Former Preston North End midfielder and current Queens Park Rangers boss Gareth Ainsworth takes aim at Blackpool

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Queens Park Rangers manager Gareth Ainsworth took a jab at Preston North End’s local rivals Blackpool this week, claiming there are barely any small clubs left in the Championship for the upcoming campaign.

Ainsworth, who spent multiple seasons and spells at Deepdale, making over 100 appearances for the club, was speaking on the radio, TalkSport, about the upcoming campaign after just about managing to keep QPR in the second tier last time out.

After remarkable success at Wycombe Wanderers, bringing them up from League Two to the Championship, Ainsworth departed the Chairboys as one of the longest serving managers in the football league to take over at Loftus Road, where he is a club legend.

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Rangers topped the Championship early on in the last campaign before losing manager Michael Beale to Rangers and appointing and then sacking former Seasiders head coach Neil Critchley.

Gareth Ainsworth, manager of Queens Park RangersGareth Ainsworth, manager of Queens Park Rangers
Gareth Ainsworth, manager of Queens Park Rangers

The London club will be expecting a much better season next time around but Ainsworth has made no secret of how strong he thinks the second tier will be for 2023/24.

He said: “It’s going to be tough, have you seen that Championship, by the way? Have you seen that? Where are the small teams now? Where have they gone?

“No disrespect, Rotherham you still have, brilliant. I think that could be a smaller team than everyone else, where are Wigan? Where are Blackpool? Where are Wycombe? There are none anymore.

“Sheffield Wednesday have come up, Ipswich have come up. Southampton have come down, Leicester have come down, Leeds have come down. I’m scared!”