Is Rio Ferdinand's QPR ban a blessing in disguise?

Rio Ferdinand United

The former Manchester United defender won't be available again until the end of November.

Rio Ferdinand is set to miss QPR's next three games after being hit with a suspension and £25,000 fine due to a Twitter comment.

But how much of a loss will the 35-year-old's absence be?

Though Ferdinand will miss games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle, QPR produced two of their most impressive performances this season with the former Manchester United and England star out of the side.

The R's were close to securing a point at home to Liverpool a week and a half ago, drawing level twice in the dying minutes, and even though Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker both conceded own goals, the absence of Ferdinand as the third centre back in favour of the much more mobile Nedum Onuhoa gave a better ability to press when not in possession.

Against Aston Villa last weekend, QPR's second win of the season, Redknapp went with just two centre backs, choosing Dunne and Caulker for the first time this season. Previously, it had been Ferdinand that went with the former Spurs defender, and despite that combination working sufficiently when they beat Sunderland earlier on in the season, they still conceded fewer shots on goal against Villa.

Before those two games, with Ferdinand in defence as part of a central three or alongside Caulker, QPR had suffered five defeats from seven Premier League games, including big losses at Spurs and Ferdinand's former club United.

Ferdinand, who will turn 36 next month, had recently discussed the fact that he is likely to retire next summer, once his one-year deal at the Hoops comes to an end. Dunne is a year younger than Ferdinand, having only just turned 35, with Caulker and Onuoha in their early to mid twenties.

Redknapp has long been outspoken in his praise of Ferdinand, and was first in line with a contract once the former West Ham man left Old Trafford this summer, but as he is discovering at the foot of the Premier League, there is little room for sentiment in the race to steer clear of relegation.

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