MARK Warburton praised the character shown by his side to claim what looked to be an unlikely point at Reading on Saturday – but admits Rangers must display an even greater killer instinct as they prepare to face AFC Bournemouth tonight (Tuesday).
Despite dominating for large spells against Reading, John Swift’s hat-trick for the home side left QPR with a mountain to climb with just 13 minutes left on the clock.
But climb it they did to preserve our unbeaten start to the Championship season and claim a point in a 3-3 draw in the end.
Speaking ahead of our live Sky Sports clash versus Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, Warburton told www.qpr.co.uk: “I think we knew all about the character of the team after the Barnsley game and the second-half comeback – after Middlesbrough and Coventry, too. That wasn’t in question.
“We made substitutions and to come back that late spoke volumes of the depth of the squad.
“However, while it was a magnificent comeback, the reality is it was two vital points dropped by us.
“We dominated the game for long, long periods. We should have been ahead at half-time and must learn. I’m not sure how we managed to find ourselves 3-1 down – all three goals were easily avoidable.
“However, all credit to the players for continuing to create chances and for their never-say die attitude. In the end, Chris Willock could have won the game for us.
“To leave Reading disappointed with only picking up a point in the end shows the progress we’re making.”
Fourth (QPR) plays fifth (Bournemouth) on the South Coast tonight, with both teams enjoying unbeaten starts to the campaign and identical results thus far.
Rangers and the Cherries – managed by former Fulham boss Scott Parker – are expected to challenge for the top six this term, with Warburton saying: “I know Scott well and respect him enormously – we did our Pro Licence together. I see his focus, his vision and his determination that he has transferred from an outstanding playing career.
“If you look at their team, the options they have, it’s a very high-quality squad with a lot of Premier League experience.
“We have to rise to the challenge and keep on moving forward as a club. We know it’s a very tough test for us – but Scott will know we’re a dangerous team as well.
“We go there with respect, but we go there to attack the game as well.
“Our fans have been magnificent and we’ll be backed by another sold-out away end.
“You have to relish these tests. We’ve another tough run of games, but we’ve already had a tough run and look how well we’ve done – that’s the nature of the Championship.”
Warburton has no fresh injury concerns for the trip to Bournemouth.
Luke Amos (knee) continues to near a long-awaited return and should feature for QPR B in our fixture versus our Brentford counterparts on Wednesday evening.
“Luke will probably play 75 or 90 minutes for the B Team on Wednesday night,” the R’s boss added.
“If he comes through that, then he’ll be available to the first team.”