This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Back-to-back defeats have halted QPR’s solid start to the season, results that have left the R’s down in 19th place in the Championship, ahead of the visit of fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic this weekend.
Rangers manager Mark Warburton will need to toughen up his defence as they look to improve on the eight goals they have conceded in their last three outings in all competitions, leaving the door open for defender Toni Leistner to possibly make a return to the starting XI after limited involvement so far this season.
So should Warburton consider recalling Leistner to the starting XI against Wigan on Saturday?
“I haven’t been particularly impressed with Barbet at times this season, so Leistner should be in with a shout.
“However, it seems evident that Warburton hasn’t got the German player firmly in his first-team plans so it’d surprise me if he was placed into the XI.
“I liked what I saw of Leistner last season, he proved to be a shrewd acquisition, looking strong in the tackle, good in the air and relatively comfortable on the ball, with his mobility one area that perhaps did let him down at times.
“Ultimately though, QPR need to maintain some form of consistency in their teams and chopping and changing at such an early stage can be detrimental – so i’d look to keep it the same this weekend, then assess after.”
“I don’t think Warburton needs to hit the panic button and change around his backline just yet.
“The QPR boss seems to believe Grant Hall and summer signing Yoann Barbet are his best options at centre-back, with the duo starting every game this season, so he needs to give them some time to form a partnership.
“Hall and Barbet should be given another chance against a Wigan side that have one just once this season and scored just three goals in four games.
“However, if they aren’t up to scratch then, he will be well within his rights to make a change.”
“After their lack-lustre defensive performance in midweek, it may be worth Warburton bringing in Leistner for Saturday’s clash with Wigan Athletic at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
“Despite featuring on 43 occasions in the Championship last season for QPR, the arrival of Yoann Barbet earlier this summer has resulted in the 29-year-old losing his place in the club’s starting eleven.
“Yet with Barbet being partly responsible for the Hoops’ defeat to Swansea City on Wednesday after needlessly giving away a second-half penalty, it could be the right time to re-introduce Leistner.
“If the former Union Berlin man can put together a string of promising performances over the coming weeks, there is no reason why the R’s cannot climb the Championship standings following a recent slump in form.”