Championship

Steve McClaren’s gamble with rested squad may pay off at the weekend

Steve McClaren’s gamble with rested squad may pay off at the weekend

According to the QPR website, manager Steve McClaren plans on rotating his squad for Bristol Rovers’ visit to Loftus Road in the League Cup. 

Only time will tell if this is the right choice, as he must be torn between sticking or twisting with his starting line-up with a crucial match in the weekend.

After recording their first Championship win of the season, McClaren is faced with the dilemma of whether he rests his players or keeps the momentum going with the same side that beat Wigan at the weekend.

If The Rs’ opponents this weekend were not fellow strugglers Birmingham, McClaren may have kept a similar side to last Saturdays. But it is of paramount importance that his team is refreshed for the visit to St Andrew’s this coming Saturday, particularly as The Blues will have had a week’s rest.

The club will also be buoyed with the news that the parent clubs of Tomer Hemed and Nahki Wells, Brighton and Burnley, have granted permission for their loan players to play. While it may not be a necessity for Hemed to play after his exploits over the weekend, McClaren may want to give Wells a few minutes tonight. The Bermudan striker looked slightly behind the pace against Wigan, and giving him a runout tonight may make him sharper and move him closer to match fitness.

With such pressures on the club in the Championship this season, the League Cup will be at the back of McClaren’s mind, meaning a weakened side is a wise choice. The club will not want the distraction of a cup run while they are potentially focussing on survival this year.

Obviously it will only become clear on Saturday evening if rotating the squad after the first win of the season is a good idea by McClaren, but with such a huge fixture looming on Saturday, it looks like the right choice.

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