Talking point: Premier League rocking the boat at QPR and Cardiff

In a typically tight division, Queen’s Park Rangers and Cardiff City have been the front-runners so far. QPR led from the front, their unbeaten run stretching deep into the season before Watford stole all three points from Loftus Road, whereas Cardiff have struggled in recent weeks. But now their goal, the Premier League, has interfered.

Both clubs may have to cope without their most effective centre-forwards for the rest of the campaign, with Jamie Mackie a long-term absentee for the leaders and Jay Bothroyd being heavily linked with a move to the reigning second tier champions Newcastle United.

Newcastle utilised the last January transfer window to add Leon Best as an extra resource in attack, but this season’s most impressive Championship striker may be competing with Best for his place in a Premier League squad after Bothroyd was reported to be talks with Alan Pardew’s side.

There are so many variables to these two stories.

Cardiff have already added Preston forward Jon Parkin to their squad, but a seemingly imminent deal for Everton’s James Vaughan has remained undone for weeks and Leicester City’s loan capture of Yakubu from the Merseyside club looks to have diminished the opportunity of attracting Vaughan.

It has also been reported that West Ham United striker Benni McCarthy is on the verge of signing a loan deal with QPR, a switch that may not have happened without Mackie’s injury – sustained in an FA Cup clash with Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers.

To what extent is the depth of quality at the top of the Championship a factor in what QPR and Cardiff do next in the transfer market? There are many vultures circling, waiting to pick off any further slip-ups from the current top two, particularly given the recent moving and shaking done by many clubs. So many have either kept key men or added staff that may turn out to be important protagonists in the promotion race.

Norwich City appear to have retained Paul Lambert as manager and the same can be said for Watford’s Malky McKay, while Burnley are close to bringing in Eddie Howe as their new man at the helm.

Swansea City have signed Luke Moore, impressive on loan at Derby County, to add to their options up front and Nottingham Forest will almost certainly be making moves very soon in the market. Leeds United have snapped up Andy O’Brien on a permanent basis after an excellent loan period, and then, of course, there is Yakubu’s arrival in the East Midlands. There is much cause for optimism across the whole top half of the division.

Only three will win promotion, and two of those have long been marked out by many as QPR and Cardiff.

The signs for the pacemakers are ominous, however. McCarthy would be no suitable replacement for Mackie at Loftus Road, while Parkin is no Bothroyd. What happens in the transfer market over the next two weeks will be absolutely crucial in terms of the final promotion shake-up.

So, given the gigantic assumption that Bothroyd departs South Wales for the North East next week, who should Dave Jones be chasing to maintain Cardiff’s push for the Premier League?

And what do QPR need to do to stay at the top?

All opinions welcome.

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.


  1. Michael
    January 14, 2011

    If Bothroyd does sign for Newcastle it’d fly in the face of our current transfer policy of buying players aged 25 or under. He’d be better than most of what we already have, but would he be able to replicate his Cardiff form in a team in which he was a support striker rather than the fulcrum in attack?

    • theseventytwo
      January 14, 2011

      Carrying on where we left off on Twitter (I’m always careful not to dominate peoples’ timelines!), it’s a report that took me by surprise. Saying, as I did, that it was a good move for both parties was a bit quick off the mark.

      If Newcastle do want him and do sign him, I’m not sure where they see him fitting in but there’s a wider point to be made here about the narrowing gap between the Premier League and the Championship. Bothroyd may be a Championship striker but personally I don’t think there’s quite the same distinction as there used to be.

      So if a mid-table Premier League team (with the likes of Wolves, West Brom, Birmingham all beneath them) sign one of the three best players in the Championship then the starting point is that it’s a great move for both parties. Where he fits into the team is trickier to answer, but you need so much strength in depth to prosper these days that maybe there is room for everyone.

      I’ll say again while I’m here that this post is making two huge assumptions – 1) that Bothroyd will leave and 2) that McCarthy will sign for QPR. I trust George Caulkin on there being a chance of the former and I’ve had info that the latter is imminent.

      Interesting times at the top of the Championship. Twas ever thus.

      • Michael
        January 14, 2011

        Was the gap ever really as large as was made out, I wonder? There was just as big a gulf between the Champions League qualifiers and lower-midtable as there was between that and the top end of the Championship. Nowadays, with money tighter and the parachute payments increasing for relegated teams, it’s the gap within the Championship itself I can see widening. To get back to Bothroyd, now Leon Best has scored a hat-trick, how about a straight swap?

  2. Ext R
    January 14, 2011

    Who cares about that?

    Now, back to the Championship, and QPR need to show that they are serious about getting to the Prem. We dont want too many loan players and certainly not bottom prem clubs’ rejects. Two good buys, defence and striker, and we should be able to win the league comfortably. We should have no trouble in enticing quality young players with a starting place in a prem league club the likelyhood next season.

    Dear Board, what do you think?

    • theseventytwo
      January 14, 2011

      So, putting aside the Premier League as you imply, where would you prefer them to look? The Championship (and perhaps even the top end of League One) or abroad? Any preference?

      When you say defence do you mean a replacement for Kyle Walker or something else?

      Cheers for the comment.

  3. Ext R
    January 14, 2011

    To be honest we need a full back, but would happily take one of each..Bradley Orr and Clint Hill are doing/have done brilliantly – but Clint also showed his abilities in the centre, so a left back would be the best option for me.

    I certainly wouldnt say we should ignore premiership players if they are looking to be in a starting line up or move to the capital, perhaps I’m just not so keen on Benni – lets face it, he doesn’t look in great shape does he?

    So I am really saying I am in favour of buying as opposed to loans and under 28 yrs as opposed to 30+…we are reportedly looking at a couple of lower league strikers, so we’ll see.

    • theseventytwo
      January 14, 2011

      I think January signings in the Championship are quite often players to push teams over the line, not long-term signings. That would fit with the lower league striker reports.

      The Benni thing surprised me, but maybe he’ll surprise a few too should he move.

      • LondonR
        January 15, 2011

        Agreed 72.
        The Benni thing seems like its a deal for a couple of months only. The use of a heavyweight might not be a bad idea at this point in the season. He might be passed his sell by date but probably has enough steam to see us through till the end. Im not opposed to it.

        More importantly though, QPR need a full-back/left back. Walker leaving was a blow and a replacement wont be easy to find.
        Ive also heard talk that Ledesma is back in training and that D.Shittu would be an option on loan. Im OK with both players but having loanees at QPR again is a dangerous thing, as we’ve all seen in the past.

        Best Regards.

  4. Joe VF
    January 18, 2011

    A fullback and striker/winger for squad depth would be nice, and I’ve no doubt we get at the least 2 loan signings, but its really all about Taarabt. So long as he stays fit and in form we will go up.

    • theseventytwo
      January 18, 2011

      I have sometimes wondered whether the media as a whole overplay the importance of Taarabt, but I don’t get to see QPR as often as I’d like so I can’t judge.

      What you say suggests that he is every bit as important as he would appear to the casual viewer.


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