QPR: Who will make it into QPR's 25-man squad for 2012/13?
Following the influx of new players in the close season, Mark Hughes now has a number of decisions to make in deciding who makes it into his 25-man squad for the 2012/13 season, which begins with Swansea’s visit to Loftus Road on August 18.
UEFA rules state that each Premier League club must register a 25-man squad for the forthcoming season, with eight of those players being “homegrown”. Per UEFA rules “homegrown” means a player having been registered with the FA for at least three years between the ages of 15 and 21 (this three-year spell can have been with a different club). Clubs are then free to supplement the 25-man squad with any number of players under the age of 21.
In the aftermath of the last-gasp final day loss to Manchester City, Mark Hughes promised that QPR would never be in such a position again whilst he was at the helm. Tony Fernandes has backed Hughes in the transfer market again, following their January shopping spree, with the purchases of Rob Green, Ryan Nelsen, Ji –Sung Park, Andrew Johnson, Samba Diakite and Fabio (on loan from Manchester United). With Junior Hoillett’s move from Blackburn pending the formality of a work permit, the club heavily linked with a move for Jermain Defoe and at least one new defender on Mark Hughes's shopping list, we take a look at what this could mean for a number of the players already on the roster at QPR.
Were Hoillett, a defender and another striker, whether Defoe or not, to join QPR it would leave Hughes with a playing staff of 32 senior players vying to get into the 25 squad places.
With DJ Campbell, Rob Hulse, Tommy Smith and Luke Young left out of the squad that went on the recent tour of South East Asia; they are four players who may feel that their days in the blue and white hoops are numbered. Whilst QPR fans will not be surprised to see Hulse and Smith go, the majority will feel a slight sadness at DJ Campbell, a QPR fan who grew up in the area, leaving the club for a second time, again without ever getting a chance to prove his worth. Luke Young was found wanting on a couple of occasions last season but overall was a solid performer when used and could yet prove to be a valuable deputy for Nedum Onouha.
Were the four mentioned above to leave QPR, it would still leave them three players over the 25-man limit. Following the additions of Cisse, Zamora and most recently Johnson, Jay Bothroyd and Heidur Helguson are two players who may find opportunities limited. As a result at least one is unlikely to make the cut. Given Bothroyd’s previous success in the Championship, it is likely that there would be a number of clubs at that level interested.
In midfield, Hogan Ephraim and Keiron Dyer have both recently been given one year extensions by Hughes, the latter in spite of the fact that he managed only seven minutes of Premier League action last season. Both may find it difficult to break into the team, although Hughes has tried Ephraim in a more central role when used on the South East Asia tour, so he is likely to be retained as a squad player.
In defence Matthew Connolly is unlikely to feature for the R’s again. After featuring heavily in the Championship winning team of 2011, Connolly suffered an alarming loss of confidence and form, which resulted in him spending the second half of last season on loan at Reading as they stormed to the Championship title.
Assuming QPR can sign Hoillett, Defoe and a centre back (who for me in an ideal world would be Christopher Samba), the 25 would not include Hulse, Smith, Bothroyd, Helguson, Ephraim, Dyer or Connolly. Of the strikers discussed above I believe DJ Campbell deserves a chance, especially given his record of 13 Premier League goals in 31 games when at Blackpool and Luke Young still has something to offer the squad.
Whoever makes the cut, all the signs suggest 2012/13 will be a much more promising season for QPR as Hughes looks to stick to his word.
Full 25: Barton, Campbell, Cerny, Cisse, Fabio da Silva, Defoe, Derry, Diakite, Faurlin, Ferdinand, Green, Hill, Hoillett, Johnson, Mackie, Murphy, Nelsen, Onouha, Park, Samba, Taarabt, Traore, Wright-Philips, Young, Zamora
Article by Rob Hamilton
Calling all QPR fans: Do you agree with Rob's assessment? Who would fail to make the cut in your eyes? What are your hopes for the men from Loftus Road this season? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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