QPR boss reconsiders plan to loan out Masterson

Mark Warburton is ready to scrap plans to send Conor Masterson out on loan after the QPR defender’s impressive full league debut.

And the Rangers manager has suggested he might even abandon the search for a new centre-back in light of Masterson’s performance in the 1-0 win over Leeds.

Masterson, signed last summer after being released by Liverpool, had not made a senior appearance before his recent debut in the FA Cup trashing of Swansea.

Warburton was reluctant to throw him in at the deep end and intended to arrange a loan move for the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international.

However, injuries to the likes of Yoann Barbet and Toni Leistner led to Masterson’s first-team chance and then a starting place.

Asked if he still plans to send Masterson out on loan, Warburton said: “Probably not, after that.”

He added: “Things happen for a reason. We’ve had Yoann out, Angel Rangel out and Toni out, so we were very thin.

“We’ve been lucky with our forwards keeping fit but we’ve struggled defensively. He was asked to plug a gap, did really well and you need to take the chance when it comes along.

“He’s a young player and the challenge he was presented with, we had to give a lot of thought to it. Is it the right challenge and one he can rise to, or is it one that the young player crumbles under?

Warburton initially wanted Masterson to go out on loan

“He did well against Swansea and did well in the second half at Brentford. He deserved to start. A lot of thought went into that. Toni Leistner was fit.

“You saw Conor’s response. He was excellent. The most pleasing thing for me was that he thoroughly enjoyed it. He loved it.

“He loved playing, he loved the competition and the challenge. All credit to him.”

Bringing in a centre-back during this month’s transfer window has been Warburton’s priority – but so far a frustrating process.

He would like to sign Scott McKenna but Aberdeen, who turned down offers from QPR for the Scotland international during the summer, are still refusing to lower the asking price.

Other options – mostly potential loan signings – have been assessed, but Masterson has shown he could provide an answer to Rangers’ problems at the back.

Asked if he expected much activity before the window closes, Warburton said: “No, not coming in. We’re very clear about the financial foundations being built. It’s better to be honest with the fans.

“If we bring anyone in they have to be better than what we’ve got and to get better than what we’ve got is expensive in this window. So you’re much better off keeping your gunpowder dry.”