Ainsworth planning for QPR player sales and slimmed-down squad

QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth
Gareth Ainsworth has managed to keep QPR up. (Picture: Ian Randall Photography)

Gareth Ainsworth expects QPR to sell players during a “tough summer” and operate with a slimmed-down squad next season.

Several players are approaching the end of their contracts and five of the current squad are on loan.

Head coach Ainsworth believes other departures are likely, with the club expecting to receive offers.

He said: “I think there will be interest in a lot of our players. I think we’ve got to realise where we are as a club as well.

“I’m sure there’s going to be quite a bit of movement with the squad – ins and outs – and it’s going to be a tough summer.

“But I’m working with the board, who have backed me. We’re working on what we want to do.

“I’ll be speaking with the owners about what we need to do with the squad finance-wise and also in terms of what I want to do in putting my stamp on the squad.

“I think the start of the window will be cagey. I’m not sure that teams will come in for our players straightaway.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t go right to the end of the window, because that leaves us short.

“It’s about taking the right players at the right time for the right price and that’s what I’ve got to do for QPR.”

Rangers’ recruitment last summer proved to be ineffective, with the likes of Jake Clarke-Salter and Leon Balogun being unavailable for much of the season along with loan signings Taylor Richards, who is due to make a permanent move from Brighton, Tyler Roberts and Ethan Laird.

Ainsworth is determined to avoid a repeat of that and is also keen to work with a smaller group, supplemented by players from the club’s B team.

“Hopefully we can have a robust, fit squad with plenty of characters,” he said.

“My plan is to reduce the size of the first-team squad a bit.

“I think we can do that and add some of these young boys to it to make the numbers up. That’s what I want to do and what I intend to do.

“There are contracts up and people who I’m sure are going to be wanted by other clubs.

“I want to slim it down a little bit. I’ve always worked with smaller squads – I’d like more quality and a smaller group and supplement it with some of these B team players.

“There’s definitely a handful of players in that (B team) group that I would say we could be seeing next season.”

Meanwhile, Ainsworth has laughed off rumours of a fall-out with Stefan Johansen.