In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Finishing last year in 19th place of the Championship table, it would be understandable if finding Queens Park Rangers in the top half in the middle of autumn was met with some surprise.
Such has been their positive start to the season, victory in their derby clash with Brentford would have sent the Hoops into second place as we enter November, but the Bees put paid to those hopes with a 3-1 victory at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Monday night.
However, but for a former Bees employee, QPR may not be troubling the upper reaches of the standings – which they have not finished in since 2016, a year after being relegated from the Premier League.
So it is fair to say, with QPR firmly in the hunt at the top end, that Mark Warburton has had the desired effect so far in his short time as boss to date.
To put his start into context, no side had won more than QPR in the league even prior to their latest defeat, in a season where the entire top half was separated by just six points come the end of October.
That may illustrate that Warburton’s success to this point is a result of the league’s competitiveness rather than his side’s superiority, though there have been achievements to savour for the ex-Brentford manager in W12.
His team has shown an ability to win away from home – indeed, just two of their six defeats in all competitions have come on their travels.
That is in stark contrast to their previous fortunes on the road, with their final-day victory over Sheffield Wednesday last May their first away success since December 2018.
Clean sheets have deserted the team so far this year, although that shows two potential positives – with their ability to score plenty of their own (they are the league’s third-highest scorers going into the weekend trip to Leeds United), while improving their defence could, therefore, provide an immeasurable difference to the outcome of their season.
With that in mind, there is little to suggest that Warburton has not hit the ground running, as the foundations have been put in place for a tilt at promotion over the coming months.
Whether Warburton can sustain his promising start remains to be seen, but what is clear is that he has already transformed the outlook for his club during his first few months at the helm.
QPR fans, how pleased are you with Warburton’s impact? Join the discussion in the comments below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!