MARK Warburton is expecting a tough test from QPR’s opening pre-season friendly on Friday night.
After a demanding week’s training, the R’s sign off their stay abroad against Austria Vienna (kick-off 6pm BST).
The R’s boss says he’ll have to manage his squad carefully as Rangers step-up their preparations for the new campaign.
“It’s been a gruelling week in which the players have worked really hard,” he told www.qpr.co.uk.
“Different players are at different stages of their progress. Some will play 30 minutes, some will play 45, some will play 75. It’s about getting it right for each individual.”
By contrast, Rangers face a Vienna side who are just over a week away from kicking-off their competitive season.
Warburton fully appreciates that’ll be a factor, adding: “Are we near them in terms of fitness and preparation? No, they’re a couple of weeks ahead of us.
“We’re looking forward to the game but we know it’s going to be a tough test and it’s important we maximise our time on the pitch.
“The game’s an important part for our pre-season preparation – the first in a series of games which will be key going into the first game of the season against Stoke City.”
Warburton also has injuries to four members of his travelling squad who won’t be risked, explaining: “We’ve lost Ilias [Chair] through concussion. He’s well thankfully but protocol means he can’t be involved.
“Lewis Walker has a quad strain, Matty Smith has a tight quad and Lee Wallace has a hip issue so we’ll be without a few players.
“They’ve worked hard this week and there’ll be a lot of tired legs out there so we need to look after them.”
With several summer signings still potentially on show, plenty of travelling R’s have jetted out for a first look at Warburton’s new-look Rangers.
Appreciating the fans' support, the manager said: “They’re paying supporters and that must never ever be forgotten.
“Whenever a player pulls on that jersey they’re representing the club and they have to be the best they can be.
“They’ll be a lot of new faces so it’ll be good for the supporters to see them and hopefully there’ll be some more in the weeks ahead.”