A new era is set to begin for Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, as Mark Warburton takes charge of his first competitive game as manager of the club, who travel to face Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.
Having limped to a 19th place finish in the Championship last season, Rangers will be expecting an improvement on that in the coming campaign, and with 14 new signings joining the club, it has been a summer of change on the pitch as well as off it.
As a result, it could be a rather different side that starts the season at Stoke to the one that ended the last one at Sheffield Wednesday in May.
Here, we’ve taken a look at who we expect Warburton to select for his first competitive QPR lineup on Saturday.
Having used a 4-4-1-1 formation for the majority of last season, it is a version of that formation that we expect Warburton and QPR to start the season with on Saturday.
In goal, the fact that Joe Lumley has kept the number one shirt ahead of new signing Liam Kelly means that we’ve gone for the 24-year-old to retain his spot in the starting lineup to begin the campaign.
In front of him, Warburton has confirmed that Grant Hall will captain the side on Saturday, so we expect him to start alongside the returning Geoff Cameron, to offer a bit of consistency at the centre of defence.
Out wide, an injury to Lee Wallace means it could be another new signing, Yoann Barbet, who fills in at left-back, while new signing Todd Kane will not feature after missing the entirety of pre-season, meaning Angel Rangel will start at right-back.
In the centre of midfield, QPR’s decision to look to sell Massimo Luongo means it could be 20-year-old Manchester City loanee Matt Smith who partners Josh Scowen, while the departures of Pawel Wszolek and Luke Freeman mean we expect that Bright Osayi-Samuel and experienced new signing Marc Pugh to be given the opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting spot out wide.
Having impressed so much last season, it looks as though Eberechi Eze has earned the chance to play that attacking midfield again in the coming season, and he should start at the bet365 Stadium.
Ahead of him, new loan signing Jordan Hugill’s Championship know-how means he will surely lead the line for Rangers on Saturday, where he will look to use his physical presence to cause trouble for a Stoke defence reeling from the recent long term injury to captain Ryan Shawcross.