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Mark Hughes: Why Queens Park Rangers Should Have Faith in Their Manager

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: Mark Hughes of Queens Park Rangers takes to the bench for his first game in charge during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers at Sports Direct Arena on January 15, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
A WriterContributor IIIOctober 16, 2012

History dictates changing managers at the first sign of trouble doesn't always work out for the best. You only have to look to last season—and Wolverhampton Wanderers—to see that. Mick McCarthy was sacked after a run of poor results, however his successor managed an even worse string which left them bottom, and looking forward to a season in the Championship with cold Tuesday nights away at Hull.

Mark Hughes has had a poor—no, shocking—start to the 2012/13 season, but is it time for Queens Park Rangers let him go, or keep the faith?

My opinion is to stick with him. Hughes led Blackburn Rovers from relegation contenders to Europe in just two seasons a few years back. A transformation that surprised even the most hardcore Blackburn fans—and he did so on a much lesser budget and, dare I say, slightly less talented squad than he has available to him at Loftus Road.

Hughes has a plethora of players to pick from—the majority of which would walk straight into half of the teams in the Premier League's starting 11—he just needs to make his mind up about which ones he wants to choose. A consistent team will lead to consistent performances and, ultimately, consistently better results. That consistency, however, will have to start at the top; with Hughes still in position, otherwise QPR will back to square one.

Mark Hughes needs time—and time is what Tony Fernandes is keen to give him. However, if a manager who was less of a "big name" was in this position, would Fernandes be sticking so diligently with him? No—and he proved that through the sacking of Neil Warnock—but even then, he at least gave the now Leeds United manager until Christmas.

What people tend to overlook, is that Hughes kept Rangers up last season, against all the odds. I don't think even he himself believed it was possible after losing to Wolves, Blackburn and Bolton—remember them? But through great strength, great leadership and solid tactics, Hughes pulled something magic out of his proverbial hat and gave QPR their second successive season in the Premier League.

The biggest issue for Rangers—in my mind—is not necessarily the manager, but a back line leakier than a broken faucet.

The defensive crisis that struck in September meant that Hughes was playing with a very makeshift back four. When Clint Hill starts at left-back, and Kieron Dyer makes it into the matchday squad at right-back, you know there is a problem. All credit to the latter, he played well, but neither would be your first choice full-back when you have Jose Bosingwa, Fabio da Silva and Armand Traore as options. Options that Hughes has had to do without—but now they are back fighting fit, perhaps the defensive woes that have haunted Rangers will be no more.

Hughes has seemingly been given a chance to turn things around, but now has to reward the owners—and the fans—with some actual results. And not just a couple of wins against Reading and Southampton come November. Because if the next seven games go as poorly as the last, the cries of "Hughes Out" will be louder than the Hammersmith roundabout in rush hour.

I don't love Hughes. But I don't hate him either. He kept QPR up once, what's to say he can't do the same this time around?

Give the Welshman a free pass for his abysmal start, and hopefully Rangers fans will see their team will push up the table. It only takes one win to get the ball rolling, and maximum points against Everton could see QPR leap out of the bottom three, and Hughes can take a deep sigh of relief.

At least until next week.

What do you think? Sack him, or back him?

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