Ian Holloway’s sacking as QPR manager has divided opinion among fans and looks harsh after the steady job he did since returning to Loftus Road for a second spell as manager.
Rangers’ owners have turned to former England boss Steve McClaren, whose appointment is likely to be confirmed soon.
It’s a bold call by the club, but could it backfire? There is a strong case for saying Holloway was doing a decent job in the circumstances.
Holloway, who had a year remaining on his contract, has worked in difficult circumstances since his return to the west London club.
After replacing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2016, he was aware that the budget was being reduced and he would have to cut his cloth accordingly. He did so, guiding Rangers to a 16th-place finish in the Championship, comfortably clear of relegation danger.
At a club plagued by ill-judged signings over the years, QPR have made some good acquisitions since Holloway’s appointment – spending considerably less money. Josh Scowen, a free transfer from Barnsley, and Luke Freeman, a bargain buy from Bristol City, have been key players. And Matt Smith has been an increasingly influential presence up front.
The kids are alright
A large part of Holloway’s brief was to bring through young players. He has done so, with the likes of Ebere Eze, Paul Smyth, Ilias Chair, Aramide Oteh and Osman Kakay all impressing this season. Darnell Furlong has also been in great form since returning to the side.
Are QPR that far away from being a side capable of finishing in the top half and potentially challenging for the play-offs? Smith has done a stellar job up front while Conor Washington and Idrissa Sylla have failed to impress, but with a better option Holloway’s side would surely have finished higher up the table. It could be argued that Rangers are just a decent striker away from being a good Championship side.