In some ways, this little stretch after the international break can be seen as the perfect test for Mark Warburton.
Having played Fulham who were 7th heading into the clash on Friday night, they now get set to take on Nottingham Forest tonight at Loftus Road, with Sabri Lamouchi’s side currently sitting 6th in the table.
As I touched on last week, in regards to Warburton’s comments regarding ambition, if he and QPR are to be taken seriously this season, then these are the kind of games that QPR should not only be winning, but also performing in such a way as to make the rest of the league pay attention. As Ric Flair said it, ‘to be the man, you gotta beat the man’.
Turning that into a footballing context, it’s not just enough to beat teams that are at the bottom of the table, you also need to give a good account of yourself against teams at the top of it.
Whilst the display at Fulham could have been a lot better, it wasn’t exactly the worst performance of the season, and the home side’s winner came as a result of an error by Joe Lumley, giving the ball away so cheaply. If not for that, then QPR could have come away with a draw and things would be looking a whole lot better.
If they can start the game much in the same way they did against Fulham on Friday, on the front foot then they can cause Forest some real problems, who have only scored more than one goal in a game five times this season, so they aren’t a real threat when it comes to attacking. If Warburton’s side can get at them from the get-go and put them under pressure, there’s a good chance that QPR can win tonight.
Where will QPR finish this season?
And with a win against a side near the top of the table, then we can start to think about whether or not the club is really in a position to challenge for promotion, or if we need to start being more realistic in what the team can achieve.