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The view from the Pu/living room – June
Friday, 3rd Jul 2020 12:40 by Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy volunteered to continue his monthly review column for the special summer lockdown fixtures, then immediately regretted it as QPR flopped back into action with three quick defeats.

Football is back with the dampest of bangs. Was it always this boring and tedious to watch games? I feel like the restart has left me with more questions than I had before. Why does Ozzie Kakay look so good for us but struggle at places like Chesterfield? Why do we look so toothless? Has Lee Wallace moved in with Sean Goss?

Let’s dive into the good and not so good of a month that has brought us three defeats, zero wins and a solitary Jordan Hugill goal.

Good

I’m going to say it – and ultimately give us the kiss of death – but we are safe for this season. I know we have looked incredibly flat and poor against Barnsley and Charlton but in my eyes we are safe and the good thing is that we have done enough prior to the interruption for this to happen. My reckoning behind this is that first of all we already have 50 points, second, despite the fact we love nothing more than a long winless run there is no way on earth I can see us not getting a single point in the next six games (taking the total to a record nine) and as things stand currently there are nine teams below us who pretty much all have to play each other at some point between now and the end of July.

So without pissing on the doom mongers freshly lit bonfires too much, I’m not buying into this ‘we’re not safe’ rhetoric at all and given how I believed we would fair before the season started we have still exceeded my expectations. It does appear that the players’ minds are not completely focussed (more on that later) maybe believing the season is done, unfortunately this does happen and the situation is exacerbated by the fact that there’s currently no crowds at games but hopefully Warburton can use these games to get some minutes into the younger players legs to see where we stand going forward.

Looking ahead to next season – whenever that will be – and what our team will actually look like, I have definitely been impressed with the appearances of Bettache at Charlton and Kakay against Fulham. Bettache looked comfortable on the ball in what I saw of him at The Valley and although playing in an empty stadium should ease some nerves he didn’t seem to be overawed by the situation, a promising cameo and maybe a player we will be seeing a bit more of over the next few years. Kakay looked solid on the right side of a back three against Fulham and as I stated earlier, in the few games that I have seen him play for the R’s he’s always looked fairly comfortable and solid. I remember a game at Brentford a few years back where for the first half at least he held his own, so it does always leave me scratching my head when he gets loaned out to places like Chesterfield and never seems to cut the mustard. You would imagine that next year will be make or break for the youngster.

I thought I would save the last positive for us, the fans. I can’t remember what the exact figure was but I believe it was somewhere between 60-70% of people that refused a refund on their season ticket which is a pretty remarkable figure to be honest. This is not a slight on any of the fans that did not opt for a refund, I completely get the current situation and a lot of people are struggling to make ends meet, I’ve been furloughed since April myself and am currently starting to feel more and more like Jack Rodwell by the day, so I do get it. Because of this for that amount people to say no to a refund is incredible and just goes to show how much of a community the club now feels again since Mr Hoos has come through the doors, I can imagine that figure would have been closer to 6% under a certain Italian owner.

Bad

I spoke earlier about the player’s attitudes and their minds maybe being elsewhere. As I’ve already said unfortunately this does happen in football and managers can come out and say it doesn’t until they are blue in the face but it just doesn’t ring true. That first game back against Barnsley was a clear example of a team not having the right attitude, like Clive said in his match report it was ultimately a team that wanted it against a team that didn’t. There have been other moments as well, there was a pretty decent handball penalty shout at Charlton that I felt no one was even bothered about. Just because there are no fans you can still moan at the ref and the linesman, not that we were ever particularly good at that I suppose. There was a clear improvement against Fulham so maybe it has just been a case of getting used to the new environment and getting back up to speed but those first two games back were painful and didn’t reflect well on the players at all.

It also seems to be flavour of the month to lay in to our current number nine at the minute and I’m still sure that I’m the minority that thinks he’s actually not that bad a striker for the Championship. Yes he should have buried the chance he got at Charlton but let’s not also forget some of the other chances that we’ve missed in the three games so far, for example the sitter that Master Amos managed to put into the upper tier of the school end against Fulham, at least Hugill’s was on target if we’re being petty.

I think what I’m trying to get at here is that it’s all well and good working on shape and a full press and all this modern guff but if we can’t do simple things like mark players at corners and finish chances from eight yards out then it’s ultimately irrelevant. A bit more time on football basics please Mr Breadman as I’m tired of seeing Darren Pratley score against us for the 78th time in his career.


So where do I finish? I think I will save my last point for a quick moan about how much I’ve not actually enjoyed the football that has come back. Echoing Clive’s Charlton match preview, football to me is so much more than just watching the game, it’s about the pre-match beers, spending time with my old man and his mates and that feeling of community. If I was the type of guy who spent £70 a year on his new replica top to wear up the pub or in his front room to then go on social media and profess his love for a club that he’s never actually been to see in the flesh then I can imagine you haven’t noticed a great deal of difference, but I’m not and I don’t like it much at all. In the grand scheme of things it’s a wholly irrelevant moan and I do hope that everyone is keeping safe and well both physically and mentally in the current climate, but the quicker this ‘mini season’ is done and we can start focussing on getting next season back to as much normality as possible then the better.

June grade – E

Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August 18 >>> September 18 >>> October 18 >>> November 18 >>> December 18 >>> January 19 >>> February 19 >>> March 19 >>> April 19 >>> 18/19 Season Review >>> August 19 >>> September 19 >>> October 19 >>> November 19 >>> December 19 >>> January 20 >>> February 20 >>> March 20 >>> April 20 >>> May 20

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isawqpratwcity added 15:03 - Jul 3
Yeah, this season's going nowhere. Can we please just get through it?

Thanks, Steve.
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ozexile added 08:23 - Jul 4
I agree about Kakay. He got hung out to dry after that dreadful WBA game. Wasn't fair on him.
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Burnleyhoop added 10:09 - Jul 4
The problem for me has been the inconsistency. The dreaded “hope” had been lifted to unsustainable levels following some great performances, driven mainly by the young talent we are likely to lose this summer. In truth, we have overachieved all things considered, but Warburton will have an even tougher job this summer if and when we have to replace Eze and BOS.

Our sustainable future means progressing the youngsters into the first team, but I really can’t see how that will make us sufficiently competitive to make a real challenge on the top 6 ant time soon.

Nonetheless, I have enjoyed this season more than any other since the Warnock era. We have to be realistic with our expectations, or be forever disappointed.
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TacticalR added 23:48 - Jul 4
Thanks for your review.

'It also seems to be flavour of the month to lay in to our current number nine at the minute and I’m still sure that I’m the minority that thinks he’s actually not that bad a striker for the Championship.'

I am not too worried about Hugill. Every time he's had a lull he's come back afterwards. The problem is that before we had Wells and BOS to get goals if Hugill was having a lull, but now Wells has gone and since the lockdown BOS has stopped going past defenders.
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