It was a frustrating afternoon at Loftus Road as QPR struggled to find the breakthrough against a resilient Burton Albion side.
It might not be a match to live long in the memory, but here are the five main talking points to arise from the game at Loftus Road.
The missing man
If yesterday’s game taught us anything, it’s just how crucial Massimo Luongo is to this side.
The Brewers did an excellent job of setting up to frustrate against QPR, but the Hoops looked notably unlikely to carve out any openings, with the Australian international missing due to illness and Luke Freeman having one of his quietest games of the season.
Luongo has got off to a flyer this season, and Ian Holloway will be hoping that the midfielder can shake off any illness before Tuesday night’s trip to Barnsley, as he is a player who could be the difference in these types of clash.
The makeshift QPR back-four are going from strength to strength after a clean sheet against the Brewers.
As well as Bidwell growing in confidence, the central defensive pairing of Alex Baptiste and Jack Robinson have grown both in morale and match sharpness, making them look like a solid partnership at the back.
Ian Holloway will be delighted to have been able to welcome Joel Lynch and Steven Caulker back to the match-day squad yesterday, but it’s far from a foregone conclusion that they’ll come straight back into the Ollie’s preferred XI with Baptiste and Robinson forming a partnership based on experience, solidity and no-nonsense defending.
He only missed one game, but boy, did we miss the former-Barnsley man.
It didn’t take Scowen any time at all to get back into the swing of things, somehow winning a tussle against loanee Sean Scannell to really set the tone for his performance.
It was the perfect match for the midfielder, who relished the defensive battle against the Brewers, showing exactly why he has been the Hoops best player so far this term.
Next up, a trip to face his former club on Tuesday night, where it’ll be interesting to hear what kind of reception he gets.
It was a disappointing afternoon for the out-of-favour midfielder.
First team opportunities haven’t been forthcoming for the 25-year-old, with the DR Congo international way down the pecking order of late, with Ollie playing wing-backs, or preferring the likes of David Wheeler or Kazenga Lua Lua when attacking players are called upon.
In fairness to him, he was being used in a much deeper, Massimo Luongo-esque role yesterday afternoon, a role which doesn’t play to Ngbakoto’s strengths at all, and so it was was always going to be a long-shot that he could do a job, but Ollie clearly didn’t rate his display, bringing him off after 45 minutes.
Whether the attacking midfielder has a future at the club remains to be seen, but it appears that he’s got some work to do to convince Holloway that he fits into his system.
Ollie gets tough
The big news to come from the post-match reaction was the news that Kazenga Lua Lua was dropped for arriving late to training.
Some may say it was to the detriment of the team, but in my view it was the correct call as Ian Holloway looks to set an expectation within the squad, and such a lack of professionalism cannot go unpunished.