With QPR facing almost-inevitable relegation, can Harry Redknapp turn them into a team again, not just a group of players?
At the start of the season I compared a look at QPR’s squad list to a visit to a boot fair.
There is always that one stall made up of completely random objects that bear no relation to each other. And that was exactly how the Hoops looked to me.
In history, they will be filed under ‘miscellaneous’.
It is one thing signing lots of players and quite another moulding them into an effective team.
The latter was a task beyond former manager Mark Hughes and one that Harry Redknapp had a good go at but still fell short.
Rarely have QPR looked like a collective this season. And it is for this reason more than any other that they are almost certainly destined for at least one year back in the Championship.
It could be the perfect thing for them; a way to lose the ethos of individuality and replace it with a team spirit synonymous with Redknapp teams of the past.
And with more time and a little less pressure, Redknapp could take whatever he is left with and create the proverbial patchwork quilt.
Perhaps if he had been installed sooner, the former West Ham and Tottenham manager may have pulled off another rescuing act.
But the truth is Redknapp and his side approach the final four games of their season with little more to play for than the memories.
It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. And who does so out of choice rather than a forced hand.
But I stand by my early season opinion of QPR, they weren’t a side, more a collection of expensive experiments, most of which have failed.
Few people can see either Loic Remy or Christopher Samba remaining next season. Should both have the reported relegation escape clauses in their contracts they will soon be plying their trade elsewhere; their time at Loftus Road a financially-rewarding failure.
So in short the side that will depart the Premier League will be markedly different from the one attempting to return to it come August.
It is easy to say so in hindsight, but many of Hughes’s signings made no sense. His approach seemed to be one of bulk buying rather than one of necessity or quality assurance.
Redknapp is a different kind of dealer, and should they manage to navigate the unpredictable waters of Championship football, QPR will return to the Premier League considerably stronger than when they left it.
Do you think QPR will succeed in the Championship next season? And which players should remain to form the nucleus of their new side?