ride, and I for one am glad that we can see out the season in a calm and efficient manner, rather than the panic stations of a couple of weeks ago.

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Paul Hart maintained that he'd keep QPR in the Championship and his Palace side certainly handed Rangers the impetus to remain in this tier, perhaps at the Eagles' expense.

Now comes the day of reckoning, with Palace and Sheffield Wednesday likely to face off in the battle to avoid that final place in the bottom three.

Warnock can rest easy, however. The class and relaxation he has exuded from the beginning was well-founded, as he focused on riding this one out ahead of next season's big push.

Far be it from me to be fooled by ambitious sentiment emanating from the club - we've been here before, after all - but there is a genuine curiosity as to what Warnock has in store next season.

An experienced manager who goes about his business with great efficiency, the former Sheffield United man has already earmarked his positions that need strengthening and the summer can't come soon enough.

An uncompromising defender, a bruising centre forward and generally strengthening the other weaker areas of the line-up could turn under-achievers into promotion candidates.

A manager that has guided teams to six promotion campaigns certainly knows what it takes to create a winning formula and despite a brief stutter under his guidance, his vision has been unwavering.

Ride it out until the summer, get the calibre of player we need, and get this division - a poorer one next season - by the scruff of the neck and go hell for leather.

That's something I would hope and expect a Warnock side to do next season. The early signs are certainly positive as the first ambition of the brave new era has been achieved.

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