League Insider - Warnock
Rob Parrish salutes the sartorial selection of Neil Warnock as winter's icy grip tightens.
Last Updated: 06/12/10 12:34pm
Forecasts of arctic weather hitting the United Kingdom in the latter stages of this week will have been greeted with a grim shiver of anticipation up and down the country, but particularly in one part of West London.
Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock has already been braving the November temperatures on the touchline with little more than a pair of shorts to protect his legs against the onset of winter.
Warnock's strange sartorial selection is, of course, the stuff of superstition, with the Rs' unbeaten league run prompting their boss to stick with his summer selection rather than rummage in the back of the wardrobe for the long-johns and tracksuit bottoms.
He admitted recently after their midweek clash at Portsmouth: "I needed a long soak in a hot bath. It was three hours after the final whistle, I'd been in a warm bus and my warm car, but I still felt cold in my bones, especially around my hip replacement.
"Back in the balmy days of August I started the season wearing shorts on the touchline. I did think I'd be in tracksuit bottoms by now but we haven't lost a league game yet, so I'm still wearing them."
Warnock is undoubtedly one of the game's more colourful characters, but behind the eccentricities and opinionated outbursts lies a manager of great skill and presence whose record during his 29 years in the dugout, which began with Gainsborough Trinity in the Northern League, is highly impressive.
The 61-year-old has secured promotion during his stints with Scarborough, Notts County, Huddersfield, Plymouth and Sheffield United - not bad for a man whose spiteful critics handed him the nickname 'Colin'. You'll have to work out the rest of the anagram for yourself.
With QPR joining Manchester United as the only teams in the country yet to be beaten in the league this term, Warnock is in exalted company as he looks to guide the West London club back into the Premier League after a 14-year absence.
But unlike United, who even their manager admits are not at their swaggering attacking best this term, the Rs have rightly established a reputation as the Championship's entertainers, with 33 goals scored and just eight conceded from their opening 18 games, giving them the most potent attack and meanest defence in the division.
After brushing aside Preston 3-1 on Saturday, Warnock's next challenge is arguably the biggest of the season to date as second-place Cardiff City make the trip to Loftus Road. And if his shorts have not been packed away for the winter by 5pm, then the club will be one step closer to a place back among the elite.