Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Warburton believes Andre Gray will bring pace and the ability to terrorise defences as two of his main assets to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this season, speaking to West London Sport.
After playing regularly for Watford last term in their promotion-winning campaign, the 30-year-old was the victim of his own success, with the Hornets having the funds and Premier League status to recruit Emmanuel Dennis, Josh King and Ashley Fletcher in the summer, leaving former club captain Troy Deeney and fellow forward Gray out in the cold at Vicarage Road.
With this, he left Hertfordshire on deadline day to link up with QPR on a season-long loan, and alongside the likes of Scottish international Lyndon Dykes and reliable goalscorer Charlie Austin, he will be hoping to help fire the R’s to a top-six spot this season.
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They may have only finished ninth last season and nine points off the play-offs – but they had a magnificent record in the second half of that campaign and have carried on in the same vein this season – going unbeaten in all eight of their competitive league games in 2021/22 thus far.
Warburton’s side have been able to maintain this run due to their late equaliser against Reading at the weekend, with Andre Gray scoring his first goal for the club at the Select Car Leasing Stadium to make it 3-2 in the 79th minute which proved to be crucial in the end.
His manager believes he will be a threat to Championship defences all season and spoke more in-depth about the 30-year-old to West London Sport, saying: “Andre is a player I know well and he won’t mind me saying this, he will frustrate the hell out of you at times.
“He will miss from a yard and then he will score a 30-yard screamer off his weaker foot.
“But what he has got is pace, power and timing of runs and he can terrorise defences.
“When we signed him from Luton (at Brentford) he was raw but hungry and he hasn’t lost that hunger.”
Gray will be hoping to minimise the number of sitters he misses this season with how tight it’s likely to be near the top of the Championship table – and he will know how crucial it could prove to be if golden chances go to waste.
The one good thing for the 30-year-old is the fact QPR won’t be relying heavily on him to score – because he will have the likes of Charlie Austin and Lyndon Dykes there to bag the odd goal and help to keep the R’s in the running for the top six.
Put it this way, it’s better to have three players scoring 10 goals each in the Championship than one scoring 20, especially with injuries likely to creep in and you could even say the trio are capable of scoring more than 10.
Austin scored seven in just 21 league appearances during the second half of last season, Dykes bagged 12 and is only likely to improve with another year of second-tier experience under his belt and Gray has a decent track record over his career despite not scoring much for Watford in the last 12 months.
They also have the likes of Rob Dickie and captain Stefan Johansen to chip in, so Gray is in a good place right now and he did well to get himself in the right position to score a debut goal at the weekend.