Guest columnist Daniel Grigg explores the impact of Paddy Kenny on Queens Park Rangers’ fortunes this season.
After nine months in the football wilderness while serving a drugs ban at Sheffield United last season, Paddy Kenny’s return to form at QPR under manager Neil Warnock has been nothing short of truly remarkable.
For years considered one of the best goalkeepers in the Championship, Kenny, still aged just 32, has been given a new lease of life at the wealthy west London club, conceding just four goals in 13 league games this season.
Indeed Kenny’s influence on the team has, you could easily argue, been more important to the transformation from last season’s relative mediocrity, than Adel Taarabt’s superb return from Tottenham Hotspur or Jamie Mackie’s inspired move from Plymouth Argyle.
After all, a club in the playoff positions like Watford, have scored the same number of goals as QPR this season, while others around the top of the league come close to the decent but unspectacular total of 25 goals in 13 league matches.
No-one however comes anywhere near to the just four goals that QPR have conceded, with second placed Cardiff the next best having conceded 11 of their own.
Kenny visibly appears to communicate with his defence, offering that security and confidence in the goalkeeper which only comes with the best.
It’s not just good enough being a shot stopper, you need to command your area and settle your defence. The improvement upon last season has been enormous, with players like Kaspars Gorkss and Matthew Connolly stepping up to a higher level after a number of years at the club.
On Friday, Kenny let in a rare goal after Jon Stead’s driven shot flew straight as an arrow in off the underside of the crossbar.
Then crucially he was able to come up with a few more fine saves to keep out on loan Spurs midfielder Danny Rose and striker Stead, and keep QPR in the match before they eventually got the equaliser; Patrick Agyemang preserving the only unbeaten record in the Championship this season.
While Paddy’s influence is undoubted, fans on the Vital QPR front page poll have voted Adel Taarabt top of the shop in terms of summer signings.
The Moroccan netted 54% of the overall vote, while the closest competition came from Jamie Mackie (31%).
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