Thursday, 21 April 2011

Warnock's biggest test will be making Adel a Premier hit

QPR look like being the first team through the door into next season's Premier League after an outstanding season under Neil Warnock.
It's taken a while, but after a 15-year spell out of the top flight - even dipping down to League One for three seasons - Rangers look to be finally heading back.
The club that in the 1980s and 1990s reached two Wembley finals, finished in the top five three times and produced England stars Les Ferdinand, David Seaman, Paul Parker, Andy Sinton, Terry Fenwick and David Bardsley has spent too long outside the big time.
Happy Rangers... Talented Adel Taarabt with manager Neil Warnock
Happy Rangers... Talented Adel Taarabt with manager Neil Warnock
But they will be relishing their promotion from the Championship as soon as it is confirmed within the next week or so. Joy has been thin on the ground at Loftus Road since Ray Wilkins took Rangers down back in 1996.

Back then, they mistakenly thought their stay in the second tier would be a short one. And in the years since QPR fans have learned to take nothing for granted.
A win on Saturday at second-placed Cardiff - which is no simple task - will see the West London club back to the Premier League and immediately they will be wondering how they will fare next season.
Well, looking around the division, there probably isn't too much to scare them below the top 10 and at least one promoted team has survived in every season since 1997-98, when Crystal Palace, Barnsley and Bolton all made an instant return to the Championship.
First of all, they will fancy taking at least seven points from the sides promoted alongside them. The cliché that points at "a huge gulf" between the top two divisions is mythical.
After all, will a side like QPR really be all that frightened by the likes of Wigan, West Ham, Birmingham, Blackburn and Wolves?
Former Fulham boss Chris Coleman once said that every manager of a smaller club looks at the fixture list at the start of the season and says: "Right, where am I going to get 11 wins from?"
Most would deny that, but it's a fact that 33 points, plus a few draws along the way, will see you safe from trouble in most years. It's no different to when a tennis or snooker player focuses on his or her half of the draw when plotting a route to a final.
Then there's Adel Taarabt. He looks like one of the finest talents to have graced a football pitch outside the top division, but how will he fare next term?
Plenty of sides discover that the sophistication of the Premier League means they often can't accommodate a flair player in their line-up.
That's why down the years players like Kris Commons, Richard Sneekes and Jason Koumas have been sacrificed by promoted teams and ended up back in the league below.
Managing Taarabt's talent in the Premier League, where most players and managers will soon get to know about him, will be hard for Warnock.
And what about the manager himself? He may be very experienced but two previous spells in the big time with Notts County and Sheffield United have lasted just one campaign.
He has much to prove at the highest level. Yet he will know he has the weight of momentum on his side, and with a bit of luck - also some of Lakshmi Mittal's billions to spend in the transfer market.

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