What’s The Matter With … QPR and Mark Hughes?
Mark Hughes believes it would be the wrong decision to axe him, while QPR club legend Rodney Marsh believes the manager should be given another four games to accrue some positive results.
But apart from settling on a consistent formation and the same group of players, the bad groundwork has already been laid.
The summer transfer window was the time for Hughes to strengthen, but he failed to make the necessary additions in defence and attack.
As a result, Stephane Mbia ended up playing in central defence when he looks more at home in midfield, while Ryan Nelsen has ended up being close to indispensible when he was bought mainly to provide some experienced back-up.
In attack the problem has not so much been the lack of signings, but Hughes’ decision to name only three strikers in his 25-man squad seems a monumental error.
He was not to know that Andy Johnson would be a ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury, but getting to name 25 players should cover such an eventuality.
Bobby Zamora is another now expected to be on the treatment table for at least three months, leaving Djibril Cisse as the only recognised striker.
Furthermore, allowing DJ Campbell, Jay Bothroyd and Rob Hulse to leave on loan was suicidal when Hogan Ephraim was picked in the 25 and was almost certain to never make a first-team appearance this season.
Meanwhile, a young striker under the age of 21 does not have to be included in the squad list of 25 and Hughes was very short term in his summer transfer strategy.
The club have nobody under the age of 21 to really call upon who will make a difference and six of Hughes’ ten summer signings to play in the first team were aged 30 or older.
The problem with these players is that it has to be doubted whether they are truly at the club to succeed or simply for the chance to earn high wages and live a London lifestyle.
Norwich are one example of a club that have found far better success in plucking hungry players from the Championship, who want to improve and arguably use the club as a stepping stone for bigger things in the future.
QPR have instead got players going in the other direction.
The current odds on QPR do not make good reading. They are 8/15 to be relegated this season and 4/9 to remain bottom of the table at Christmas, while Hughes is 1/5 to be the first Premier League manager to lose his job in the campaign.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date