(never let it be said that manager Harry Redknapp is less than engaged)
After a 4th place finish in the Sky Bet Championship, Queens Park Rangers’ scoreless draw at Wigan Friday means a victory in Monday’s return leg at Loftus Road would send Rangers to a Wembley playoff final against whoever emerges from the Derby v. Brighton pairing. Even so, When Saturday Comes’ John Carter would just as soon see QPR’s campaign come to a conclusion, citing frequent turnover due to injuries and a style of play that’s been less than effervescent (“whether by necessity or managerial inclination, QPR have been tooth-achingly dull to watch for much of the season”)
Rangers’ system is to build play slowly, take few chances, dominate possession and always favour the wisdom of experience over the ebullience of youth. Fourth place or not it’s rarely been pretty to watch, causing acrimony among many fans, particularly those raised on the virtuosity of past teams. However it’s unlikely Redknapp will change much tonight, though he now has an almost entirely healthy squad to choose from.
In west London there’s been an odd feeling of ambivalence surrounding the build-up to these play-offs. Some feel that a couple more years in the Championship is in order, to rebuild properly rather than in haste — again. If promotion was just a matter of waiting for a later bus, rather than taking the one that’s at the stop right now, they’d be right. It’s likely true that if QPR lose handily, there won’t be many tears shed for a season that’s been exhausting more than enjoyable