QPR boss Warnock challenges new signing to fulfill his potential

Rangers managers urges Traore to ‘knuckle down’

Neil Warnock has challenged new defensive recruit Armand Traore to ‘knuckle down’ and cement his place in the QPR side this season.

Traore, a product of the Arsenal youth academy, made just 33 appearances in all competitions in his five years with the Gunners before his move to QPR last week, also spending time on loan at Portsmouth and Juventus.

But Warnock sees plenty of promise in the 21-year-old left-back, who will compete with Clint Hill for a starting spot in the Rs defence, and he believes the Senegalese international can finally fulfil his potential at Loftus Road.

“I like the young lad Armand, he’s one that if I’m honest I’ve always felt should have done better,” Warnock told London24.com. “I always thought he’d come through and be first choice at Arsenal but he’s never done that, he’s never quite taken things by storm, so he needs to knuckle down and show what he’s about.”

Warnock submitted his 25-man squad to the Premier League on Friday, and is satisfied with his side’s transfer dealings, which saw five new recruits arrive in west London since Tony Fernandes completed his takeover of the club three weeks ago.

The manager did, however, concede his disappointment at failing to sign another striker on transfer deadline day, with targets Peter Crouch and Craig Bellamy both opting for moves elsewhere.

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And he revealed that midfielder Hogan Ephraim was in his 25-man squad right up until the very last minute on Wednesday night, only to make way when Jason Puncheon completed his late loan move from Southampton.

Puncheon’s move, coupled with Warnock’s surprise inclusion of striker Jamie Mackie, who is nearing a return from a broken leg sustained last season, meant that Ephraim was excluded and is now set to spend the first half of the season on loan with a Championship side.

“With Hogan, it was a bit of a last minute thing really, we only had Jason Puncheon down two hours before the deadline and we were also waiting for the physio’s report on Jamie Mackie.

“As soon as we found out Jamie would be back within three to four weeks he had to be in the squad really, and we needed Puncheon because he brings that pace which Hogan doesn’t really have.

“We wanted to bring in players with Premier League experience, that’s going to be vital for us, and obviously players Luke Young and Joey Barton have got loads of that experience,” added Warnock.

“We’ve covered most positions, if I were greedy I’d have said we need another striker, but if you’d told me at the start of August that we’d get the players we have I’d have snapped your hand off.”

Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes