PNE boss wary of Rangers’ threat

Junior Hoilett was on target in last weekend's 3-0 win against Brentford

Junior Hoilett was on target in last weekend's 3-0 win against Brentford

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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson thinks his Queens Park Rangers counterpart Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has got the London side going in the right direction.

Hasselbaink brings QPR to Deepdale this weekend for a clash of the Championship’s 10th and 11th place clubs.

While the Lilywhites have exceeded expectations this season, Rangers can be said to have underachieved.

Relegated from the Premier League last May, they were among the favourites to challenge for a swift return.

There has not been the case, with Chris Ramsey losing his job as head coach in November, a few days before North End drew 0-0 with QPR at Loftus Road.

After a short period with Neil Warnock as interim boss, Hasselbaink was lured away from Burton Albion to take the job in December.

It took him nine games to get his first win in charge but QPR’s form has generally been good since then.

They have lost just two of their last 12 matches and come to Lancashire on the back of home wins over Derby and Brentford.

Grayson said: “It took Jimmy a little bit of time for him to get his philosophies across but they have had some really good results over the last couple of weeks.

“QPR have some really talented individuals. When you look at their squad they have some expensive players who have played in the Premier League.

“They will be disappointed with where they are in the table because the expectancy was to try and get back to the Premier League.

“We know what we will have to do against them – play with a good tempo, with and without the ball, and take our game to them.

“QPR have their threats with players like Junior Hoilett and Matt Phillips who are really talented and have pace.

“They also have some experienced players at the back.”

Charlie Austin has gone from the QPR front line since Preston last faced them – he was sold to Southampton in January.

Tjaronn Chery, a £2.25m signing from FC Groningen last summer, is their top scorer with eight league goals.

Former Blackpool winger Phillips has scored seven, with Hoilett having notched six and Sebastian Polter five.

Hoilett was praised by Hasselbaink last week for his performance and goal in the 3-0 win over Brentford.

Said Hasselbaink: “Junior did very well, it was some goal.

“We have players in the team who can do that, we have quality players who, if you give them a bit of space, they can create.

“Junior took the goal really well and then after that you get a little more positivity and you can do certain things – you feel freer, and that’s normal.

“You can then either go, ‘We have got a goal and that’s it’ or ‘We’ve got a goal and we’re going to try to get them out of their shell and hurt them even more’ 
– and we did that.”