QPR likely to give manager Warburton new deal

QPR manager Mark Warburton

QPR manager Mark Warburton is likely to sign a new contract before the start of the season.

Warburton, who took over in May 2019, is currently on a one-year rolling deal.

The club are looking to give him an improved contract following an encouraging second campaign at the helm.

The former Brentford boss guided Rangers to a ninth-placed finish – a significant improvement on the previous year despite last summer’s departures of forwards Ebere Eze and Jordan Hugill, which followed the loss of Nahki Wells.

There was a dramatic turnaround during the second half of the season, largely inspired by the arrivals of the likes of Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen.

QPR boss Mark Warburton
Rangers have made encouraging progress since Warburton’s arrival

Austin has since been signed on a permanent basis along with Jordy de Wijs and Sam Field, who were also on loan with the R’s last season.

Rangers are now looking to secure a deal to sign Johansen from Fulham.

Warburton’s brief when appointed was to replicate Brentford’s success in progressing on the pitch while developing players into saleable assets.

Tangible progress for QPR

He can point to the progress of the likes of Eze, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair, Rob Dickie and Chris Willock during his tenure.

Signings such as those of Yoann Barbet and Lee Wallace have been vindicated as well – Barbet was ever-present last season and Wallace’s rejuvenation earned the Scot a new contract.

Warburton has been determined to make improvements this summer, with the Johansen deal a top priority.

He has also been keen to bring in wing-backs on both flanks.

Sam McCallum was recently brought in on loan from Norwich after Rangers were unable to agree a fee with Dutch outfit Fortuna Sittard for former Brighton left-back George Cox.

Warburton is therefore ready to offload Niko Hamalainen.

Meanwhile, Moses Odubajo will be brought in to replace the axed Todd Kane. 

The 27-year-old, who played under Warburton at Brentford, is a free agent after recently being released by Sheffield Wednesday.

Odubajo has been training with the R’s with a view to being signed if he proves his fitness, having struggled with injury problems in recent years.

He featured in a recent behind-closed-doors game against Portsmouth and was due to play in a friendly at Gillingham on Friday.

That plan was scuppered by the game being cancelled because of a Covid-19 outbreak at the Kent club.

But Odubajo has looked sharp in training and Rangers therefore intend to snap him up.

Kane, who has a year remaining on his contract, has been snubbed since Warburton became aware of an interview in which the former Chelsea trainee insisted he is a better player than Osman Kakay.

Odubajo is being signed to compete with Kakay for a place on the right and can operate on the left too.

Masterson lined up for loan move

Warburton has also brought in centre-back Jimmy Dunne and is looking to arrange another loan move for Conor Masterson.

The 22-year-old joined Swindon in January in a loan move Warburton regarded as vital for Masterson’s development.

But his time at the County Ground was cut short by a hamstring tear after he had made just five appearances for the Robins.

QPR defender Conor Masterson
Masterson is likely to start the season away from QPR

He has now recovered and Rangers are keen for him to play more first-team football.

Masterson has impressed when he has featured for QPR’s first team.

He has made 16 Championship appearances since arriving two years ago after being released by Liverpool.

However, he had not played any senior football prior to that move and Warburton has long believed that the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international needs a spell of regular game time.

Another centre-back, Joe Gubbins, who was on loan at non-League Oxford City last season, is also expected to be loaned out again.

Midfielder Faysal Bettache and forward Ody Alfa are among other QPR youngsters being lined up for loan moves.

Shrimpers look at Karbo

Teenage striker Hamzad Karbo is training with Southend United ahead of a possible loan move to the Essex club.

Shrimpers boss Phil Brown told the Southend Echo that Karbo, 19, has been recommended to him by Rangers director of football Les Ferdinand.

“Hamzad has come in to train and he will play in the first two or three pre-season games we have coming up too,” said Brown.

“He’s six foot four inches tall and he’s been recommended to us by Les Ferdinand and a club we have a good relationship with. We will be having a good look at him.”

Karbo scored for QPR’s development side in a friendly at Hampton & Richmond on Saturday.