It may not mean much due to the position they’re in, but Queens Park Rangers produced a determined fightback against London rivals Millwall last night to secure a 3-2 victory to boost their chances of a top half finish.
A poor first half of the season saw QPR flirting with the relegation zone, but since the turn of the year they’ve been in generally good form and have climbed into the mid-table pack.
But the first half of their clash with the Lions brought back memories of their early season struggles, as they found themselves two goals down at half time thanks to Jed Wallace and Mason Bennett.
Mark Warburton’s side produced a second half fightback though, with Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen’s goals on 51 and 67 minutes giving QPR a route back into the game.
Two players who perhaps surprisingly didn’t start were Ilias Chair and Sam Field, who both ended up joining the action with 20 minutes to go as the Hoops were seeking for a winner.
It paid off for the R’s in the end, as Chair supplied the corner for Jordy de Wijs to net the winner in what was a memorable comeback and one that took the club into the top half of the league.
The influence of Chair and Field when they came onto the pitch led to questions over why they didn’t actually start the game, and Warburton has explained all.
Quiz: 16 celebrities that support QPR – But do they really?
“In Sam you’ve got a player that has been injured a lot over recent months and hadn’t played much this season,” Warburton said post-match, per West London Sport.
“He played his first (back-to-back) 90s with us recently and we are easing him into games.
“I am really pleased with his performances but we have to look after him.
“The last thing I can afford to do is see a player get injured and be away from us.
“But I have to look after Sam, Ilias all of these players, Lee (Wallace) Chas (Austin) up top.”
You’d have to imagine it’s very unlikely that QPR will be making the Championship play-offs this season, so it makes complete sense to give a few first-teamers a rest if they’re not 100% fit.
Supporters want to see the likes of Chair and Field on the pitch all the time – one of them is a flair player who can create moments of magic and the other is a tenacious, hard-working player who gets up and down the pitch.
QPR are definitely better with them on the pitch but Warburton’s decision proved to be the right one in the end.