Sparky will get QPR scoring again, says ex-Rangers man
New QPR boss Mark Hughes is the right man to solve the club’s goalscoring problems, says his former team-mate Paul Jones.
Rangers, who have averaged less than a goal a game in the Premier League – fewer than any other team except Wigan – confirmed the appointment of Hughes to replace the sacked Neil Warnock on Tuesday.
The 48-year-old Welshman was one of the most feared centre-forwards in the game during a glittering playing career that included Manchester United, Barcelona and Chelsea.
And ex-Rs goalkeeper Jones, who played with Hughes at Southampton and both alongside and under him for Wales, believes the manager’s meticulous approach is exactly what is needed at Loftus Road.
“It’s certainly good news for the strikers at QPR,” Jones told the Times. “I am surprised they haven’t won more than once at home this season – but, if you can’t score goals, you’re going to struggle.
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“I’d think Mark will have the opportunity to bring in one or two strikers – and he can attract better players because of his own name in the game and the fact he was a top player at the top level.
“Lads that are looking to move will know that he knows what he’s talking about. On the pitch he was quite aggressive, but he comes across as very quiet off the field.
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“Mark isn’t a ranter or a raver, but he gets his message across and, when someone who’s played at that level talks, you listen. He’s very organised and his attention to detail is second to none.
“When he took over as Wales manager, suddenly we had so much information about the teams we were playing against – it was all there on his laptop and, as a keeper, I knew all about the opposition strikers.
“His coaches Mark [Bowen] and Eddie [Niedzwiecki] are very thorough as well and know their stuff – Eddie’s particularly good with the back four – and they’ve always worked well together wherever they’ve been.”
Hughes’ five years in charge of his national team were followed by four years as Blackburn manager, during which Rovers reached three cup semi-finals and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
He moved to Manchester City in 2008, but was dismissed 18 months later and returned to management at Fulham the following summer, leading them to eighth place in the Premier League before making the surprise decision to quit.
And Jones, who now runs his own goalkeeping school in West Sussex, sees no reason why Hughes cannot repeat some of those past achievements with QPR.
“When Mark left Fulham I knew it wouldn’t be long before he came back into football,” added Jones. “This will be an opportunity that appeals to him, especially with the backing QPR have now.
“The first thing will be to keep them in the Premier League this season. As teams like Stoke and Bolton have shown, if you can get past that first year you can build for the future.
“I loved my time at QPR and the potential’s certainly there. The crowd were superb at Loftus Road and, if you get things right week in, week out you’ll see a real buzz around the place.”
Hughes – who becomes Rangers’ 11th permanent manager in just under six years – will take charge for the first time when the team travel to Newcastle on Sunday.