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QPR: Who should Mark Warburton trust to start in between the sticks?

Since stepping into the QPR hotseat back in May, Mark Warburton has had a lot on his plate.

The former Brentford boss had to oversee 14 new signings in the summer, work them into his squad and also coach fresh ideas into his new charges.

He seems to have done okay with his tasks, coaching a 4-2-3-1 formation and a 5-3-2 system into his players this season as they sit 9th, just three points off the top of the Championship table.

However, one issue that doesn’t seem to have found its natural conclusion yet is who Warburton trusts to start in between the sticks.

The 57-year-old named Joe Lumley as his No.1 for the first nine league games of the season, but after a handful of mistakes from the 24-year-old, summer signing Liam Kelly has started the last two games instead.

Who do the writers of Football FanCast think Warburton should trust in the long-term? Let’s take a look…

Billy Meyers

“In my opinion, the more mistakes a goalkeeper makes, the more unsettled the defence will get. 

“In Lumley’s case, he made a dreadful error against Luton in which he passed the ball straight to striker Harry Cornick, leaving his goal wide open for the forward to finish into an empty net. 

“Then, against West Brom, the 24-year-old allowed Nathan Ferguson’s long-range strike to dip under his body and squirm in. 

“Until Kelly makes a string of similar errors, Warburton should stick with his summer signing and leave Lumley waiting on the sidelines – it’s the only option that would be fair for everyone involved.”

Charles Jones

“QPR’s goalkeeping conundrum is a tricky one. Lumley was making a few too many mistakes while he was number one, but Kelly is still conceding a hefty amount of goals – he has shipped five in two games. 

“However, Kelly hasn’t made a costly error yet, and I think that it’s only fair for Warburton to continue giving him chances until he does something that warrants losing the spot.

“QPR’s backline aren’t giving him enough support – they allow over ten shots per game – and that’s where the issues mainly lie. If Lumley comes back in and continues to make the same errors it will surely cost the R’s points, whereas Kelly hasn’t shown a tendency to drop clangers during his stint in goal.”

Jonathan Radcliffe 

“Being a goalkeeper is often an unforgiving task, and Lumley will be only too aware of that. Granted, he didn’t help himself with some of those costly mistakes, but he cannot be blamed for all of the 14 goals that the R’s conceded with him between the sticks in the first nine games.
“Kelly, meanwhile, has already shipped five in his first two Championship matches, which is not exactly fantastic despite his lack of obvious errors. It seems harsh from Warburton to remove Lumley from the starting line-up, but that is unfortunately the life of a shot-stopper. He is likely to get another chance at some point this term though, and when it arrives, he must be 100% ready to take it.”

Lewis Blain 

“Warburton does have a difficult dilemma between the sticks, but it is one he needs to come down firm on in order to benefit their season. I imagine there’s nothing worse for a defender than seeing the bloke behind you constantly changing, so that in itself causes a knock-on effect in terms of confidence.

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“Whether it is Lumley or Kelly is just as tough a decision as you’ll get. Given he has gone with the latter in recent times, it would be wise to keep him there for stability – that, in turn, will only help their quest for a clean sheet.

“That dire run without keeping the ball out of the net also isn’t entirely the goalkeepers’ fault either – yes Lumley may have cost QPR a game or two – but it should instead raise further question marks about Warburton’s three-at-the-back system and why the opposition are allowed to frequently pepper the goal.”

Article title: QPR: Who should Mark Warburton trust to start in between the sticks?

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