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  • By Yann Tear

Warburton says ambition at QPR is high, but they can't live beyond their means

Mark Warburton has made an impassioned plea for fans to accept that QPR cannot afford to risk long-term health by buying expensive players.But he also insists Rangers can still remain ambitious by developing the raft of young players who have worked their way into the first-team squad.The Hoops lost the on-loan Nahki Wells in the January window and were in no position to offer parent club Burnley – or the player – the sort of deal which took him to Bristol City.Rangers lost 1-0 to Bristol on Saturday, with Wells making his debut for the West Country side against the west Londoners.

Not so long ago, Rangers gambled on big signings and big wages but those days are over for now in the era of Financial Fair Play (FFP).

The Rangers boss said: “There’s no lack of ambition. There’s no lack of desire – no lack of drive to finish as high as we can. But we can’t afford to go and spend three, four or five million quid on players.

“I hear people say: ‘He’s a free transfer but they don’t understand that a free transfer comes with a massive agency fee and a great big basic wage. It’s never free.

“People have to understand we’re not in the market to go and put guys on 25 or 30k a week. That’s not our league.

“What we’re doing is working with our young players. We’ve got some really talented young players on the pitch and our senior players are working really hard on and off the pitch in a mentoring capacity.

“I hope the genuine fans can see a lot of work being done by the players.”

One of those players who has impressed in recent week is central defender Conor Masterson and he again gave a decent account of himself.

“Masterson’s just turned 21 years of age,” said Warburton. “Here’s a player that was going to go out on loan but Conor played against Swansea in the FA Cup and did very well, came on at Brentford and did very well, deserved to play against Leeds and did very, very well.

“We’ve got a lean squad, with 18 players and Geoff Cameron suspended, but we are going to work really hard.

“You can go out there and spend way beyond your means in a win-or-bust scenario but you can’t do that. Businesses can’t run like that. You can’t assume a massive debt and hope you go up.

“There’s clubs with huge debts and pushing FFP. But you just hope that if clubs like QPR are going to adhere strictly to the guidelines now, then it has to be a level playing field.

“But right now, the owners are doing the right thing. We’re not getting 35-40,000 crowds every week, it’s not the stadium for that, so we’ve got to understand where we are financially.”

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