Warburton still backing Dykes despite missed chances

QPR boss Mark Warburton admitted his side were not at their best in their 0-0 draw with Preston, but he continued to back struggling striker Lyndon Dykes.

Rangers extended their unbeaten run to five games at a rain-sodden Deepdale, which saw the match almost called off due to heavy rain in the Lancashire area on Wednesday, in a drab affair.

The visitors, who went into the game on the back of four straight wins, produced the best two chances of the match in the first half which were both spurned by Dykes, who has now not scored since Rangers’ 2-1 defeat to Brentford in November.

Dykes was put clear by a smart Charlie Austin pass in the seventh minute but could only shoot against the legs of the onrushing Daniel Iversen and again before half-time when he was found by a brilliant long pass from Geoff Cameron.

The American’s ball from the back caught out the Preston defence but Dykes, after breaking free, was unable to lift the ball over Iversen’s head with any real power and it bounced harmlessly wide.

The Scotland international was substituted for Chris Willock with half an hour remaining, but Warburton insisted it was only because he wanted to change the formation and play Charlie Austin, then Macauley Bonee, as the lone striker in an effort to win the game.

“I just wanted to change the shape. I didn’t take him off for any other reason,” Warburton said.

“I wanted to go one up top with two number 10s in Ilias and Chrissy Willock as they had an overload in midfield. That helped us dominate the ball better in that period.

“When strikers have a barren spell, what do they do? They keep working, keep trying and work for the team and he does that.

“He had that great touch for that chance early in the game and I have no problems with Lyndon, Macca or Charlie.

“The boys are working tirelessly and making a contribution to the team’s performance.”