A shopping list for Gigi
PUBLISHED: 14:15 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky WHEN teenage striker Romone Rose came on for his senior debut on Sunday, he brought the total of players to represent QPR s first-team this season to an astonishing 37. Manager Luigi de Canio has made it clear that Rangers playing roster wil
By Ben Kosky
WHEN teenage striker Romone Rose came on for his senior debut on Sunday, he brought the total of players to represent QPR's first-team this season to an astonishing 37.
Manager Luigi de Canio has made it clear that Rangers' playing roster will be much less unwieldy next August, with a maximum of 22 names the preferred number for his squad.
The core of that squad will comprise players already contracted to QPR - so how many fresh faces should we expect this summer and what roles do they need to fill?
The Times gives its verdict on how Gigi's shopping list should look...
Despite his recent off day at Norwich, Lee Camp has been one of the Rs' most consistent players - a superb shot-stopper who, at 23, has plenty of time to improve other aspects of his game.
But Camp has had no real competition for his place this season and the club must sign an experienced keeper - probably Tottenham's Radek Cerny - to challenge Camp rather than replace him.
Long-serving reserve Jake Cole has made it clear he wants a loan move and Matt Pickens has not been offered a new contract, so Reece Crowther could fill the number three slot.
A new right-back must be one of De Canio's priorities - but it is unlikely to be Michael Mancienne, or Kieran Lee, whose loan from Manchester United seemed fairly pointless for all parties.
Recent team selections have made it clear the manager does not rate Chris Barker, so a new left-sided player to compete with Damien Delaney may also be in the offing.
Fitz Hall and Matthew Connolly have shown signs of forming a solid partnership in the centre - yet Hall's injury has exposed the paucity of cover available.
Martin Cranie, who caught the eye on loan earlier in the season, would be a good signing if he is fully recovered from injury, but I would caution against the idea of a return for Danny Shittu.
Damion Stewart is a more than adequate squad player - and Rangers also have options such as Simon Walton and Mikele Leigertwood, who can drop into central defence if required.
De Canio only needs one signing in this area - either Lee Cook or a player like him, an orthodox winger who can beat opponents and deliver damaging crosses.
Hogan Ephraim has shown plenty of promise, but he is more dangerous in an attacking role - perhaps playing behind an out-and-out striker like Patrick Agyemang.
With Walton returning from his loan at Hull, Rangers have plenty of competition in the centre of the park and can afford to release former captain Adam Bolder.
One of the challenges facing De Canio is how to incorporate Akos Buzsaky into a central role more often rather than letting him drift in and out of the game on the right flank.
Agyemang's purple patch in January and February was the best by any QPR striker in four decades, but there is no doubt that the club require another goal poacher.
Since Les Ferdinand, only Andy Thomson has broken the 20-goal mark in a season - and Rowan Vine, once he returns from injury, will create many more than he scores.
Dexter Blackstock finally regained last season's form during the closing weeks of the campaign but, like Ephraim and Angelo Balanta, might be at his best in a deeper role.
With Danny Nardiello certain to sever his ill-fated ties with the club in the summer, that should still provide sufficient cover for Agyemang, Vine and AN Other.
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