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Warburton calls for strong finish

MARK Warburton has called on his players to “top last year’s tally” and finish the campaign as strongly as possible.

Last season Rangers ended the season with 58 points. The R’s currently have 56 points with six fixtures remaining – and the manager is eager to see his charges continue the fine form which has seen them move swiftly up the table since the turn of the year.

QPR have amassed 35 points in 18 games in 2021 – a figure only bettered by Norwich, Watford and Barnsley – and Warburton wants that momentum to continue for the remaining fixtures.

“Our aim has to be to beat last year’s tally and see where that takes us,” Warburton said on the eve of Rangers’ trip to relegation-threatened Rotherham United.

“If we can keep moving forward as a club then we will be in a good place.”

And Warburton is confident his side will match the desire of the Millers. Rotherham are six adrift of safety but have three games in hand on fourth-from-bottom Coventry.

“Our players are representing QPR and have got a responsibility every time they pull the jersey on,” said Warburton. “We have to prepare for another very tough game against a team fighting for survival.”

Rangers head into this game on the back of an impressive 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, not that they had much time to enjoy the performance.

“The mood is good but the games are coming thick and fast, so we enjoyed that result for about five minutes before our attention turned to Rotherham very quickly,” said Warburton.

“Like Saturday, we face another opponent who are fighting for survival. They have got games in hand and face Coventry on Thursday, and then Birmingham on Sunday, so I have no idea what team we will face but we are preparing for their strongest.”

Due to postponed fixtures, Paul Warne’s men face the unenviable task of playing four matches in seven days, but Warburton knows it will be a difficult challenge for his men.

“Paul Warne has a very genuine and clear passion for the club,” said the R’s chief.

“He deserves an enormous amount of respect because he is fighting against clubs who have significantly more spending power, so he has to maximise what he has and use the recruitment market very shrewdly, and he has done that.

“We have no doubt about their quality and their fighting spirt, so we know what we face and we are ready for it.”

Lyndon Dykes could lead the line again after netting four goals in his last four outings for QPR, and Warburton feels the experience of the first half of the campaign is benefitting the Scotland striker.

“He never had an academy education, as many of the boys have done,” Warburton explained.

“They have played a variety of games, experiencing different challenges and learning the techniques.

"Lyndon hasn’t had that luxury, so he is playing catch up but at the same time he is using his physical talents and his desire to learn to the best of his ability – and he is having a real impact.

“He deserves so much credit, and the good news for us is that there is loads more to come.”

Geoff Cameron is a doubt for the trip to South Yorkshire due to a knock which has seen him sit out the last two fixtures while Charlie Austin serves the second match of his three-game ban.

Lyndon deserves so much credit.

Mark Warburton
Dykes scored his second of the afternoon with a well-directed header.