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Beale: Pre-season provides clarity

MICHAEL Beale described QPR’s 2-0 win over Uxbridge on Saturday as 'a good run-out', while explaining how the pre-season period is being used to give his squad clarity ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

The R’s boss made 11 changes at the break, providing 20 players with 45 minutes of action while Ilias Chair and Rob Dickie played 35 minutes of the second half, with Rafferty Pedder and Joseph Ajose getting the final ten minutes of play.

Charlie Kelman and an own-goal proved the difference between the sides in this behind-closed-doors fixture at Heston, and Beale said: “It was a good run-out. 

“I’d like to say a big thank you to Uxbridge for coming. I have known their manager Danny Edwards for 15 or 16 years, and we were delighted to have this game behind closed doors to give the players their first 45 minutes.

“It was important for the boys after seven or eight days to play against someone else. Obviously when you are training, everyone is getting the information so it was important to play against a team that don’t know what you are trying to do. 

“It was also important mentally for the boys to get that first 45 minutes in their legs. Everyone involved came through fit and healthy which was good.”

QPR lined up in a 4-3-2-1 formation but Beale stressed that is likely to be adapted over the course of the coming campaign.

“The formation will be very, very flexible,” he explained. “It will be a four (at the back) sometimes, three at others. It will be about getting the best players for each game on the pitch and playing in the right areas. 

“At the moment our squad isn’t fully formed. I’ve not seen Chris [Willock] or Lyndon [Dykes], we are looking to do one or two bits in the transfer market and we are probably two or three weeks from the squad looking how we want it to look. 

“In the meantime, the boys have done really well. Their attitude has been first class and the young boys have shown me one or two things.”

One player who caught the eye of Beale was centre-back Joe Gubbins. The 20-year-old made his debut for the club in January 2020 in the FA Cup against Swansea before spending time on loan at Oxford City, Aldershot and, most recently, Southend.

“I was really pleased with Joe today, I was delighted with him,” Beale said. “Jake (Clarke-Salter) played in the first half and did really well, and then Joe replicated that in the second half. That’s what you want to see.”

Beale not only saw his players get match minutes under their belt, he was also able to identify what further areas require work when it comes to the style of play he is looking to implement at Loftus Road.

“We talk about giving the players clarity because clarity gives you peace of mind,” he explained. “At the moment, there are a lot of new ideas coming in. You can see they are taking some bits on, and for some bits they need a little bit of help. 

“That’s what pre-season is good for. They are getting used to a new voice and new ideas, and that will take a little bit of time.”

Chair returned to Heston on Thursday, ahead of schedule, due to his desire to get back involved. 

“Ilias looks in great condition,” Beale commented. “People that have worked with him longer than me have said it is the best they have seen him come back for pre-season, which is great.”

Dickie played the same amount of time as Chair as he builds his fitness following his hamstring injury at the end of last season.

Luke Amos and Sam Field didn’t feature in the match, and Beale explained: “They have both got slight knocks. They will be back in training very soon, Sam at the start of next week and Luke hopefully by the end of it. 

“It’s nothing major for either of them, nothing that will knock them back, we just didn’t want to take any risks with them.”

Dykes (thigh) and Willock (hamstring) also missed out as they recover from their respective injuries, and Beale provided an update on the pair

“Lyndon will be joining the group on Monday along with Seny [Dieng] and Ozzie [Kakay],” he said. 

“Lyndon is in a great place and actually came back a day early today to do some running which is a fantastic attitude, and we are really pleased with that. 

“Chris is probably three weeks away from joining the group.”

Reflecting on pre-season so far, Beale said: “Everything is going well. The return of the internationals gives me more players to look at and we are working hard behind the scenes to bring one or two more in. 

“It has been a good ten days for the young players. As a few more of the senior players return it is important that the youngsters continue to show the same level of confidence and application because pre-season for a young player is vital. 

“It can be the most important period in terms of impressing, whether that is staying in-house or getting a better loan. 

“We will have a really good week now leading into Crawley which will be a bigger test in front of fans, and then we will get across to Germany and continue the work. 

“It’s a case of so far, so good - the staff have been excellent and the players’ attitude has been first-class.”

The formation will be very, very flexible.

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