BY NICK KITUNO
Mark Warburton insists Queens Park Rangers’ clash tonight with Brentford is “just one game” as they could close the gap on their west London rivals in the Championship with a win.
The R’s are just three points behind last season’s play-off finalists after resisting a spirited Rotherham United fightback to claim a vital 3-2 victory in midweek.
Brentford have suffered a slow start themselves, but Ivan Toney inspired the Bees to a narrow 1-0 win away to Barnsley on Tuesday night, helping end a run of three consecutive draws.
The two sides will meet for the first time at the new Brentford Community Stadium and Warburton is remaining grounded.
He said: “It’s just one game at a time for us. It’s all you can do, in this league, because you can easily slip up. You saw that against Rotherham. It’s easy to do that. Every point is indeed a prisoner, and you have to work so hard for every point in this division. All the teams are seeing that.
“Brentford are a very talented football team, playing at home, and it’s a different type of game to the one we faced on Tuesday. We had to prepare for that, but we know we are armed.
“We are capable of playing some good football and we can stand up as well, so the players deserve a lot of credit for the last two games, but everything is now geared towards 7.45pm on Friday evening.”
Warburton previously managed Brentford, from December 2013 to May 2015, and left the club before the two teams met in the league for the first time since 2004. They were both in the old Second Division at the time.
Brentford won 1-0 at the old Griffin Park that October and QPR have not won away to the Bees in 17 years.
Even still, Warburton insists the prize remains the same. He added: “It’s another game of football, it’s three points. We don’t get five points for beating Brentford in a derby, it’s the three points.
“We have the weaponry to go and deal with it but we have to apply ourselves really well because if we don’t then you get hurt at this level.”
A player who could be key in securing those three points is summer signing Lyndon Dykes, who scored from the penalty spot during the 3-2 win at home to Rotherham United.
The Scotland striker converted from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time as QPR entered the break with a 3-1 lead, thanks to Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel.
Rotherham fought back in the second half, and kept their hopes alive when substitute Freddie Ladapo pulled one back with six minutes to go, but Rangers held on for victory.
While all four of Dykes’ goals have come from 12 yards out, Warburton is content with the goalscorer’s production so far – regardless of how it comes.
He said: “It’s not a worry because he’s working so hard. He allows the likes of Ilias [Chair], and Brighty [Osayi-Samuel], and Chrissy Willock, and Albert Adomah to play. Macca [Macauley Bonne] came on as well.
“He’s still got loads of development to come but he offers us something different as well, as does Macca.
“It’s nice to have the penalties put in the back of the net – a manager would never rest easy until the ball does hit the back of the net, let me tell you that – but he’s done very well on that side of it. Long may it continue.”
PHOTOS: KEITH GILLARD
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