Austin still has ‘huge role’ for QPR

QPR boss Mark Warburton insists the decision to deploy Chris Willock as a striker in the 2-1 win over Blackpool was not a reflection on either Charlie Austin or Andre Gray.

Warburton, who was without the injured Lyndon Dykes, opted to play Ilias Chair in behind Willock, while Jeff Hendrick, Stefan Johansen and Sam Field started together in midfield.

Willock was then replaced by Dom Ball at half-time in response to Dion Sanderson’s red card as Rangers looked to keep hold of their lead.

Austin and Gray were both unused substitutes.

Warburton said he simply wanted to change system in order to cause Blackpool problems.

“It was nothing about Charlie and Andre, it was about changing the tactics to try and win that game of football – it’s as simple as that,” he explained.

“Sometimes centre-halves, when they’re up against players, they like to mark them. So we wanted to take away that luxury. We wanted to pose them a problem and that was the idea behind it.

“We wanted to overload the midfield. That’s what we wanted to do but I thought we went too long too early.

“If it was 11 v 11, Charlie would have been involved. We knew what we wanted to do during the game involving Charlie and Andre (as substitutes) but unfortunately that option was taken away from us.”

QPR’s director of football Les Ferdinand told West London Sport earlier this week that discussions were held about the possibility of signing another striker in January but the club opted not to do so because Warburton was happy with the options available to him.

“It was nothing about Charlie or Andre, and we’ve got Lyndon coming back. We’ve got three good quality centre-forwards, so we’ve got to make sure we maximise them at the right time,” Warburton added.

“Charlie Austin has a huge role to play, on and off the pitch, for QPR.”