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Monday, 09 January 2012

QPR: Warnock's gone but who will fill his boots?


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After almost two years in charge but having picked up just two points from a possible 24, Neil Warnock has been axed as QPR manager.

Despite guiding QPR back to the Premier League Neil Warnock's position at the club was always under scrutiny. The fact that he has made it until January may have surprised many, but the fact that the Rs haven't won in nine games has set alarm bells ringing in the boardroom.

QPR fans are full of respect for what Warnock has achieved at the club. However, after years without top flight football, they don't want to lose that status after just one season. They want to stay in the big time for the foreseeable future. So Warnock is no more, but who will replace the former Sheffield United man in the dugout at Loftus Road? Here I am going to look at the early runners and riders.

Mark Hughes

The former Blackburn Rovers and Fulham gaffer has been installed as the bookies favourite and he would certainly get to grips with the Rs leaky defence. The first thing he did at Blackburn was get the defence organised and he served them well. Blackburn fans would love to have him back at Ewood Park but Tony Fernandes could allow Hughes to realise his dreams of winning trophies by throwing a bucket load of cash at the situation.

Gianfranco Zola

Some felt the former West Ham boss and Chelsea legend was harshly treated at Upton Park in his first managerial role. He had the Hammers playing some great football but ultimately results didn't go his way. Having the two chuckle brothers take over during his time in charge didn't help though with their constant digs in the media. He knows the game inside out, everyone loves him and he has an extensive knowledge of players. However, it's still a risk. Is it one worth taking? I'm not sure at this moment in time.

Rafa Benitez

The former Liverpool and Champions League winner loves the English game and would love another crack at winning the Premier League. Whether QPR could ever reach those heights is debatable but there's nothing wrong in having ambition. Benitez gave Liverpool fans some of their best nights of their lives; victory in the Champions League, the FA Cup v West Ham and beating Manchester United in style at Old Trafford. With Fernandes's money, Rafa could persuade Europe's top men to arrive at Loftus Road. However, his tactics and inability to pick a settled squad infuriated a number of Liverpool fans. Personally I don't think Rafa and QPR are made for each other.

Sven Goran Eriksson

The former England coach always seems to have a knack of turning up at clubs which are flush with money. His last job at Leicester City didn't exactly go to plan, with the Foxes sacking him after a year in charge, but let's not forget what he achieved at Manchester City. Despite signings players by watching them on DVD, Sven made some great signings and led City to wins over the old enemy and a gave them a top 10 finish. His failures with England may haunt him but Sven is a decent manager with the ability to attract players. However, it would be strange to appoint a manager who was recently struggling in the Championship.

Guus Hiddink

Hiddink was a huge hit at Chelsea and is respected around the world. Roman Abramovich appointed him as caretaker boss in 2009 and he clinched the FA Cup for the Blues. However, even Roman's millions failed to persuade Hiddink to leave the national job with Russia for Chelsea. Currently on the sidelines after leaving the Turkish national side, I think everyone would be excited by his arrival.

Steve Bruce

While everyone would be excited to see Hiddink arrive, I'm not sure Steve Bruce's appointment would be given the same response. The former Sunderland boss has had a few clubs now and although things always start out well, they always seem to deterioate shortly after. He would probably have an immediate impact at the Rs and save them from the drop, but it wouldn't be long until they were in this position again.

Other names in the frame include Claudio Ranieri, Didier Deschamps, Jurgen Klinsmann, Roy Keane, Gordon Strachan, Ruud Gullit, Kevin Keegan and as ever Alan Curbishley. Personally I think Hiddink would be the pick of the bunch, followed by Mark Hughes, but who would you like to see in the dugout as Loftus Road?

With a few weeks left of the transfer window to go, surely Mr Fernandes will want a new face in charge soon in order to give his men the finest opportunity of staying up. I expect an appointment will be made sooner rather than later.

Whatever your views we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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