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QPR: Ainsworth would be worse than Beale

QPR are unsurprisingly being linked with former player Gareth Ainsworth as they search for a successor to Michael Beale, but hiring him could tarnish his relationship with fans at Loftus Road.

According to the Evening Standard, Ainsworth is one of the names thought to be in the frame to take over at the west London side, who have been without a manager since Beale joined Rangers last week.

The 49-year-old is the second-longest serving manager currently in the EFL, having taken over at Wycombe Wanderers in September 2012, following a previous spell as caretaker manager with QPR.

Formerly a right-winger, Ainsworth would join QPR from Cardiff in 2003 and remained at Loftus Road for six years before joining Wycombe on loan – signing a permanent deal with the Chairboys in 2010.

While he has delivered two promotions at Adams Park, and narrowly missed out on a return to the Championship last season after losing out to Sunderland in the playoff final, the style of play used has come under a lot of criticism, albeit usually from frustrated opposition fans.

Wycombe play extremely direct football and while that has proven to be a big success for the club in the lower leagues, their one season in the Championship was an ultimately unsuccessful one, as they were relegated in 22nd position.

Although the size of the club and the budget on offer were significant factors in that relegation, it emphasised that long-ball football is not the way to go in a division as competitive and high on quality as the Championship.

Across his decade managing the Buckinghamshire club, he has averaged a solid 1.45 points per game, whereas Beale was averaging 1.48 points per game in the Championship, even including the woeful run of form ahead of his move to Ibrox.

Ainsworth is fondly remembered for his playing time at QPR but should he return as a manager, there is little to suggest that he would be an upgrade on the departing Beale, and his preferred style of play is unlikely to win the fans over, especially if it produces similar results to Wycombe’s the last time they played in the second tier.

Therefore, chief executive Lee Hoos should avoid bringing Ainsworth back to Loftus Road.