Mark Warburton has revolutionised Queens Park Rangers, but the R’s are still without a clean sheet this season – do they need to buy a new goalkeeper in January?
Only Luton and QPR have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Championship this season. QPR are a team who’ve impressed fans this season though, and Mark Warburton is quickly becoming a hero in West London.
Warburton arrived in the Summer following another dismal showing from QPR last season under Steve McLaren.
The QPR board took their time to find the right replacement and came up with former Brentford and Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton.
And the rest is history. A very brief history at that – we’re only 11 games into the season but QPR fans are predicting a strong campaign and are hopeful of a play-off push.
At times, the West London team have been unplayable. But they’ve one glaring problem which so often seems to undo them, which is their woefully unorganised defence.
Particularly true in their 3-0 defeat at Cardiff last week, the R’s defence is often found all over the place – constantly switching between a four and a five, and now between keepers.
If a defence is to be a sturdy one it needs to be able to rely on the goalkeeper behind them, and also to have a keeper that can command and organise for you at the same time.
Joe Lumley started the season at the number one at QPR but was dropped for Summer-signing Liam Kelly for the last two Championship games.
Kelly has looked rather average in his replacement, often looking nervy when the opposition have the ball in the box, and not emitting that commanding embrace that you want from your keeper.
Lumley is better in that instance, and in many more. Warburton was probably hesitant in dropping him but then he also probably felt the same in giving Kelly the chance – he’s only in his first season at the club, and will inevitably need some time to get to know his players some more.
Lumley played a full-season for QPR last year having stepped-up following the departure of Alex Smithies to Cardiff City. That experience puts him ahead of Kelly in the pecking order at QPR, and holds him in good stead to hold a starting spot until May.
Warburton may be better off spending his money elsewhere on the pitch, and allow the 24-year-old Lumley to learn in the role.