With those at the top of the table experiencing an autumnal crisis at the moment and Middlesbrough taking dramatic steps to offset this earlier today, it was my chance to assess the progress of one of the pretenders last night. Queen’s Park Rangers’ start to the season had been sluggish, with too many stalemates peppering their progress, but a notable win at Cardiff and hefty hammerings of Barnsley and Preston have followed – and the Super Hoops are now looking dangerous.
Forward thinkers such as Jay Simpson, Adel Taarabt and Wayne Routledge will always stand out in Championship climes and, sitting behind the goal in Row A of the upper tier for their 4-1 defeat of a woeful Reading side, I was treated to a dynamic striking display, full of perpetual movement from the trio. Taarabt has a reputation for overdoing the stepovers, but Jim Magilton seems to have instilled a discipline to his play that was lacking at Spurs. Routledge produced a classic performance in a free role behind Simpson; he seems more diminutive, but more threatening than ever; and an easy-on-the-eye line-up is complemented by the calmness in possession of big signing Alejandro Faurlin and the languid class of Ákos Buzsáky. Ben Watson’s evening was cut ridiculously short by a pettifogging referee, but his power alongside his colleagues’ more mercurial talents makes for a near perfect recipe.
Elsewhere, Radek Černý is as good a goalkeeper as there is in the Championship and it’s perhaps only at the back that Rangers aren’t quite in possession of the requisite armoury. Jimmy Kébé tormented Gary Borrowdale all second half and Peter Ramage looks lanky and pedestrian. A centre half duo of Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gorkšs will always be muscular but might be found out by pacier strikers. In summary though, I was enormously impressed by the Rs and this scoring streak promises much for the seven months ahead.