Onuoha: QPR will find it tough to get promoted this season
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QPR skipper Nedum Onuoha says the club have no divine right to secure an immediate return to the top flight this season, warning supporters the Rs face a tough task to get promoted.
Onuoha has been an ever-present figure for Rangers at the heart of the back four and he says that, while expectations around the club are very much towards pushing for promotion, he feels that feat will be far from plain sailing.
He told the Times: “It’s not ideal having three managers in a season but it is what it is.
“That [promotion] is a tough call. This season in particular there are a lot of strong sides in this division. There are teams that have come down and haven’t done so well in years gone by, but they’re having a good go this time around.
“You’ve then got the sides like Derby and Middlesbrough who have always been in and around the promotion race in the last few seasons, and they’re doing really well at the moment.
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“So I wouldn’t say it’s a guarantee we’ll be up the top, but we are ambitious and believe that we should be towards the top of the league, but we have to earn the right to be there.
“We’ve got a very big squad though, probably bigger than most in the division, so when the games keep coming thick and fast, if anyone’s tired we’ve got people who can come into the squad who are just as capable of doing a job.
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“We’ve got a lot of strength in depth so hopefully we can use that to our advantage in this Christmas period and in the business end of the campaign.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s reign at Loftus Road has started in steady, if unspectacular, fashion with the Rs still unbeaten since the former Burton Albion boss took charge earlier this month, having picked up three draws – the last of which came against Bristol City on Saturday.
And Onuoha is quietly confident of what the future holds with the former Chelsea striker at the helm, insisting it was an appointment the club had to make with their long-term future in mind.
He added: “Neil [Warnock] came in and helped us a lot. It was good for us to have someone like him who knows the club inside out and didn’t need to change a great deal.
“We knew we needed someone to come in who could help us for that month, but it was important we got someone in to build for the future and Jimmy is exactly that.
“The first steps we have made with him have been very positive, and long may that continue.
“The fact we’ve managed to get a few results recently and pick up some clean sheets bodes well for us heading into the Christmas period.
“We’ve had a few ideas we’ve wanted to try out, and I felt there’s been a lot more energy about us too, which can only be a good thing.”
Onuoha was named captain by former boss Chris Ramsey in the summer and, despite a change of management, his role at the club is not expected to change.
However, the former Manchester City defender says he would respect any decision Hasselbaink may or may not make in regards to the captaincy, as he would feel it would be in the best interests of the squad.
“I’ve heard nothing about that, as far as I know I’m staying on as captain,” he said. “At the end of the day though he’s the boss so his decision is final and it’s one I’ll respect no matter what the outcome is.”