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Championship 2015-16 season preview: Queens Park Rangers

Sports Mole previews the upcoming 2015-16 Championship season from a Queens Park Rangers perspective.

Gone are the fame-hungry players dragging the club to the ground, and in come a raft of young and hungry players looking to prove themselves. At least, that's what Queens Park Rangers supporters will be hoping on the eve of the new campaign.

Relegation from the Premier League would have hurt last time out, particularly in the manner it came about once again. Now Chris Ramsey, a man who knows the West London outfit's academy better than any other, is tasked with providing some stability at the very least.

Here, Sports Mole assesses whether QPR have what it takes to earn an instant return to the top flight, or if promotion remains a step too far for a squad seemingly in transition.


In

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Bristol City), Ben Gladwin (Swindon Town), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Jamie Mackie (Nottingham Forest), Joseph N'Guessan (Stevenage), Sebastian Polter (Mainz 05), Tjaronn Chery (Groningen), James Perch (Wigan Athletic), Oscar Gobern (Huddersfield Town), Paul Konchesky (Leicester City, season-long loan)

Out

Bruno Andrade (Released), Joey Barton (Released), Richard Dunne (Released), Rio Ferdinand (Retired), Jordan Gibbons (Yeovil Town), Brian Murphy (released), Jamie Sendles-White (Released), Adel Taarabt (Benfica), Shaun Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), Bobby Zamora (Brighton & Hove Albion), Max Ehmer (Gillingham), Coll Donaldson (Dundee United), Alex McCarthy (Crystal Palace), Steven Caulker (Southampton, season-long loan), Michael Harriman (Wycombe Wanderers, short-term loan)

Last season - 20th in Premier League



Manager - Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey manager of QPR looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur at Loftus Road on March 7, 2015© Getty Images

"Think I have got my dream manager," owner Tony Fernandes tweeted back in February. "Not what anyone thinks. Take a while. Still a bit to go but I'm very happy. Press all wrong." The departure of boss Harry Redknapp earlier that month hardly came as the greatest surprise, even if the reasoning behind his exit did. Dodgy knees proved to spell the end of the Englishman's ill-fated time in charge, allowing surprise candidate Ramsey to take over on a permanent basis.

The untried 53-year-old won fewer than a third of his games in charge at the tail end of last season, but it must be remembered that QPR were a fast-sinking ship at that stage. With the right backing, and with plenty of support from the stands, Ramsey could be exactly the man needed to help turn around the Hoops' fortunes.


Key Player - Jamie Mackie

QPR have made some shrewd signings to date, bringing in impressive League One duo Luongo and Gladwin from Swindon, while also strengthening elsewhere thanks to the additions of Chery and Perch. It is the arrival of Mackie, though - a man who spent three years at Loftus Road earlier in his career - that could prove to be a real diamond signing.

Mackie certainly has a point to prove after being let go by fellow Championship side Forest earlier this summer, but his never-say-die attitude is certain to win the backing of supporters right from the off. Having scored 18 goals for the R's during his last spell at the club, the 29-year-old - who should be in the peak of his career - will be looking to find the goals to fire his side up the table.

Jamie Mackie of QPR looks on during the pre season friendly match between Queens Park Rangers and Dundee United at The Hive on July 22, 2015© Getty Images


Possible starting lineup

Green; Perch, Onuoha, Hill, Suk-young; Faurlin, Luongo; Phillips, Mackie, Hoilett; Austin

First game: Charlton Athletic (A), Full fixture list



Sports Mole says

The "bad eggs" may have been moved on during the off-season, with hard workers such as Mackie, Gladwin and Luongo coming in, but QPR are still likely to lose some considerable talent in the shape of Leroy Fer, Matt Phillips, Charlie Austin and Rob Green before the window closes. For now the latter appears to be staying put, which will be a huge boost to the Londoners' promotion push.

Expectation levels are considerably lower around Loftus Road compared to recent seasons - something which could just work in Ramsey's favour. QPR being QPR, there is a lot of margin for things to go wrong, of course, but an injection of fresh faces to the squad will surely only work in Rangers' favour as they embark on escaping the second tier at the first time of asking once again.

Prediction - 3rd

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A general view shows Queens Park Rangers stadium ahead of the English Premier football match against Liverpool at Loftus Road in London on December 30, 2012
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
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· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
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EQUESTRIAN
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> Today's schedule in full
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