Queens Park Rangers season preview – Riot reprieve for Bolton clash to end QPR’s 15-year topflight absence

Queens Park Rangers have been given the green light by the Metropolitan Police to host Bolton Wanderers on Saturday in what will be their first Premier League outing in 15 years. There was some doubt as to whether the game would go ahead in the wake of the riots that have swept the nation this past week. Tottenham Hotspur’s match again Everton has already been postponed but QPR is all set to face-off against the Trotters as scheduled on Saturday at Loftus Road. Speaking exclusively on the QPR website, manager Neil Warnock said: “I’m absolutely delighted, it would have been a major blow to have the game called off. It gives people something to look forward to. I know our fans can’t wait for Saturday.”

QPR’s Championship winning season was overshadowed somewhat by the dubious acquisition of Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin back in July 2009. The Hoops paid just £3.5 million for the 25-year-old but it was a fee that could have cost them promotion after it was revealed an amount was paid to an illegal third party. An FA investigation was launched into the shady purchase and it was feared for some time that their hard-earned promotion would be put at jeopardy if the governing body went through with their proposed punishment of a point deduction. The eventual outcome came at a cost of £875, 000 but it was a price QPR were willing to pay if it meant playing in the Premiership for the 2011/12 season.

Warnock has been busy in the summer transfer market, strengthening his squad with the astute purchases of DJ Campbell and Jay Bothroyd, players he believes can take the league by the scruff of the neck and score goals the club will depend on to survive in the topflight. Warnock has every faith in his two new strikers, revealing as a guest on Goals on Sunday that both players have the ability to play for England. According to reports on the Independent R’s website, Brazilian defender Bruno Perone is in the final stages of signing a one year contract with the club, having been on trial during preseason. Warnock admits Perone has a lot to learn about the English game but is confident he will adjust effortlessly.

One player with plenty of topflight experience is Kieron Dyer. Injury has plagued the 32-year-old in recent campaigns with West Ham but with a successful pre-season under his belt, Dyer is confident he can come good for the R’s in his first season with the club. He told the QPR website: “I am happy with how my pre-season has gone. Hopefully we can put on a good performance against Bolton and show that QPR are back where they belong.” West Ham’s Danny Gabbidon and goalkeeper Brian Murphy are Warnock’s other two signings this summer, both free transfers.

Meanwhile, few would dispute that Moroccan winger Adel Taarabt was the best player in the Championship last season with 19 goals to his name and performances that warranted the attention of a whole host of high profile clubs in Europe. As a youngster the 22-year-old failed to establish himself as a regular at Spurs but has proven at QPR he has what it takes to be as good as any wide player in England.

Manager – Neil Warnock: Neil Warnock has experience of the Premier League from his time as manger of Sheffield United but failed to keep the Blades up in their first season. Having made some wise purchases so far this summer, Warnock looks to have the armaments in place to give a good account of QPR this term.

Key signing – Kieron Dyer: At 32, Dyer has plenty of experience of topflight football and will be instrumental to the R’s this season so long as he can dodge the butchers’ bill and stay fit. He arrived as a free transfer but his presence alone is much more to the team.

Key departure – Mikele Leigertwood: He may not have been a regular in the starting XI last season but overall made 141 appearances and scored 12 goals in four seasons with the R’s. He has joined Reading on a free transfer.

Possible XI:


Orr – Hill – Hall – Gabbidon

Dyer – Derry – Faurlin – Taarabt

Campbell – Bothroyd

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