Five candidates to be the next QPR manager

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 24 April 2019, 11:54

Despite losing 2-0 at Derby on Easter Monday through two late goals, Queens Park Rangers still mathematically secured their Championship status due to Rotherham’s 3-1 home loss to Birmingham.

John Eustace deserves credit for the work he has done over the interim period.

Things looked potentially dangerous after his tenure began with a disorganised display in the 4-0 loss at Norwich, but the subsequent performance at Millwall in a 0-0 draw steadied the ship before set piece proficiency secured a key 4-0 win over Swansea.

However, Eustace does not appear to be among the candidates for the permanent job, so attention turns to the recruitment process.

Click here for the Next QPR Manager Market

Director of Football Les Ferdinand has offered insight into the criteria the board are working to: somebody who can work on a low budget and develop youth.


The Sack Race have lined up five possible candidates...

Tim Sherwood

Why he should get the job

His record in the Premier League is reasonable.

Sherwood attained a 50% win ratio at Tottenham – the second-best since 1987 at the time - and played a significant part in the initial development of Harry Kane.

He then kept Aston Villa up in 2014-15; he re-energized the place and encouraged the team to play with purpose, energy and belief, steering them to safety with relative comfort and an FA Cup Final to boot.

The former Blackburn title-winning captain also has a record of getting very talented but slightly enigmatic players to perform well - Emmanuel Adebayor at Spurs and Jack Grealish at Villa - at a time when not many other managers had got those kinds of displays out of them.

Sherwood typically identifies his squad’s most technically gifted player and relieves them of defensive responsibilities, giving them the freedom to express themselves – Eberechi Eze may benefit from that kind of treatment.

Why he shouldn’t

QPR see themselves as London’s true alternative to the posh, Premier League prawn-sandwich proprietors across the capital: a working-class club that stands for togetherness and people power.

Although Sherwood is passionate, he might not necessarily slot into that type of culture.

When the Gilet-geared gaffer had a background role at Swindon Town, he was very quick to absolve himself of any responsibility when results went awry – it is difficult to imagine him doing the same thing in different circumstances.

Sherwood has a high opinion of himself and is keen to protect his image.

His mentality is deeply contrasting with QPR’s most impactful 21st-century manager, Ian Holloway, who has no interest in fashion and believes success comes from honesty and helping one another in hardship.

At a more glamorous club, Sherwood could almost get away with his own conceitedness because a larger proportion of fans are paying for the enjoyment of the technical product.

Fans who go to QPR are more likely to do so because they have an emotional commitment to the club and it is therefore more important to them that the manager has genuine appreciation for their support, can admit to his own shortcomings and empower others.

The Sack Race’s Verdict

Sherwood is not the buffoon he’s sometimes perceived as – but his appointment at QPR would lead to too much of a culture clash.

Carlos Carvalhal

Why he should get the job

He has done a reasonable job everywhere he has been.

Carvalhal had a hugely impressive impact at Sheffield Wednesday, who played by far the Championship’s most enterprising football in 2015-16, when he steered them to a Play-Off Final, before attaining another top six finish the following season.

The Portuguese boss also had a positive initial impact at Swansea; he got the Welsh club playing further up the pitch and had a strong relationship with supporters.

Carvalhal’s Championship record reads 1.58 points per game – which equates to finishing sixth over a whole campaign.

His Premier League return, meanwhile, is 1.11 points per game – that suggests had he taken over in pre-season, Swansea would have finished the previous term 13th.

Without huge funds, QPR would do well to attract a manager with Carvalhal’s record.

Why he shouldn’t

Carvalhal’s stints at his previous two clubs did not end especially positively.

The head coach’s relationship with supporters deteriorated in the final 12 months of his time at Hillsborough, when the football became slightly stale.

Then, his period at Swansea resulted in relegation following a five-game losing streak.

Plus, Carvalhal has not yet proven that he can develop young talent.

His post-Wembley Wednesday work was with proven Championship performers due to the recruitment policy, while the average age of last season’s Swans side was 29.

Carvalhal’s successors at both Wednesday and Swansea were more willing to blood academy graduates with a high sell-on value.

The Sack Race’s Verdict

Carvalhal’s record is roundly impressive relative to the calibre of coach QPR can attract – but he and the club might need to compromise their policy with regards to youth development for a deal to work.

Mark Warburton

Why he should get the job

His commitment to youth development.

Warburton was slightly harshly treated at Nottingham Forest, because the board changed the goal posts they set when they first appointed him.

Initially, the target was to keep the team in midtable whilst encouraging attractive football and nurturing young players; Warburton therefore promoted a process-driven style of play that brought rewards but also left Forest vulnerable at the back.

Then, the board dismissed the former Brentford boss because the individual errors through playing out were leading to a poor run of form, even though the team was still on course to achieve pre-season targets.

Warburton creates an environment that frees up young players and gives them the confidence to try things: flicks, tricks, positive movements and audacious passes.

His appointment could see exciting wide forwards like Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel become stars of the 2019-20 Championship campaign, when they would likely be used as substitutes under a different type of coach.

