Queens Park Rangers fans will be hoping for better from their side when the new Championship season gets underway in August.
Ian Holloway’s men could only muster an 18th place finish in the second tier last season, a campaign which saw them finish just two points clear of the bottom three thanks to a run of seven defeats in their last eight games.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink began the campaign at the helm but lost his job in November, which saw former Blackpool and Crystal Palace chief Holloway take over, but fare little better in leading them to 18th place.
Nonetheless, with a full pre-season and summer transfer window to come, there is a sense of renewed optimism around Loftus Road that QPR will be better in the Championship next term, although serious reinforcements will be needed if they are to climb the table.
And one man they could take a look at is Burnley midfielder Michael Kightly, who is due to leave the Turf Moor when his contract expires at the end of the month.
The 31-year-old has spent the last three years with the Clarets following a few years at Stoke City, but has struggled to nail down a regular spot in Sean Dyche’s side, and actually spent the second half of last season on loan at Championship outfit Burton Albion.
And it’s his spell at the Pirelli Stadium, alongside the fact that he’s out of contract in a few weeks’ time, that must make him a transfer target for Holloway and QPR this season.
Kightly moved to Burton in January of this year with the clear brief to help Nigel Clough’s side retain their second tier status, and he did just that with an impressive four goals and one assist in 12 league appearances for the Brewers.
And three of those four goals turned out to be vital ones, with one the equaliser in their 2-1 win over Wolves, another the winner in their 2-1 victory over Norwich, before bagging the winner again in their 2-1 success over Leeds United.
Those goals arguably made the difference for Burton last term, and when you consider his overall record in the Championship, it goes to show what a quality player Kightly is at this level, and how important he could be for QPR.
Kightly has scored 32 goals and laid on 40 assists in just 161 appearances in the Championship, equating to a direct contribution every 168 minutes (his ratio at Burton last season was 156 minutes).
That’s a very good return for a player who looks set to be without a club in a few weeks’ time, and given that Holloway’s men only scored 52 goals last season, they are crying out for someone like Kightly to come in and bolster their attacking ranks.
The fact any deal would be free is also a big selling point for the West London side, as they could be subject to a hefty Financial Fair Play fine this summer, which would obviously impact the budget Holloway has to spend in the transfer window.
Clearly, QPR will have to strengthen this summer, not only to compete with those in the top half but to also avoid relegation, and players like Kightly, someone proven at this level who’s still producing the goods and available on a free, are exactly the sort of stars they should be looking at.
Thus, Holloway must look to offer the £850,000-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) a deal at Loftus Road this summer.