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Bids: Boro still strong without Traore

AFTER the entertainment of Tuesday night’s 2-2 London derby draw with Millwall at Loftus Road, attentions now turn to this weekend’s trip to face Middlesbrough.

Going into the Riverside clash, only a place separates Ian Holloway’s QPR in 10th and Boro in 9th respectively, both on 11 points as things stand in the Sky Bet Championship.

Saturday’s hosts will be without star winger Adama Traore, who saw red for Garry Monk’s men in their midweek goalless draw at Aston Villa.

But Rangers defender Jake Bidwell is still expecting a tough test against a side in the Premier League only last season.

“Obviously, they’re one of the favourites to go up,” Bidwell said, in conversation with www.qpr.co.uk. “And I think it’ll be a different test to our last two games (against Ipswich Town and Millwall), which were quite physical.

“But we’re not fazed by that. We’ve surprised a few people with the results we’ve got already.

“That’s not to say we’ve surprised ourselves, because we know what we’re capable of. But we’ll keep on trying to surprise others.

“We’ll look at what Middlesbrough are about, and I’m sure that the manager will give us a game-plan to go up there and get a result.”

Bidwell added: “He’s (Traore) a good player, but they’ve probably got two to three players for every position.

“That means whoever you come up against is going to be a quality player. They’ve still got the likes of Stewart Downing – an ex-England international. It’ll be a tough game – whoever’s playing.”

QPR will travel to the North East having shown real spirit to preserve their unbeaten home league record on Tuesday evening, coming from two goals down against Millwall in W12 to earn a point. Mass Luongo and Matt Smith were on target for the Hoops.

It could have even been all three but for the goalkeeping heroics of Lions shot-stopper Jordan Archer and the woodwork late on – and Bidwell was full of praise for the character now prevalent in Rangers’ squad.

“It was a tough, physical encounter – just like we thought it’d be,” Bidwell explained. “But the lads stuck at it and could have even nicked it at the end.

“We would have liked the three points, but we’ll take the point and move on to Saturday.

“If that game (Millwall) would have been six-eight months ago, maybe we wouldn’t have got anything. So I think it shows that we’re going in the right direction.

“I think it’s a reflection of the character in this squad now. Hopefully we can keep building on that.

“I think you have to view it as a good point in the end. You’ll take coming back from 2-0 down to earn a point – whatever the circumstances.

“We couldn’t find a third goal, but that’s four points this week already – and it’s not over yet.

“It’s been a solid week for us so far, and we want to finish it off with a good result at Middlesbrough.”

That’s four points this week already – and it’s not over yet.

Jake Bidwell