Why he shouldn’t

The pitch at the City Ground was five metres wider than it is at Loftus Road, which means Warburton found it slightly easier to implement his philosophy: to make the pitch seem as big as possible.

Because fans at W12 are closer to the pitch than they are on Trentside, they are used to engaging with the team and creating a fervent atmosphere: it can be harder to do that if the approach is possession-based, especially if there is an initial transition period.

The Sack Race’s Verdict

Warburton could do well: but the board would need to commit themselves to a long-term project and give the manager two or three transfer windows to shape his squad, whilst being brave during possible initial teething problems.

Gareth Ainsworth

Why he should get the job

Ainsworth already has a connection with QPR fans, having played for the club for seven years including the success during Ian Holloway’s first stint in charge – there is definite potential for him to start strongly.


He has so far spent seven years in charge of Wycombe Wanderers too, which shows that he can achieve managerial longevity.

After showing the power of positivity by keeping the Chairboys up in 2013-14, he led them to strong promotion push the following season, when they were denied only by a 121st minute Wembley goal and a penalty shoot-out defeat.

After two subsequent close shaves with the Play-Offs, his Wycombe side could right the wrongs of 2014-15 by winning automatic promotion before likely stabilizing in League One this term.

Ainsworth likes early balls into the box from deep and would likely get the best out of delivery expert Luke Freeman and target man Matt Smith.

He appreciates tenacity in his players and therefore should connect with former Chairboy Josh Scowen, as well as midfield dynamo Massimo Luongo.

Plus, ‘Wild Things’ has a high opinion of Matt Ingram – describing him as the best goalkeeper in League Two while at Wycombe – which would be a plus if Joe Lumley leaves this summer.

Why he shouldn’t

The average age of Wycombe’s current squad is 28, which shows that Ainsworth favours players with an old-school grounding.

He currently deploys two veteran centre-backs in Adam El-Abd and Sido Jombati, with the duo favoured for their experience, mentality and leadership qualities – similar to Joel Lynch and Toni Leistner apart from being a touch shorter.

Neither though are particularly mobile or good on the ball; and when we look at the best defenders in the Championship, they tend to be players who can distribute and operate with a high line if needed.

The minor risk with Ainsworth would be that continued heavy emphasis on a player’s attitude – a philosophy that has worked for him below the Championship – might come at the expense of quick, technically strong players who may be more suited to the level.

The Sack Race’s Verdict

Ainsworth would buy into the culture of the club better and quicker than any other candidate, which would make him our top pick – although he would need to highlight to the board how he would plan to evolve the squad and adapt to a slightly different level.

Michael Appleton

Why he should get the job

The work he did at Oxford.

Appleton did not get off to the best start at the Kassam Stadium, but having been backed by strong recruitment, he built a 2015-16 side many claim was the best in League Two.

The Yellows then attained a top half finish in League One in 2016-17, completing a journey that included various domestic cup scalps and two EFL Trophy Finals

Given the right backing and support, the former Leicester assistant can play a huge part in the development of this country’s young talent – Kemar Roofe, George Baldock and John Lundstram would not be competing at the top of the Championship without his work.

Appleton has modern methods and could do good work with the likes of Darnell Furlong, Ryan Manning and Eze.

Plus, the 43-year-old is not currently contracted to a club and would therefore not command a compensation fee.

Why he shouldn’t

Appleton’s teams always play out the back: but that approach would necessitate a squad overhaul.

Toni Leistner’s one major weakness is that he struggles to distribute with much quality – the German has two years left on his contract and is unlikely to be shifted on a reasonable wage, having been made captain after becoming the club’s only permanent senior addition last summer.

Plus, if Nahki Wells does not make his loan move from Burnley permanent, then QPR’s only contracted striker would be Matt Smith, who has only thrived when operating in the direct template that Ian Holloway employed in 2017-18.

The squad is not formed correctly for Appleton, thus the football would likely be slow and stale initially – there is a danger of QPR fans growing restless during a prolonged bedding in period.

The Sack Race’s Verdict

Appleton is a good manager and out of contract – worth considering.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Graham Westley
Graham Westley
16th February
Bet £10 Get £30 in Free Bets
Exclusive Promo Code
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&C's apply, 18+
Up to £100 in bet credits
Exclusive Promo Code
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&C's apply, 18+
Bet £10 Get £10
Exclusive Promo Code
Bonus Code: £10CHELT. 18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets no eligible. T&C's apply, 18+
Next in firing line Hottest Manager Markets

Atletico Madrid

Next Manager


Next Manager


Next Manager


Next Manager


Next Manager

Liverpool U23s

Next Manager

Manchester City

Next Manager

Manchester United

Next Manager

Paris St Germain

Next Manager


Next Manager


Next Manager

Tottenham Hotspur

Next Manager


Manager of the Year
Deposit £10 Get £60 + 100 Free Spins
New Customers from UK & IRL only. Deposits made with e-wallets are not valid for this promo. Bonus wagering x35 on eligible games. Winnings from bonus capped at  £500. Spins available after bonus is redeemed/lost. Opt in required. Full T&C’s apply. 18+
We use cookies to provide statistics that help give you the best experience of our site. By continuing to use the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more
Got It