QPR chief executive Philip Beard says he is confident the club will secure its first-choice site for a new training ground.
West London Sport revealed in January that Rangers want to redevelop the Warren Farm Sports Centre near Osterley Park and are preparing to submit their final proposals to Ealing Council.
They are optimistic of getting the go-ahead despite interest from a number of alternative bidders – although it now looks less likely that a training complex will be built before the end of next season.
“We have architects and project managers and a team of people who understand what it would take to have a Premier League training ground” – Philip Beard
It was initially hoped that a state-of-the-art headquarters, which is also intended to accommodate the club’s academy, would be fully operational later this year.
Beard (pictured above) said: “We’re in the final stages of a bid. If we’re successful then we hope to start building as fast as possible.
“If not then we’ve got options B and C which we’ll pursue, but I’m quietly confident that the land we’re looking at we will get.
“Realistically we’ve got this season to get through and maintain our Premier League status. That’s priority one. Then it will probably take next season to build it.”
Rangers are keen to leave their current training ground in Harlington because it is well below Premier League standard and seen as a barrier to attracting new signings.
Beard is hoping the club’s future plans are enough to convince top players to join them.
“I think what’s important is to be able to demonstrate to people involved with QPR what we’re going to be moving to,” he said.
“So whilst we’re still at the current training ground, showing them graphics and taking the team down there to see what’s happening should be enough to keep them motivated, knowing that at some stage in the near future they’ll be training at a proper Premier League training ground.”
Beard added: “We’re looking at best practice and have looked at training grounds of current Premier League clubs.
“We have good architects and project managers and a team of people who understand what it would take to have a Premier League training ground, which will not just be for the first team but for the reserves and most importantly the academy.”
QPR’s youth system reverted from an academy to a centre of excellence 12 years ago because of the costs involved in being part of the FA Academy system.
A national restructure means all clubs will soon have academies, graded from categories one to four.
Rangers’ set-up is the equivalent of category three – the second lowest.
They are keen to achieve category two status in the near future and say they will then look to move to a level currently occupied by only an elite group of clubs.
“Our aim is to have a category-one academy so that we can nurture young talent and bring them through to the first team,” Beard explained.
“A lot of clubs have aspirations to do that and we as a club have high aspirations, and not just for the first team.
“We’ve got big plans for the club. The one thing that hasn’t changed in the last few years and since the [Tony Fernandes-led] takeover is the training ground.
“What we want to do is try to move that on so that the new training ground takes us to another level as a Premier League club.”