Queens Park Rangers supporters will be hoping for much better from their side when the new Championship campaign gets underway in August.
The Hoops struggled for the vast majority of the 2016/17 season, eventually finishing 18th in the division under the stewardship of former Blackpool and Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway, who replaced the sacked Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink back in November.
The Dutchman had led the side into the new season but could only manage five wins from their first 16 games of the campaign, with 54-year-old Holloway coming in and leading the side to safety, despite losing seven of their last eight league matches.
Nonetheless, with a full pre-season to come and a summer transfer window to delve into, there may well be renewed optimism around Loftus Road that the club can compete in the top half of the table, although it’s evident that reinforcements will be needed this summer to do just that.
And that is why Holloway should seriously consider a deal for out-of-contract star Hope Akpan, who was released from Blackburn Rovers at the end of the season after two years at Ewood Park.
The 25-year-old played 25 times for Tony Mowbray’s side but was unable to keep them in the second tier, going down on the final day of the season, yet arguably showed glimpses of midfield quality which could be invaluable for QPR next term.
The former Crawley Town and Reading man is aerially very strong and reasonably comfortable with the ball at his feet, and although his passing isn’t as good as it could be, Akpan certainly has the potential to improve that facet of his game.
Ultimately though, this would be a good move for QPR given that it would be a free transfer and likely wouldn’t put too much of a dent into their wage bill, and this is important given that the West London outfit could be faced with a Financial Fair Play fine this summer.
It has been reported that the club could be forced to pay a £58 million fine for breaching FFP regulations, which would obviously impact their chances of spending transfer fees on players in the coming window, and perhaps many more after that.
Thus, free transfers could be the way to go for Holloway and his QPR side, and with Akpan having had experience at Championship level with Blackburn, as well as at top-flight level with Reading, he could be an ideal player to bring in to bolster the midfield ranks at Loftus Road.