QPR season preview: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will lead the Rs to the top half again
PUBLISHED: 18:11 03 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:14 03 August 2016
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Another year on the QPR rollercoaster begins this Sunday as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side kick off their campaign against Leeds at Loftus Road, so what can we expect? One thing is for sure, it won’t be dull.
First things first, the club must be commended for the sensible business they have done in the transfer window to date.
Unlike in previous years, when they have paid silly fees for certain players and handed out ridiculous contracts in the process, the acquisitions they have made this summer have been both financially sensible and added quality to the squad.
Jordan Cousins, despite being just 22 years old, has already amassed 136 appearances in the Championship and will add much-needed pace and versatility to a midfield that was crying out for just that last season.
Joel Lynch was another impressive signing, a like-for-like replacement for the outgoing Clint Hill, and no striker will have an easy ride against the robust and powerful centre-back.
Ariel Borysiuk was a relatively unknown recruit, but he has earned plaudits from his time in Poland and will battle with midfield general Karl Henry for the defensive midfield spot when he recovers from injury.
The stand-out signing of the summer, though, has to be Jake Bidwell. The former Brentford skipper was a bargain for an initial £1.3million, considering the crazy inflated prices floating around the transfer market at the moment.
Strong, powerful and athletic, Bidwell typifies exactly the type of player Hasselbaink wants in his squad as the Rs seek to improve on last season’s 12th-place finish.
Will they do that? It will be a tall order, but not impossible. Newcastle have flexed their financial muscle, while the likes of Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday will fancy themselves to build on their excellent campaigns last season.
Norwich will also be a formidable outfit, while Wolves could turn out to be the dark horse to watch out for after their recent £45m takeover.
With the Financial Fair Play issue still looming large at Loftus Road, QPR know they cannot spend vast amounts of money on individual players, as Newcastle have done this summer.
While the club would not publicly admit it, this is very much another rebuilding campaign, where they will look to push for the play-offs – but considering the quality of the teams in the Championship this season, a top-half finish would be a decent showing for an Rs team that is still recovering from their latest Premier League hangover.
The club’s chief executive Lee Hoos has already done an excellent job in cutting costs, and director of football Les Ferdinand gets more stick than he warrants.
As for Hasselbaink, he has clearly imposed his methods and mentality on this current squad, and he may well surprise a few people this season, but time will tell.