Kenny and Cerny have Hoops in safe hands
QPR boss Neil Warnock believes his goalkeeping options are stronger now than at any other time in his 30-year managerial career.
Paddy Kenny, who also played under Warnock at Sheffield United, has been ever-present since his �750,000 summer move from Bramall Lane, conceding just seven times in 17 Championship games.
The 32-year-old had missed virtually the whole of last season after the FA suspended him for nine months, having tested positive for ephedrine – a banned substance found in medication Kenny was taking to deal with a chest infection.
Meanwhile, former Czech international Radek Cerny has been named among the Rangers substitutes on each occasion – it may not seem like it but that status, in itself, represents high praise from Warnock.
During his time in charge of both Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, the manager was rarely known to name a specialist goalkeeper on the bench, preferring to send an outfield player between the posts in an emergency.
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“In Radek’s case I think he warrants it,” Warnock told the Times. “You see him in the week and he’s a tremendous example, a great pro. I think he’s brought the best out of Paddy as well.
“I’ve never had two really good keepers at a club, but I’m very happy with Radek. He’s the best number two I’ve ever had while I’ve been a manager.
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“And I wouldn’t swap Paddy for anyone in the Premier League. I think he was harshly treated in his ban. For me it was trivial and people have made an example of him, which was wrong.
“I think he’s come back in the right way and this is a new challenge for him – he comes into training with a smile on his face and he’s playing like that as well.”
Aside from Kenny and Cerny, there is little goalkeeping experience at Warnock’s disposal – his third choice, the Latvian teenager Elvijs Putnins, has never made a first-team appearance.
Another former youth team keeper, Niki-Lee Bulmer, is currently in the middle of a month’s loan with Blue Square Premier side Hayes and Yeading United.
Bulmer’s three appearances for Hayes and Yeading to date are his only experience of first-team football and Warnock admitted: “I wouldn’t want to put the youngsters in at the moment.
“There’d have to be a loan if something happened to both Paddy and Radek. But that’s the case at most clubs unless you’re in the Premier League.”