Spending and experience: How Bolton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers squads compare
QUEEN’S Park Rangers head north to the Reebok tomorrow looking to maintain an unbeaten Championship start and reaffirm their pre-season tag as one of the favourites for promotion.
After relegation from the Premier League in May, boss Harry Redknapp has overseen a summer of change at Loftus Road in preparation for the hard grind of the second tier.
Out have gone some of the big-money players that failed to keep the Rs in the top flight, with the likes of Loic Remy, Estaban Granero, Adel Taarabt and Ji-Sung Park all leaving on loan.
In have come free transfer men with experience such as centre-back Richard Dunne and midfield man Gary O’Neil.
But the Hoops, who have Joey Barton back in the fold after a turbulent period and a loan stint in French football last season, have still been able to spend in keeping with recent years with the £4million outlay on frontman Charlie Austin.
In contrast, Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman’s top spend has been the addition of Jay Spearing from Liverpool in a fee reportedly under the £2million mark, with Jermaine Beckford around half that figure.
His other senior additions have all been free transfers as the Whites boss looks to stick to the new Financial Fair Play rules.
As the two teams go head to head this weekend, it is not just spending that differs – experience is heavily weighted in QPR’s favour.
The size of the squad means they have a wealth of league experience in reserve in the shape of Andy Johnson, Jermaine Jenas and O’Neil.
Comparing last week’s starting line-ups for both sides makes interesting reading.
The average age of the Whites team that kicked off at Nottingham Forest was 26 while the Rangers line-up that beat Ipswich had an average of 29.
That Redknapp 11 was also vastly more experienced in terms of league appearances with almost 40 per cent more games under their belts.
Wanderers could total 2,026 English league outings with Alex Baptiste top of the chart with 357.
Only Zat Knight has also passed the 300-mark, however, compared to six of Rangers’ line-up that totals 3,362 games in English league football.
In fact, four have in excess of 400 with former England goalkeeper Rob Green currently on 461 league appearances and Bobby Zamora on 403. The centre-back pairing of Dunne and Clint Hill have more than 900 appearances between them compared to just over 500 for Zat Knight and David Wheater at Wanderers.
The international experience is also a key factor with the Rangers 11 from a week ago collectively having 128 caps – Dunne leading the way with 77.
For the Whites, Chung-Yong Lee tops the international roll call with 46 caps out of a total of just 80 for the team, though both sides fielded the same number of internationals with five.
It illustrates that the Rangers starting XI against Ipswich, which cost around £20million compared to the £11.5million of Wanderers, has been built by Redknapp on experience.
But with Freedman an advocate of young talent in his squad, he will be confident on home turf that experienced opposition can be undone tomorrow.
Last week’s starting XIs: Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Knight, Wheater, Tierney, Medo, Spearing, Pratley, Hall, Chung-Yong, C Davies.
QPR: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Barton, Henry, Hoillett, Austin, Zamora.