Meet the opposition | Queens Park Rangers

6th May 2022
First team
Flynn downes

Ahead of Saturday’s season finale against Queens Park Rangers,  we take a look the visitors' history, form, and key figures.

What’s their story?

History QPR

Queens Park Rangers formed in 1886 with the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St Jude’s Institute and became professional just three years later.

As is perhaps indicated by their name, Rangers didn’t have a settled ground for many of their early years, playing home matches at as many as 20 grounds before settling at Loftus Road in 1917.

They joined the Football League in 1920 and achieved their highest league finish in the 1975-76 season when they were confirmed as First Division runners-up. This earned them a place in the Uefa Cup the following year where they reached the quarter-finals; their best run in a European competition.

Other achievements include lifting the League Cup in 1967 and reaching the FA Cup final in 1982.

How’s their form?

Not great. After an excellent first half of the campaign, things haven’t gone to plan for QPR since January. A 4-0 victory over Reading on the 29th of that month meant they started February in fourth place, firmly in the play-off spots and only two points away from the automatic promotion places.

Since then, they have picked up just three wins and three draws, which has seen them slip to 11th. Over the last 10 games, only Barnsley have worse league form in the Championship than The R’s.

Who’s the manager?

Mark Warburton

Mark Warburton. Warburton joined QPR in the summer of 2019 on a three-year contract and it was announced last week that Saturday’s match will be his last in the dugout for the club.

The 59-year-old’s playing career began as an apprentice at Leicester City in the late 1970s, after departing the Foxes he competed in non-league football for Enfield and Boreham Wood, winning the FA Trophy with the former.

A right-back by trade, Warburton then moved to Scotland and eventually the USA through his work as a currency trader.

He worked for the likes of Bank of America, IBJ, AIG, the Royal Bank of Scotland before electing to pursue his passion for football and coaching.

His coaching career began humbly with a part-time role at a school in Hertfordshire while he completed his badges and learned from the best coaches in Europe. He eventually got his breakthrough as a coach at Watford’s academy. He worked his way up to assistant manager of the Hornets under-19s before taking a coaching role at Brentford.

In December 2013, the Bees made him their manager until the end of the season and he was soon handed the full-time role. They had a remarkable run, going 19 games unbeaten on their way to promotion. Following his departure from Griffin Park, he managed Glasgow Rangers (winning the Championship and Challenge Cup in 2015-16) and had a brief spell at Nottingham Forrest before joining QPR.

Who’s the captain?

Close up of Queens Park Rangers captain Stefan Johansen

Stefan Johansen. The 31-year-old was handed the armband after making the permanent switch to West London at the start of the current campaign. The former Norway skipper began his career at FK Bodo and made his debut aged 16. He later moved to Stromsgodset IF before switching to the UK and signing for Celtic, where he won three league titles

He went on to move south of the boarder to join Fulham making more than 100 appearances and being part of two promotions to the Premier League. He had loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and then QPR before making a permanent home at Loftus Road.

Who are the key men?

QPR defender Jimmy Dunne.

QPR have been without star man Chris Willock since he picked up an injury in March, but they still have three players on nine goals for the season with Ilias Chair, Lyndon Dykes and Andre Gray sharing the load.

Twenty-four year old Jimmy Dunne has been receiving plaudits for an impressive first season in west London after joining from Burnley in the summer. He has been a key figure at centre-back with his no-nonsense defending. He has been flanked by Rob Dickie - another injury victim - as well as Frenchman Yoann Barbet, who is attracting plenty of interest for his performances this terms as his contract looks set to run out in the summer.

They are joined at the back by 21-year-old Sam McCallum who has impressed on loan from Norwich City and was recently named the club’s young player of the year.

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