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Next QPR Manager Odds: Why The Rs should go all out for Chris Wilder

QPR are searching for a new manager following the exit of Michael Beale
QPR are searching for a new manager following the exit of Michael Beale

After Mick Beale left for Rangers – the other Rangers – QPR are after a new manager.

EFL pundit Gab Sutton reckons the Play-Off chasing Londoners should go all out for Chris Wilder.

Here’s why...

Championship proven

Mick Beale proved a successful appointment for QPR, albeit tainted slightly by how he handled his exit, having had no experience as a number one.

In that sense, it might seem counter-intuitive prioritizing Championship experience in the next appointment, when there are some excellent lower league up-and-comers, talented coaches from the Under-23s scene and top managerial prospects from the European market.

However, any appointment from the other categories would benefit from some time to settle into the job, as opposed to someone coming in with full knowledge of the league, and a proven record of succeeding within it.

QPR are having their best season at this level for nine years, and while Amit Bhatia and Les Ferdinand will certainly want to plan for the long-term, it’s important they also make the most of the immediate opportunity.

Of the realistic available candidates, Wilder gives the Rs the best chance of making this season a success.

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Suits the squad (broadly)

Although wing-back systems haven’t been Mick Beale’s number one choice this year, with a 4-3-2-1 often favoured, the width comes from full-backs so it wouldn’t take a seismic shift for Wilder to find a system that works for him.

The chief priority for the Rs is to incorporate Ilias Chair and Chris Willock simultaneously and while Wilder has preferred to play two up top previously, he at times deployed a 3-4-2-1 of sorts at Bramall Lane with David McGoldrick and Mark Duffy operating between the lines.

Kenneth Paal was still shaking off an injury at the beginning of the season and thus had a slow start, but has more recently become one of the most progressive full-backs in the Championship, while Ethan Laird is a quick, strong, direct type.

Laird is a right-back but he played as a wing-back for MK Dons, so neither would endure too much of an adjustment to play wide of three centre-backs rather than two.

The only dilemma with the back-three would be that Rob Dickie doesn’t have the best turn of pace, so would be best as a middle centre-back.

If Jimmy Dunne and Jake Clarke-Salter are perceived as unsuitable for a wide centre-back role, than it may be a case of either trusting them to do the best they can until January, or experimenting with a temporary stopgap for the next month.

Osman Kakay might be strong enough in one-on-ones in the channel to operate as a right centre-back, where he’s played for the Rs with some success before, while Elijah Anthony, Kayden Harrack or Ivo Rossi could be promoted from the Under-23s.

World Cup Winner Odds

Championship Odds

Burnley
WIN PROB: 75%
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1/3
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Sheffield United
WIN PROB: 23%
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Norwich
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West Bromwich Albion
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Middlesbrough
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Watford
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Luton
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Millwall
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Sunderland
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Blackburn
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Queens Park Rangers
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Preston
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Swansea City
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Stoke City
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1
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Coventry
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1
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Reading
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Birmingham
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1
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Bristol City
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Hull City
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1
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Rotherham United
WIN PROB: 0%
1
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Cardiff
WIN PROB: 0%
1
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Huddersfield
WIN PROB: 0%
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Blackpool
WIN PROB: 0%
1
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Wigan
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1
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Odds correct as of 2023-01-27 00:18 Odds subject to change.

Getting more out of Dykes

QPR have a dilemma up top.

Sinclair Armstrong has made a fantastic impact since coming into the first team squad, after a successful National League loan at Torquay last season, and credit must go to Mick Beale for fast-tracking him to the first team where many would have given the striker a League Two loan.

Armstrong brings an explosion of pace and power to the Rs attack, offering something unique to the squad in that sense, and he’s made a huge impact from the bench in numerous games.

At the same time, the 19-year-old doesn’t have the back-to-goal maturity to lead the line on his own, and pairing him with Lyndon Dykes would compromise the Rs in other areas.

The number one golden priority is to incorporate Chair and Willock simultaneously, because both are simply too good to leave out, but starting those two AND two strikers would be strategically risky.

Not only would a 4-2-2-2 keep the Rs as reliant as always on Laird and Paal for attacking width, it would also expose the aforementioned issues at centre-back, that neither Dickie, Dunne, nor Clarke-Salter are quick on the turn – and they would have one fewer midfielder to provide the insurance to mitigate that risk than they do with the 4-3-2-1.

Ultimately, it’s not worth the risk, at least not to start games, so Armstrong has had to settle for an impact sub role – he’s come off the bench 11 times in all competitions, starting just twice.

World Cup Betting Offers

The advantage of having Wilder in charge is that while he wouldn’t be afraid to go to two up top as a solution to an injury to Chair or Willock, his sides do not rely on pace in attack.

Wilder’s League Two title-winning Northampton side had strikers like Marc Richards, James Collins and John Marquis who are not exactly rapid, while his Sheffield United side was spearheaded by Billy Sharp and initially Leon Clarke.

Wilder expects his front-men to be very hardworking in terms of starting the press from the front and forcing clearances, but he tends to like to bring pace into the game at a latter stage as opposed to starting with it, which works for this stage of Armstrong’s development.

Plus, Lyndon Dykes – although not capable of running in behind – is incredibly hardworking and Wilder will love his commitment, as well as his threat from crosses to the back-post.

If Wilder can implement his ideas correctly, the Rs will create three-on-two scenarios out wide which will open up lots of crossing opportunities which, with the right deliveries, Dykes could take advantage of – like Sharp did, but with more height, strength and natural aerial prowess, as opposed to the stooping header.

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Getting Iroegbunam to the next level

When Tim Iroegbunam joined QPR on loan, unofficial account The Villa Academy was highly-praising of the midfielder:

“Iroegbunam is more than ready for Premier League football, and I’ve been a big advocate of him getting opportunities.

"He’s physically dominant and has a terrific passing range, which he needs game time to refine, but has a future at Villa for sure.”

The England Under-20s star, who signed a five-year contract at his parent club back in March, has impressed whenever he’s been given first-team opportunities and hasn’t looked out of place in the Premier League, and based on the above reviews, could be a real asset to QPR in their push for a top six berth – even in his first full season of senior football.

Wilder might not be considered an expert of youth development, having arguably done his best work with more established performers, he knows a good midfielder when he sees one, having got the most out of John Fleck and Oli Norwood while at Bramall Lane.

The 55-year-old would look to build around Iroegbunam, if he can retain the 19-year-old beyond January, when Unai Emery has the recall option. 

An out-of-work, four-time promotion winner with a track record of Championship success, and a favoured formation that could get the best out of this squad with a couple of tweaks, Wilder is surely the stand-out candidate for the vacancy.

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