Warburton admits Dieng’s absence ‘will hurt’ QPR

QPR boss Mark Warburton admits Seny Dieng’s Africa Cup of Nations commitments with Senegal will be a huge loss to his side ahead of of a potentially pivotal set of fixtures in January.

Dieng, who will be back-up to Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for the tournament in Cameroon, will jet out after Sunday’s match against Birmingham at St Andrew’s following an outstanding display in Rangers’ 2-1 win at Bristol City.

He will definitely miss the FA Cup tie with Rotherham on January 8, then crunch fixtures against fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom and Coventry.

Should Senegal advance to the knockout stages of the tournament, which start on January 23, he will sit out the rearranged home fixture with Swansea in addition to Reading’s visit to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium in the final fixture of the month.

Should Senegal reach to the final on February 6, Dieng would also miss the trip to Millwall and potentially the home game against Middlesbrough on February 9.

Although Yoann Barbet’s injury-time winner sealed a 27th victory in 50 games played in 2021, it was the heroics of Dieng that kept his side in the game after the Robins took an lead through Alex Scott’s deflected opener.

The 26-year-old made two crucial saves inside the first 15 minutes to deny Antoine Semenyo and Warburton said losing him is a blow his side must overcome to keep alive their promotion push with the much-travelled Jordan Archer in line to take over the gloves while he is away.

“I say to Seny all the time: ‘Go and show you are the best in the division’,” Warburton said.

“He has got presence, desire, he trains so hard. It will be a loss. Simple as that.

“No disrespect to Jordan or any of the guys behind him, when you lose a keeper of that quality it will hurt.

“But this is where your squads have to dig deep, show desire and character.

“It’s not about one to 11, or one to 14 it’s about one to 22 and everyone must contribute.

“We have got Jordan there other boys pushing and working hard, which is great to see.

“Seny will be here for the Birmingham game then we have a gap to Rotherham on January 8 then it is West Brom on the 15th and strap yourself in, because it’s away we go from there with the fixtures.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge but all teams are facing it.”


Rangers will also lose playmaker Ilias Chair, who is set to join the Morocco squad.

They are looking to bring in a replacement and have discussed a number of potential options, including Bristol City’s Kasey Palmer.

Warburton has long been keen to bring in a centre-back – and a deal appears to now be in place to sign Bournemouth’s Steve Cook.