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West Bromwich Albion v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship - The Hawthorns

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Fan Focus: QPR fan Nick says ex-Sunderland man Jimmy Dunne could become “a real fans’ favourite”

Ahead of Sunderland’s Carabao Cup tie with Queens Park Rangers tonight, we spoke to QPR fan and writer Nicholas Tunney to discuss their excellent start in the Championship this season!

Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

Matthew Crichton: QPR currently sit 7th in the Championship table, is the fanbase confident that the team can mount a serious promotion push?

Nicholas Tunney: Yes I think the fans are confident of a real go at the play-offs. We have improved our league position every season since Mark Warburton took over and I think the Championship looks as weak as it has for quite a while.

I think there is real hope that QPR can challenge for the top six this term.

MC: Mark Warburton endured poor spells with both Rangers and Nottingham Forest, what factors have led to his success with QPR so far?

NT: He has been given time basically. Forest are a club who are trigger happy with their managers and I am not sure he was given a fair chance there to show his style of play.

He seems a very affable and approachable guy who players want to play for and his attractive style of play is certainly a big hit with the fans. He is, overall, well liked at the club and we are in a period of stability we haven’t had for a while.

MC: Many people remember QPR as big spenders during your last spell in the Premier League, how has the club’s strategy changed to remain competitive without focusing on high transfer fees/wages?

NT: We have basically gone from a “buying club” to a “selling club”. This is how we were in the late 1990s, developing our prized assets and selling them on for a fee. The likes of Eberechi Eze have gone from youth starlet to proven Premier League star and this is the way we are going at the moment.

It is certainly a refreshing change from the past few years and the fans are definitely on board with it.​

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Jimmy Dunne scored one goal in 14 appearances for Sunderland during a loan spell in 2019.
Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

MC: Rangers signed former Sunderland centre-back Jimmy Dunne from Burnley in the summer - how has he performed so far since his permanent switch?

NT: Personally, I am a big fan of Dunne. He has a great attitude, seems a real character and can play with both feet. He is commanding in the air, strong and good in the tackle.

And, of course, he was our penalty hero in the previous round against Everton. He has the potential to be a real fans’ favourite.

MC: Aside from Dunne, which of QPR’s summer signings have impressed you most and why?

NT: ​I really like the look of Sam McCallum, who has joined on loan from Norwich. He did well at Coventry last season but has really impressed with his attacking play from left-wing back.

He has had a few niggles since coming in but adds a potent threat and adds a different dimension to our attack.

MC: Is this purely a fitness exercise for your squad players or do you think Warburton will be thriving the chance to play a Premier League side in the quarter-finals?

NT: There is no doubt that Warburton will take this seriously in the hope of getting to the last eight. For too long now, QPR have been awful in cup competitions but the performance against Everton in round three, along with the team selection, shows that they are definitely taking this seriously.

The atmosphere was electric in that game and no doubt it will be the same on Tuesday night.

Middlesbrough v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
Mark Warburton has a 37% win percentage during his time as manager of QPR.
Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

MC: On that topic, given that you play against Forest on Friday, which 11 players do you think Warburton will select?

NT: ​I think he will go with a very strong side. He had used second-string keeper, Jordan Archer, in rounds one and two but Seny Dieng played against the Toffees.

I suspect he will go with Dieng again. So I would hazard a guess at: Dieng, Adomah, Dickie, Dunne, Barbet, McCallum, Amos, Johansen, Chair, Willock, Dykes.

MC: What style of play can Lee Johnson’s team expect to come up against?

NT: We are a very attack-minded side who have scored in every league and cup game this season. However, we are very open so we can expect goals at both ends. We are very exciting to watch so Tuesday should make for a fantastic game.

MC: Sunderland won 2-1 when the two sides last met in the League Cup at Loftus Road - what is your honest prediction of the score this time around?

NT: ​I was at that game having taken the lead through Sandro’s strike. However, I think we can reverse that scoreline into a 2-1 win for us but it should be a real nail-biter!


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