The club were relegated from the Premier League last season.
Dion Dublin was speaking to Ryan Walters…
QUEENS Park Rangers have no choice but to take the Capital One Cup seriously if they are to start earning back the faith of their fans following last season’s dismal relegation.
Make no mistake; the Hoops had a stinker as they were relegated as the Premier League’s bottom side, despite switching managers halfway through from Mark Hughes to Harry Redknapp.
For the pride of the individual players and of manager Redknapp they have to do something in this competition and try and get to the latter stages.
The Capital One Cup offers a great opportunity for managers to see how badly the players want to play for the club. It keeps your season alive, it sounds stupid so early on, but if you do just keep your toe in the water you can nick results in this competition.
It keeps the players’ shoulders pinned back and the fans alive, more revenue comes in for the clubs and more interest is generated in the football club as a whole.
The QPR players themselves won’t be happy with how it all ended last year and I predict that they will come out absolutely flying when it comes to this competition and their tie at Exeter City in the first round.
Being able to walk down the street and say they are doing okay and remain in the Capital One Cup, and that they are bouncing back from the stinker they had last season, will matter a great deal.
It is nice that the Capital One Cup is so open and that everybody has got a chance, QPR included.
All you need to do is put a run together, get the players clicking at the right time and anything can happen.
It can help a club to go on a good run in the cup. Some teams do try and focus on either the league or the cup, but if you can balance the two and have a big enough squad to keep both situations strong then you have a chance.
Some of the smaller squads really gave it a go and came up just short last season, and maybe because of injuries it didn’t quite work for them, but if you time it right, it can happen.
I don’t think QPR will be fazed by having to go to Exeter for the first round and play at the Grecians’ St James’ Park.
The League Two ground is a good place to play where the pitch is really tight and the fans are close to the pitch – but that is just like Loftus Road so the Hoops players should be used to it.
I have played down at Exeter and it is a small pitch with an enclosed stadium but that is the same for QPR playing at home so they are used to it.
The sides have actually planned a pre-season friendly at the same ground just over three weeks before the Capital One Cup tie which is a bit unfortunate because it means they probably won’t pick the same players.
As for facing Exeter, for the Hoops the task has got a little easier with City’s top-scorer last season, Jamie Cureton, moving to Cheltenham Town this week.
I played with him for a couple of seasons at Norwich and he is a goalscorer. It doesn’t matter who he is playing against he knows how to score.
Exeter need to find a replacement, and if they do they should be okay.
Dion Dublin was speaking on behalf of credit card company Capital One, sponsor of The League Cup.
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