SINCE returning to the club as manager eight weeks ago, Ian Holloway has now firmly put his stamp on the QPR squad. That’s the verdict of defender Jake Bidwell, who is looking forward to his first London derby in blue and white hoops when the R’s host Fulham this weekend.
The left-back missed our fixture at Craven Cottage and the home game against former club Brentford in October owing to a dislocated shoulder.
Incredibly, only five R’s players who started at Fulham three months ago were in the team that faced Reading last week, highlighting the changes that have occurred in recent weeks.
“The gaffer is putting his stamp on things,” Bidwell told www.qpr.co.uk.
“There have been a couple of players who have left and I’m sure he is looking to add some new personnel as well.
“He’s added Curtis (Fleming) to his staff, he’s brought a couple of lads back from their loans (Michael Doughty and Darnell Furlong), and you can see his squad is starting to take shape now.
“It’s been great working under him. We’ve had a difficult run, but he brings so much positivity to the place and that rubs off on the players.”
Rangers responded in some style after losing six on the bounce, winning against Wolves, Ipswich and Reading to move eight points above the relegation zone.
Bidwell admits picking up maximum points from the last three fixtures has given the whole training ground a lift.
“That run of results has been massive for us,” he said. “You look at the table now and you tend to look at the teams above you rather than worrying so much about what’s happening below you.
“It’s a better place to be when you have won a few games – the mood naturally picks up and everyone is feeling confident going into Saturday.”
Bidwell believes the difficult run the team experienced has only served to unite the squad, after they worked as a group to turn things around.
“It shows our character to come out of it like we have,” he said.
“Some of the performances deserved more points than we got during that bad run, and perhaps on the one hand you could say these recent results have been coming.
“Now we just need to put in another good one on Saturday and keep this good run going.”
After hard-fought wins against Wolves and the Tractor Boys, Rangers turned in one of their best displays of the season to see-off high-flying Reading at the Madejski Stadium, with Jamie Mackie grabbing the only goal of the game.
The nature of the victory, says Bidwell, has given the R’s players further belief they can pick up all three points when in-form Fulham make the short trip to Loftus Road.
“The gaffer, Curtis and Birch came up with a gameplan for Reading and it worked perfectly,” he said.
“Anyone watching the game could see that they ran out of ideas towards the end, and that forced them to play in a way that they didn’t really want to.
“Fulham like to pass the ball about as well but I think they’re slightly different to Reading, and I’m sure the gaffer will come up with something again this week to give us the best chance of picking up all three points.”
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side have only lost two of their last 12 fixtures – both to second-placed Brighton – and will be looking to avenge Rangers’ 2-1 win at the Cottage when the hosts missed two penalties.
Bidwell, meanwhile, is looking forward to his first derby with the R’s.
“I missed both derbies with my shoulder, so if I’m involved in this game it would be great,” he added.
“These fixtures definitely have that extra something about them. You know what it means to the fans to win these games, and I’m sure the atmosphere will be bouncing on Saturday.
“It’s up to us to put on a performance for the fans and get them right behind us.”