QPR appoint former favourite for Hatters vacancy as new manager

Ex-Blackpool chief takes over at Loftus Road
Neil Critchley was assistant to Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa recentlyNeil Critchley was assistant to Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa recently
Neil Critchley was assistant to Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa recently

Luton’s Championship rivals QPR have appointed former Blackpool boss Neil Critchley as their new manager, just over a month after he was linked with the vacancy at Luton Town.

The 44-year-old takes over from Michael Beale, who opted to leave Loftus Road for Scottish Premier League side Rangers, agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal.

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Critchley was most recently at Aston Villa as assistant head coach to Steven Gerrard, after two years in charge of the Tangerines, winning promotion back to the Championship and staying in the second tier last term.

Speaking to the club’s official website, the former Liverpool youth team manager, who was the bookies favourite to succeed Nathan Jones at Kenilworth Road until Rob Edwards took over last month, said: “It is a huge honour for me and I would like to thank the owners, Les Ferdinand and Lee Hoos for entrusting me to lead the club.

“I would also like to thank Paul Hall and his staff for the hard work they have put in during the interim period.

“Now I am looking forward to getting to work with the players and staff.

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"I already know some of the players from working with them previously and I am aware of a number of them, having followed their careers from afar.

“There have been some good foundations laid here and now it is my job to work as hard as I can to build on that.

“We want to move the club forward and ensure we are competing at the top end of the Championship table.”

QPR chairman Amit Bhatia added: “Following the abrupt departure of Mick Beale it was important that we made a swift appointment, but also that we took the necessary steps to ensure it was the correct appointment.

"In announcing Neil, we have achieved that.

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“We have made a good start to the season and, in the same way Mick built on the strong work of his predecessor Mark Warburton, we wanted somebody who we felt certain could continue that progress for the club.

“We also wanted to ensure we appointed someone who shares the footballing philosophy of our club, and in Neil and his team we also feel confident we have achieved that.

“I’m excited for Neil to get started immediately and wish him the best of luck.”

Luton head to Rangers on December 29.