With Mark Warburton having seen his Queens Park Rangers side get their Championship campaign off to a very impressive start, the 58-year-old manager has now been presented with the opportunity to try out a few of his first-team fringe players, as well as a number of the club’s up and coming starlets, in the Carabao Cup second-round clash against Oxford United on Tuesday evening.
Indeed, two wins and two draws over the Rs’ opening four fixtures of the Championship season have left the club sitting in fifth place in the second tier table, while a penalty shootout victory over Leyton Orient in the first round of the EFL Cup has set up the second-round tie against the U’s.
And, while a win against the League One side will undoubtedly be the aim of the QPR boss, the fixture, nevertheless, provides Warburton with the opportunity to field some of the club’s lesser-seen gems – one of whom is summer signing, Jimmy Dunne.
Indeed, following his move from Burnley to west London back in July, the centre-back has made two Championship appearances for the Rs, both of which came from the bench, with the 23-year-old spending an average of 30 minutes on the pitch over these fixtures.
However, considering how impressive the centre-back’s performances were over his three Premier League appearances for Burnley last season, over which the £540k-rated defender made an average of two interceptions, one tackle, 5.3 clearances and won a whopping 10 duels per game, it would very much appear as if the Republic of Ireland U21 international is more than capable of doing a job for QPR from the off.
Indeed, his returns for the Clarets last term saw the £3.1k-per-week man earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.10, enough to rank him as Sean Dyche’s best performer in the top flight – although, admittedly, this was achieved with a limited sample size of games.
Nevertheless, it would appear to be a very wise move indeed for Warburton to select the man the QPR manager himself dubbed a “talented” player in his starting XI to face Oxford on Tuesday evening, as a solid performance could well see the 23-year-old keep his place in the Rs team heading into their Championship clash with Coventry City this weekend.