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Wardy: It’s between the three of them

GOALKEEPER coach Gavin Ward insists ‘it can only be a good thing’ for QPR to have three challenging for the number 1 spot.

The arrival of Liam Kelly from Livingston provides stiff competition for Joe Lumley, who claimed the gloves for much of 2018/19 during a breakthrough season for the R's academy product.

And that was before Seny Dieng who, fresh from a successful stint of his own in Scotland, signed a new contract last week to commit his future with Rangers.

“From our point of view as a club and from my point of view as a coach, we’ve got three very good young goalkeepers,” Ward told www.qpr.co.uk. “That can only be a good thing and it’s my job to improve them.”

Kelly was the first of eight new players brought in by Mark Warburton so far this summer.

The Scot hasn't taken long to adjust to life in England, as Ward says: “Liam’s settled in very well, he’s a good character. He’s really open to suggestions and just wants to improve.

“He’s got a fantastic attitude and I’m sure he’ll be a great addition to the squad.”

Meanwhile, another goalkeeper who shone north of the border was one of the R’s own.

Dieng impressed whilst on loan at Dundee and was rewarded with a new two-year deal.

“It was important for Seny to go away and get some game time,” Ward added. “We knew he was going to have plenty to do and he did really well.

“He’s come back here, he’s got a new contract and now it’s between the three of them.”

Going in the opposite direction, Rangers bid farewell to Matt Ingram who departed for Hull City.

Ward wishes Ingram well, saying: “Sometimes for a goalkeeper it just doesn’t happen for you at a particular club.

"I think Matt was a victim of circumstances; last year we had a bad start and the decision was made to change him. Joe came in and obviously the rest is history. 

“It’s a new lease of life for Matt now at Hull. I’m sure he’ll go and show us all what he’s capable of and we wish him all the best.”

As for the current crop of 'keepers, the trio are busy behind the scenes on the R's pre-season training camp in Austria stepping up their preparations for the 2019/20 campaign.

“As goalkeepers we work hard,” Ward said. “People don’t always see that because come game day the outfield players are doing their bit and all the work – with the goalkeepers it’s more of a mental thing.

“We’re just over two weeks in now and they’re putting in some serious work, getting fitter day by day and once we get that fitness we can start looking more technically. We’ve got another four weeks so we’ve got plenty of time to do that and make sure we’re where we want to be come the start of the season.”

The goalkeepers are putting in some serious work, getting fitter day by day.

Gavin Ward