NI duo Smyth and Washington have a new manager at QPR
Former England boss Steve McClaren has been appointed as the new manager of QPR.
The 57-year-old has agreed a two-year contract at Loftus Road, where the squad contains Northern Ireland forwards Paul Smyth and Conor Washington as well as U21 international Charlie Owens.
McClaren worked at the club for three months under Harry Redknapp during 2013 before embarking on his first spell at Derby.
"It's great to be back - and it's a challenge that I'm excited by," McClaren told the Sky Bet Championship club's official website after being confirmed as Ian Holloway's successor.
"I must admit that I've followed the club closely over the last five years, because of the three months I had here.
"From the outside, I've seen the progress, work and changes that have gone on - especially over the last two years - in streamlining the squad and getting the budget down. The board and owners deserve credit for that.
McClaren was in charge at Newcastle during the 2015-16 season before returning to Derby, a managerial role he left in March 2017.
The former England manager, who left that position after failing to secure qualification for Euro 2008, is confident QPR can progress next season following a 16th-placed finish.
"The introduction of younger players has been a breath of fresh air and it's exciting for the future," the one-time Middlesbrough boss said.
"I like to play attractive, attacking football - and we've got young, hungry footballers here who can play that way.
"The priority is to win football matches - but we want to win them in a certain style."
Holloway joined the Rs for a second spell as boss in November 2016, signing a two-and-a-half-year deal, but left with 12 months still remaining on his contract.
McClaren, meanwhile, brings with him a wealth of coaching experience, having worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and having managed in Europe at FC Twente and Wolfsburg.
He had a brief stint with Nottingham Forest in 2011.
QPR director of football Les Ferdinand feels McClaren is the "perfect fit" for the west London club as they look to chart a course back to the Premier League.
"Steve has a fantastic reputation in the game for coaching and developing players," he said.
"When you look at the average age of our squad, and the exciting young talent starting to emerge, he is the perfect fit for us.
"We want Steve to use his expertise and experience to help our players grow.
"We are delighted with this appointment and, speaking with Steve, I know how excited he is to be here and how determined he is to be a success."
QPR said a further announcement on McClaren's backroom staff would be made in due course.
Belfast Telegraph Digital