Everton will be traveling to Loftus Road this weekend to take on Queens Park Rangers in a Premier League fixture. We spoke with Mike, the fantastic editor over at the blog QPR Report, who kindly answered a few of our questions ahead of the game. Click here to read the Q&A we did for them on their blog.
RBM - Manager Mark Hughes brought in twelve new players over the summer transfer window, that's enough for a whole new lineup! Was he trying to send some kind of message to the remaining players that change throughout the ranks was required, especially after the poor finish at the end of last season?
QR - QPR Fans knew we needed strengthening...But here maybe went too far - and we STILL didn't sign the dominant defender we knew we needed (and admittedly tried for).The signing of England International Goalie Green was to improve over Paddy Kenny. But when Green showed some of the nerves, he's known for, we went out and bought a second class goalie. He may be an improvement, but what a waste of money on Green then.
RBM - What have relations been like between upper management at Loftus Road and the fans? Fans must have been excited to see CEO Phil Beard splash all that cash this summer?
QR - The Upper Management is a breath of Fresh Air after the Briatore-Ecclestone "Fans Don't Really Matter" approach - or his predecessor Gianni Paladini - who attracted some acolytes and many critics. What Fernandes does NOT have is Experience running a football club.
RBM - Now coming to this season, it all seems to be going awry. What is going on, what's behind the poor start?
QR - The Word of the Day is "Gel." We keep hearing it. "Takes time to gel...."
We also keep hearing that Hughes is a "Slow starter" - I think that's a pretty pathetic answer.
Partly a question of confidence: As you well know: If you win, you get the confidence and so forth. Some bad luck; some injuries in defense especially.
RBM - You must be getting tired of hearing this, but is Mark Hughes' position as gaffer under threat? Will Tony Fernandes give him the year? How have the two been getting along?
QR - Fernandes seems to support Hughes a lot more than I would - and has repeatedly reaffirmed his support for the Manager. Our Beloved Former chairman Flavio Briatore who went through managers at a truly mind boggling rate. Hughes is probably helped that he's Fernandes man, so will be concession to axe. Also there's an entire infrastructure being built around Hughes - as QPR Develop an academy and Premiership scouting infrastructure. These are Hughes' appointees and axing Hughes will be expensive. And he definitely had a record at Blackburn and Fulham.
On the other hand, we REALLY can't afford to go down. And I personally - although many bitterly oppose - would not mind having Redknapp if Hughes should go. Aside from Redknapp, hard to see who would be an improvement. (I've long admired Everton's manager, and hoped he'd want a change after a decade. But obviously that's not going to happen
RBM - Ryan Nelsen recently commented "Adel is very easy on the eye. He can create stuff out of nothing," in reference to midfielder Adel Taarabt. How important a role does Taarabt play in the QPR midfield? Who else should we be watching out for on Sunday?
QR - Taarabt - If he plays and Hughes hadn't played him much till recently. Also Granero and Faurlin...Also Hoilett - who doesn't get much of a look in so far. The proverbial "On Paper" we have a lot of class players - Park, Zamora and Cisse...But...
RBM - What formation do you expect Hughes to line his boys up in this weekend? How about a score prediction?
QR - Score Prediction: QPR 1 Everton 3.... But if only QPR can take the lead - rather than let in an early goal. No question we have a lot of class players
Thank you very much: Good luck to Everton (after Sunday) - Good memories of a young Everton and with Harvey, Ball and Kendall...and then with Bob Latchford and Dave Thomas! and then again in the mid-1980s as Champions... Just too-often in the shadows of that other Liverpool team