Championship Q & A: QPR
Vital QPR editor Adam Boxer answers our questions ahead of the new 2009/2010 Championship season.
1. Your name and Club Supported:
Adam Boxer - Queens Park Rangers
2. Your League Position last season:
3. Your Prediction For this Season's Position Finish:
4. Transfers In:
Alejandro Faurlín (Instituto - £3.5m), Alessandro Pellicori (Avellino - Free), Adel Taarabt (Tottenham Hotspur - Loan)
5. Transfer Out:
Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest - Undisclosed), Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest - Undisclosed), Damien Delaney (Ipswich Town - Undisclosed). Released: Zesh Rehman (Bradford City), Jake Cole (Barnet), Jordi López (Swansea City), Liam Miller, Danny Maguire, Chris Arthur.
6. Have you made enough signings for the new season? Are they the right signings?
There is a consensus among QPR supporters that we have not strengthened enough for the coming campaign, and there could be more to come from Rangers.
We have gambled on an unknown Argentinean in a fee rising to £3.5m, in truth the initial payment is nowhere near that mark - with some ending up in the pockets of Inter Milan who had first refusal on the player.
Adel Taarabt is an exciting prospect, but against Tottenham and QPR fans will agree that while he has a lot of exciting talent, other parts of his game require development to ensure he becomes the finished article.
Magilton stated after taking over that he would assess his options in the squad before strengthening, and would only look to replace players that leave - so far the departures outweigh the inclusions and so we wait with baited breath!
Are they the right signings? Well we already have an accomplished set-up in my opinion, an we lost a season last time out through injuries to influential players - Rowlands, Buzsaky, Vine to name but three.
I think the couple of new additions combined with our current squad could see us over the horizon and into the playoffs - that all depends on many variables including how strong the teams coming down/up are, and whether we decide to stick the ball in the back of the net to supplement our outstanding defensive form.
7. What are the expectations amongst the fans for this year?
Tempered expecation this year I think. Fans had their fingers burnt last year with empty promises and hollow boasts, and I am cautiously optimistic about the campaign.
I would obviously love to see us get playoffs or better, but that would be my heart ruling my head, as it so often does. The reality of the situation is that we must strengthen further upfront, and in full back areas to really threaten the division's elite.
8. Key player(s)
The one we haven't signed yet? That would be a common answer across the board in the Championship I think! In seriousness Adel Taarabt is a match changing player and could be the one to put us on the right footing. While being undoubtedly blessed with talent, he needs to harness this ability if his time with QPR is to be mutually beneficial.
Elsewhere, we have a very specialy commodity in Angelo Balanta. The young Colombian is without a doubt the most exciting thing to grace the QPR youth system in a long time, and I hope this season is his coming of age.
9. Your thoughts ahead of the new Championship campaign, are you confident or worried going into the new season? How do you think your year will pan out?
Well, as previously mentioned, it's a case of cautious optimism. I wasn't overly-impressed that we appointed Magilton in the first place, but he is growing on me by the day - as is the importance of his assistant John Gorman.
If the two work well together and get the best out of the players at their disposal, then the sky is the limit for us. We have to be realistic and understand that we won't have our best players available all the time and need to strengthen with squad players.
If we correct our faults of last season and keep up our outstanding goalscoring record, then this could be an exciting season for the R's.
10. Predict the Top 2 and Play-off winner and the 3 clubs to go down
Champions - Sheffield United: They have the necessary fire power to kick them on to the Premier League this time out. The signing of Ched Evans set their intentions fairly clearly and I would be surprised if they didn't go one better this season and return to the Premier League.
Promoted - Middlesbrough: Whenever they have loaned a player out to the Championship, they usually do the business, and with a squad full of young talent, combined with some experienced pro's, I can't look beyond Southgate's men for second place.
Playoffs - Nottingham Forest: This all depends on whether their new signings manage to gel. This is not based on Dexter Blackstock, but on the likes of Adebola, McGoldrick and Earnshaw will be enough to take them to the playoffs. Lee Camp I believe is an inspired capture by Davies, and at a cut-price too.
Going Down - Watford: Not that I would take any satisfaction in this whatsoever, but it seems the Hornets are working on a shoestring, and the appointment of Malky Mackay has set their intention from the off - reminds me of QPR appointing Holloway back in 2001, cheap and available.
Going Down - Scunthorpe: Sorry Iron fans but I think your stay will be as brief as last time. While Gary Hooper and Paul Hayes have fired in League One, it has been proven that they cannot cut the mustard at this level. Even if they do find their touch at Glanford Park, I cannot see the defence standing up to what are some powerful attacking sides in the Championship.
Going Down - Barnsley: Simon Davey has done a good job at Oakwell in the last few seasons, staving off relegation with the Tykes. But it appears that the voices of discontent are beginning to sound, and a bad start could see Davey out of a job and the Tykes out of time.
Thanks to Adam Boxer for answering our questions.