Lee Cook column: QPR are the fittest they have been as a squad since the Neil Warnock days
PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:29 17 August 2016
QPR favourite Lee Cook discuss the club’s excellent start to the season, how much fitter the squad are this season in comparison to previous years and the need to keep Steven Caulker at Loftus Road.
Hello all and welcome to my second column of the season for the Brent & Kilburn Times.
I’m sure Rs fans will agree with me when I say it has been a surprising but very encouraging start to the season, as the Rs sit top of the pile heading into tonight’s trip to Barnsley.
It is obviously very early days, but we couldn’t have asked for anything better. I said before it was important Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hit the ground running and he’s done just that.
It’s not just about the results we’ve got, but the manner of the performances have been really good as well, and that bodes well for the coming weeks.
The major difference I have seen from last season is how fit the players are. I was at the Leeds game and after the final whistle I looked at the lads on the field and thought they could go for another 90 minutes.
Jimmy must be given huge credit for the gruelling pre-season he has clearly put the players under and he’s certainly reaping the benefits of it now.
There’s no doubt the players are fitter, stronger and quicker than last season, that’s clearly evident for everyone to see. Jordan Cousins looks as though he run all day long, he’s a really good addition to the squad.
He made a real impact against Leeds and was excellent at Cardiff. Steven Caulker has also come back looking fantastic - he looks really sharp. The back four as a unit looks as strong as it has done in a long, long time.
The last time I have seen a QPR side as fit as they are now is when Neil Warnock was in charge. The pre-season prior to the 2010-11 campaign he got us players working so hard, and as a result we were all really fit by the time the season started.
We all know what happened after that and it is still only early days at the moment, but the initial signs have been hugely promising and I do see similarities with that side.
I still think Jimmy needs to make a couple more additions before the window closes though, he knows himself that he must strengthen if we are to make a realistic challenge for the play-offs.
Another striker is definitely needed. Sebastian Polter has been excellent so far this season, but I still think we need a natural goalscorer in the side.
I’m not sure where Conor Washington fits into this current side to be honest, so the Rs definitely need to add another forward to the pack before the window closes.
I also think it is essential the club keep hold of Caulker, regardless of what kind of offer they might get before now and the end of the window. He’s been outstanding and seems to have his appetite for the game back. It will be a huge signal of intent if Jimmy can keep him at the club.