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JFH: Must be the right time to experiment

JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink admits he is keen to experiment with his squad in preparation for next season – but only when it’s right for the team, and without making whole-sale changes.


On the eve of QPR’s trip to Cardiff City, the Rangers manager told www.qpr.co.uk: “I need to give some other players experience, but I want to give them experience in a very-strong side.

“That is the best for them. If you make too many changes and give them experience in a weaker side, it’s not right for them – it can do more harm than good.”

With the future of a number of players uncertain beyond the summer, Hasselbaink acknowledges there is a desire to give match time to members of his squad who he knows will be at Loftus Road next season. 

But he is mindful that this must be done in a thoughtful manner.


READY FOR THE CHALLENGE: Hasselbaink is looking forward to Saturday's test at Cardiff City

“You have to try to give opportunities to players with the right ideas behind them,” he added. “You can’t give opportunities for the sake of it.

“Yes, I will give people opportunities and minutes, but it has to be in the right concept.”

Russell Slade’s side have turned Cardiff City Stadium into something of a fortress this season, losing only two league games to help push them towards the edge of the play-offs.

Sitting five points behind sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday, the Bluebirds know they need a strong finish to the season. In order to add to the atmosphere for the game, Cardiff are offering every season ticket holder two free tickets for the match.

Having spent 12 months with the club as a player, Hasselbaink knows what his players can expect in south Wales – and he wants his squad to face the challenge head on. 

“It will be a test – but that’s what we want,” he said. 

“When you are a little boy, wanting to be a professional footballer, you want to play in full stadiums with a great atmosphere – and believe me, the Cardiff fans can generate a good atmosphere.

“You have to enjoy it, embrace it, and take it in your stride.”


TEAM NEWS: Gabriele Angella misses out on Saturday, but Clint Hill is available after hamstring injury

While the home side will be targeting maximum points to help their promotion push, Hasselbaink said QPR have desires of their own.

“They’ll want to win, but so do we,” he said.

“We just have to do what we have to do. We’ll prepare ourselves for our game, and how we’re going to combat their strengths.

“We’ll also work on how we’re going to best use our strengths. That is the most important thing.

“We want the mentality of going into every match being competitive – ready to fight, battle, play our football and be successful.”

Hasselbaink confirmed Clint Hill is available again after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, while Gabriele Angella (hip) and Jamie Mackie (hamstring) are out.

A late decision will be made on James Perch, who picked up a thigh strain during last weekend’s win over Charlton.