WEBSITE: QPR Report
|The target: A top 10 finish
Obviously the absolute sine-qua-non is staying up. But I feel totally confident that this will happen; and would be very surprised (and disappointed) if we even struggle. I'd say we have a very realistic chance of just reaching - or just missing - the top 10. And this will - finally - be the year of at least one great cup run. (something many QPR Fans have absolutely no memory of!)
|My thoughts on the gaffer...
Mark Hughes comes across, at least in his public persona, as a little unemotional. And with his club managerial moves, he's clearly shown he's highly ambitious. But his record speaks for itself (although we did only JUST scrape survival last year).
With the managerial team he's built, and the Board support he's getting, I'd imagine Hughes will probably be with QPR for several (successful) years to come. Or at least till Manchester United come calling!
|Our key man this season|
Djibril Cisse and hopefully Adel Taarabt. Both proved to be enigmas last season, with Taarabt initially struggling to replicate his form from the Championship into the Premier League, although towards the end of last season, I believe there were signs he was improving.
While Cisse’s disciplinary record leaves much to be desired, he was a goal threat every time he stayed on the field following his arrival in January.
|Youngster to watch
At QPR over the last decade-and-a-half, we haven't produced ANY youngsters who have gone on to bigger and better things. Hopefully that will change. We have three youngsters who went on our tour of Asia: Michael Doughty, Max Ehmer and Michael Harriman. Fingers crossed at least one of them will make it. If not, we always have Kieron Dyer’s return to look forward to!
|A player who must deliver
Hopefully Taarabt will move up to the genius level. I already have him down as a key player this season – and if he can recapture that magic touch he has previously displayed, then there is no doubt he will be a driving force for us.
However, if he fails to, then the question will have to be asked as to whether he can cut in the English top flight.
|Our Achilles heel
I'm not sure that we have one, but if we do it's probably the defence. Fabio da Silva’s loan arrival from Manchester United is a positive, and he has impressed during our pre-season programme, but I still think defensive reinforcements are a must if we are to consolidate our Premier League status.
|Fixture I am looking forward to the most...
The normal ones to be honest! The continuing fallout from the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand saga will ensure our clash with Chelsea is hotly contested, while I’m looking forward to fixtures against other London rivals such as Arsenal and Tottenham. Manchester United and Liverpool are always games to look forward to, and I guess so is facing Manchester City now.
|Our toughest opponents will be...
It's a cliché but it's true: they're all tough games. Whether it is Manchester City away or Reading at home, every point will be vital for us this season, and we certainly cannot afford to only focus on taking points off the big boys.
|Player we love to hate
That HAS to be John Terry. The Chelsea captain hasn’t exactly decorated himself with glory throughout his career, and last season’s race row with Anton Ferdinand means he certainly hasn’t endeared himself to QPR fans any further! It would be great if we could stick it to him and Chelsea when they come to Loftus Road in September.
|Rival player from the Premier League you'd have in your team?
QPR have got a great squad now. But obviously there are still better players out there. Realistically I'd like to have Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea – he tailed off a bit in the second half of last season but is an exciting young talent. I think we could also accommodate Robin van Persie from Arsenal if his move to Manchester United doesn't work out. Oh, and we’d also take Joe Hart in goal.
|My first choice XI
QPR fans will be genuinely flummoxed if we have a bad season. There is such a feeling of goodwill and optimism as we look forward to the season and there is really a minimal amount of pressure on Mark Hughes (It's not like at Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City where not winning the title will be deemed a failure).
So after a difficult but ultimately satisfying campaign last year, I have a feeling things will only look up for us this season.