Loan move is right for Masterson, says QPR boss

QPR defender Conor Masterson

QPR manager Mark Warburton has insisted that sending Conor Masterson out on loan is in the players’ best interests.

Some fans have expressed surprise at news that Rangers are looking to loan out Masterson, who has impressed when given a chance in the first team.

But he is currently behind Rob Dickie and Yoann Barbet in the pecking order, with Rangers hoping to bring in another centre-back before this afternoon’s transfer deadline.

And Warburton is concerned that Masterson, who recently turned 22, could miss out on vital first-team experience.

Warburton said: “Conor’s done really well. It’s purely about making sure the young players keep on developing. You can’t develop when sitting on the bench.

“The very young ones can enjoy the experience with the first team, training etc. But you get to the point where you now need to go out and play football for points every Saturday.

“It’s very different to Under-23s football and it’s in these pressure situations that these young guys really do learn.

“He came in and took his chance very well. But it’s important that he now plays week in, week out. It’s very important for his development.”

Warburton says he will only bring a centre-back in if the right loan move for Masterson can be arranged.

Rangers are keen to add an experienced left-sided defender to their squad.

Enquiries have been made about several players, including Fulham’s Michael Hector and Cardiff’s Aden Flint.

However, a number of Championship clubs have shown an interest in Hector since he was left out of the Fulham side, while a deal to sign Flint looked unlikely on the eve of the transfer deadline.

Other potential options are being considered, but Warburton first wants to be sure that Masterson would benefit more from going elsewhere than remaining a back-up centre-back at QPR.

“We’re looking for one more if the right deal can be done. A lot of work is going on right now to secure one more,” Warburton said.

QPR boss Mark Warburton
Warburton has been keen to bolster his squad

“We want to get one or two of our young talents out to keep them developing as well. It sounds great to have them on the bench but we want to make sure they keep playing and keep developing, which is vital for them.

“It (a new signing) depends on what’s available and the financials but also if we get the right opportunity for one of our young ones to go out as well.

“We are looking for one more but it will only happen if we get the right situation for one of our players and then the right player that adds the quality we’re looking for.”

QPR open to offers for fringe players

Rangers are also keen for either Joe Lumley or Liam Kelly to go out on loan, but so far there have been no approaches yet for either goalkeeper.

As of Wednesday afternoon there had also been so sign of firm interest in Bright Osayi-Samuel nor Ryan Manning, despite the longstanding uncertainty over their futures.

But there has been no shortage of interest in Masterson and Paul Smyth.

Charlton lead a queue of clubs keen on Smyth, who is available for another loan move following Rangers’ recent signings of Macauley Bonne – from Charlton – Albert Adomah and Chris Willock.

And QPR have received plenty of enquiries about Masterson.

“We have, certainly,” said Warburton, who wants assurances that the Irishman will play regularly before a final decision is taken on where he moves.

Otherwise, Warburton insists, Masterson will remain part of QPR’s squad.

“We want him to play at the highest level we can, obviously. But it’s not all about the highest.

“We want him to go somewhere he’s going to go and play. You see these guys going to big clubs and they sit on the bench. He could stay here and sit on the bench.

“So it’s about making sure the conversation (with prospective clubs) is good and the development pathway is mapped out for the player concerned.

“I hope very much that he gets that opportunity at the highest level possible.

“I hope very much we can get him the right one. If not, no problem at all, because we know Conor and his ability. But we hope very much to continue his development.

“If we can get the right one for him, all well and good. If not, no problem at all.”