Opposition view: QPR fans expecting reaction from players against Canaries after McClaren exit
Norfolk-based QPR fan Ian Arnold has a big afternoon ahead, as he celebrates his 50th birthday and son, Sam, is the Norwich City captain's mascot for his ninth birthday.
Steve McClaren’s gone, are you happy with the decision?
Before the last game against Norwich, McClaren had just turned round a disastrous start with four wins in five and it looked as though getting an experienced ‘coaching’ manager to work with and improve the younger players was going to pay off. However, the abysmal run since Boxing day really meant that the pressure was on and losing to Rotherham and Bolton at home in the last two home games was the icing on a particularly poor cake and although we have gone through a few managers there wont be many QPR fans unhappy with the decision
Just one win in 15 league games, what was the big problem?
I don’t get to many games but now with the red button I’ve watched as many as possible although mostly through my fingers with gritted teeth. I follow a lot of QPR content on Twitter and particularly the fansite Loft for Words which includes some fantastic in-depth analysis. I agree with what they have written this week. McClaren was brought in to improve the youngsters but then has not played them enough or farmed them out on loan, whilst relying on the three experienced loanees, Nahki Wells, Geoff Cameron and Tomer Hemed. This was classic short termism and relied on results going our way which unfortunately didn’t. Our good players were overworked and not firing and a lot of others seemed not good enough or not bothered. QPR are still coming to terms with the Financial Fair Play ruling meaning going forward we will have to work on a very strict budget
Which direction are you hoping the club will go with their new appointment, do you have a favoured candidate?
I think the direction the club were supposed to be going was the correct one. Coach the younger players, unearth some gems from the lower leagues, play attractive football and above all stay within the FFP guidelines. That means we need to work within this remit and find a manager who can do it. As a fan we always love to have someone who has a link with our club so that could mean Gareth Ainsworth (Wycombe) or Kenny Jackett (Portsmouth). The bookies seem to favour Tim Sherwood but I worry he might be in it for himself, his own project although he has successfully worked with director of football Les Ferdinand and academy director Chris Ramsey at Tottenham. I would hope whoever gets the job is given a good amount of time by both the fans and the board.
Do you expect the change to create a ‘bounce’ and allow the players more freedom at Carrow Road?
Yes, but then as we have only won once since beating Ipswich on Boxing day (you’re welcome) any positive results in the next seven games will be considered a ‘bounce.’I’m not confident that it will come in this game though. I imagine that the players will want to prove a point and hopefully this will be a lot tougher game for Norwich than it should be if you look at the form guide.
Have any of the players impressed so far this season?
Joe Lumley in goal has come in and played really well and at only 24 will only get better, as will Eberechi Eze who was out on loan last season, interestingly at Wycombe with Gareth Ainsworth, has played 40 games and has shown some flashes of talent. The ‘BFG’ Toni Leinster has come over from the lower leagues in Germany and looked like a good Championship player, surely Daniel Farke must have looked at him? The standout player though has been Luke Freeman, he has been excellent, his performance against Leeds, the one game we have won this year (1-0), was outstanding. I imagine that game alone will have won him player of the season and unfortunately for us a summer transfer.
Any who you would expect to improve now that McClaren has gone?
Any of the players who feel McClaren did not give them a fair chance will be up for it. Recently winger Bright Osayi-Samuel has been playing well off the bench but this has not been followed up with selection in the starting line-up. I would like to think he might have something to prove if selected. However, with some of the recent poor performances it would be difficult for a lot of the players not to improve.
Have you been surprised by City’s success this season?
Yes. I get to go to a few City games every season and I thought that Norwich were vulnerable at the back and would let in too many goals to make the top two. I did think they would be in the mix for the play-offs as going forward they have looked very dangerous. The full-backs, Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis have been excellent, further forward Emi Buendia and Onal Hernandez have caused loads of problems and in Teemu Pukki they have someone who the fans and probably his teammates believe is going to score important goals even late in the game.
And finally, what’s your prediction?
Being the eternal optimist I always think QPR are going to win every game so let’s say a thrilling 3-2 for QPR. With a large group of friends and family coming to watch, including my daughter Rosie’s first game I’m hoping for bragging rights and an amazing afternoon.