Warburton denies trying to make ‘statement’ to QPR board by picking just four subs

QPR boss Mark Warburton has insisted he was not trying to prove a point by selecting just four substitutes for the Carabao Cup tie against Oxford United.

Youngsters Stephen Duke-McKenna, Ody Alfa and Joe Gubbins were the only outfield players on the bench – and all of them came on.

Such a move is often interpreted as a manager signalling to a club’s owners that more players are needed.

But Warburton says illness has affected a number of players, while Jordy de Wijs picked up an ankle injury against Barnsley at the weekend.

Rangers youngsters were also involved in an Under-23 match hours before the Oxford game.

“There was no ‘statement’ going out. It’s not one of those ‘messages’ – far from it,” said Warburton.

“We had a bit of a sickness bug. We lost Sam (McCallum) and a few others.

“Charlie Austin played 90 minutes on Saturday and we had to look after him, and Jordy rolled the ankle on Saturday, so I had eight or nine missing.

“There was no ‘message’ or ‘statement’. There was just a very tough injury and illness situation.”