Boss Beale plans QPR formation change

QPR boss Michael Beale

Mick Beale has reiterated that he would like QPR to play with three centre-backs at some stage.

Beale has deployed a back four since taking over as R’s boss and he left Jimmy Dunne out for the opening game of the season.

Dunne has since returned to the side to replace the injured Jake Clarke-Salter, who has a hamstring problem.

“We’re very fortunate as a Championship club to have the level of centre-back that we’ve got,” said Beale.

“I want to be in a position where we can play a back three of Jimmy Dunne, Jake Clarke-Salter and Rob Dickie, because I think it would be an excellent back three.”

Rangers have sought a second opinion on Clarke-Salter after being told the the summer signing is likely to be sidelined for several weeks.

But Beale has given a somewhat more positive update on Chris Willock’s fitness.

Willock, who had surgery after suffering a hamstring injury in March, scored a brilliant goal on his return to action against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Speaking about his disappointment at Rangers’ display in their Carabao Cup exit at Charlton on Tuesday, Beale said the same squad would travel to Sunderland this week, suggesting Willock would be unable to play.

However, Beale has admitted that Willock was never going to feature at Charlton and that the intention was always to ease him back to regular action.

He was keen for Willock to play in Rangers’ opening home match of the season – hence his inclusion against Boro – as he felt it would give the team and fans a boost.

He also wants to ensure Willock is involved in next week’s home matches against Blackpool and Rotherham, so the forward’s likely absence at Sunderland would not be because of any new injury concern.

Beale said: “Chris would never have been involved against Charlton.

“If you assess what had happened here from last season, and this was the first home game back, it was important for the team and our fans that we got the belief of a win last week.

“Coming off the field he was fine and there were no issues, but in the next few days he wasn’t due back on the pitch as he recovers from fatigue.

“It’s now a case of assessing when we put him back in. Do we take him up for a long travel on the train up and the coach back or do we get him ready for the two home games in the week? I haven’t made a decision on that.”

Meanwhile, Rangers are set to sign right-back Ethan Laird on loan from Manchester United.

Laird, 21, was lined up to join Watford on loan but the deal fell through, prompting Rangers to make a move for him.