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Opposition Lowdown: Michael Beale’s QPR

Reading take on QPR in a battle between the blue and white hoops under the floodlights in West London this Friday evening. Steve takes a look at the opposition.

Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship - Loftus Road Photo by Kieran Cleeves/PA Images via Getty Images


Queens Park Rangers finished last season 11th place in the Championship, having recorded 19 wins throughout the season. They have had a strong start to their current campaign, sitting in fourth place having seen six wins, three draws and three losses so far. Their form away from home has been stronger than at home at Loftus Road, with Rangers picking up 13 of their 21 points on their travels.

Last season’s fixtures saw a thrilling 3-3 draw between the two sides at the SCL Stadium in September, before QPR hammered Reading 4-0 at Loftus Road in January.

The boss

Michael Beale: Beale was appointed QPR manager in June this year following Mark Warburton’s departure from Loftus Road at the end of his contract last season. Beale joined Rangers from Aston Villa where he was one of Steven Gerrard’s assistant managers alongside Gary McAllister.

He started his playing career at Charlton but retired from playing at the age of 21 to focus on a career in coaching. He took on roles with both Chelsea and Liverpool academies before taking up his first assistant manager role in Brazil with Sao Paulo. In 2018 he joined up with Steven Gerrard as one of his assistant managers at Rangers before following him to Aston Villa in 2021.

The QPR job is Beale’s first stint as a manager in his own right and he will be pleased with the solid start to his career in management with QPR currently sitting fourth in the table. Beale says he likes his teams play on the front foot with high intensity.

Bristol City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images


QPR have had to rely on free transfers and loan signings for their incomings this summer. They have managed to bring in three defenders on free transfers with centre backs Jake Clarke-Salter and Leon Balogun joining following their release from Chelsea and Rangers, and left back Kenneth Paal joining following his release from PEC Zwolle.

QPR have made four loan signings from Premier League clubs with right back Ethan Laird (Manchester United), midfielders Taylor Richards (Brighton and Hove Albion) and Tim Iroegbunam (Aston Villa) and forward Tyler Roberts (Leeds United) all joining for the season.

In terms of outgoings, centre back Jordy de Wijs joined Fortuna Dusseldorf for an undisclosed fee following a successful loan last season. Yoann Barbet, Charlie Austin, Dominic Ball, Moses Odubajo and David Marshall all left Rangers following the conclusion of their contracts.

Forward Chris Willock is a major doubt for this Friday’s game after he was forced off in QPR’s midweek game with Sheffield United with a hamstring injury. Goalkeeper Seny Dieng is also a doubt for the game having picked up a thigh injury.

Expected line-up

Dieng, Laird, Dunne, Balogun, Paal, Dozzell, Amos, Field, Roberts, Chair, Dykes

Key player

Lyndon Dykes: Scottish striker Dykes joined QPR from Livingston in August 2020 for a reported fee of £2m. Born in Queensland, Dykes started his football career in Australia, having previously played Rugby League.

Queens Park Rangers v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Dykes made his name in football up in Scotland where he started out at Queen of the South, making his debut in 2016. He went on to join Livingston in 2019, scoring 12 goals in his first season with the club. Dykes secured a move to England in 2020, with Livingston securing a record transfer fee for his sale.

He made his QPR debut in September that year, scoring 12 goals in his first season, topping the goalscoring charts for the club. Dykes is a full Scotland international who currently holds 25 caps for his country, with eight goals to his name. Standing at 6ft2 tall, Dykes is a physical striker who is strong in the air.

One to watch

Ilias Chair: Moroccan midfielder Chair signed for QPR in January 2017 from Belgian side Lierse, making his Rangers debut in August of that year and scoring his first goal for the club in May 2018.

Chair signed on loan for Stevenage for the second half of the 2018/19 season, scoring six goals for the club. He became more of a first-team regular upon his return to QPR and has gone on to make 163 appearances for the club.

He is a full Moroccan international, having made his debut in June 2021 and will be hoping to make the trip to Qatar to represent his country in the World Cup next month. The diminutive 5ft2 midfielder is a tricky attacking threat who usually plays in the number 10 role and likes to shoot from range.