Jordan Hugill has scored just one goal in his last 14 Championship appearances.
Queens Park Rangers remain one of the Championship’s most prolific teams this season. They’ve outscored the likes of Fulham, Forest and Preston this season but have conceded even more – only Barnsley and Luton have worse defensive records.
Entertainment value is one thing that Mark Warburton has brought to the club.
At the start of the season, both Hugill and Nahki Wells were enjoying some of the best form of their careers. Playing up-front together, they proved to be one of the club’s best striking partnerships in years, but Warburton soon opted for one over the other, and Wells has since left the club.
Hugill provided decent back-up to Wells, who had 15 goals in all competitions before leaving for Bristol City last month. The West Ham man does a specific job and does it well when called upon, but he just can’t seem to score without his Bermudan striking partner.
The pair, or certainly true for Hugill, were better when they were playing alongside each other. They formed that classic ‘little and large’ partnership and it was hugely effective in the earlier parts of the season.
Now though, Hugill has a huge amount of pressure on him to provide the goals in the second-half of the season. He’s being deployed on his own up-front, and despite QPR creating plenty of chances, and enough of them falling to Hugill, both he and QPR just can’t seem to score at the minute – QPR are now goalless in their last three outings.
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Last night’s 0-0 draw at Swansea was a typical account of what Hugill’s season has become. When Wells donned the lone-striker role he would drop back and link up with the midfielders behind him, and that in-turn allowed Wells to run in-behind and score the goals.
But Hugill doesn’t have that same pace, and he’ll often play on the last man, waiting for balls into feet and crosses into the box. He’s not presenting himself with the same goal-scoring opportunities as before – these chances that are falling to Hugill are half-chances, and further out from goal.
QPR has proved to be on of Hugill’s more successful loan-spells in the Championship, if not his most successful. But he looks set to struggle in the run-up to the summer and that’s because he doesn’t have a strike partner.
Leading the line on your own is hard enough, and Hugill simply isn’t designed to be prolific in that role.