MARC Bircham believes the team spirit which is growing at QPR will be a vital ingredient if the R’s are to be successful.
The Rangers first team coach, who spent four years in this division as a player, took particular pleasure from how the team celebrated their goals at Birmingham City three days ago – and he believes that provided an insight into the unity of the group.
As QPR stormed to their 4-1 win at St Andrews, substitutes Idrissa Sylla and Yeni Ngbakoto came off the bench to grab late goals, resulting in all ten outfield players enjoying the moment together in front of the travelling R’s fans.
“The celebrations after the goals showed the team spirit amongst the players,” Bircham told www.qpr.co.uk.
“Yeni and Sylla loved it - to come on, score and have all the lads celebrating with them like that was brilliant and you could see it meant a lot to them.
“With any successful side, particularly in the Championship, you need to be fit, well organised and, above all, you need a good team spirit where every player is prepared to work for his team-mates.
“The club have done brilliantly in the window to bring players in who want to be here, want to work hard and want to give their best when they play in the QPR shirt.”
And Bircham believes that attitude and spirit have also helped get the best from the R’s fans – something which will be crucial tonight when the R’s host Wigan Athletic in W12.
“We have said as a group that this game will probably be the harder one,” Bircham explained. “Historically, we have not done well at home against teams towards the bottom of the table.
“We have done well in games when the onus is on the opposition to come at us, but not so well when the onus is more on us.
“I know it’s a cliché, but the crowd plays a massive part in all this. They were brilliant in our last home fixture against Huddersfield – they really kept the lads going and we came so close to getting something from the game.
“In tonight’s match, we really need them behind us again – they can really affect us. The players have been really feeding off the crowd recently, and for some of them it’s the best feeling they’ve got from the fans in the time they’ve been here.
“I know the new lads have really enjoyed the atmosphere the QPR fans have created, and they’ve been enthused by it.
“Even in the games we haven’t won at home – you can go right back to Derby and Aston Villa – they have been clapped off the pitch. That means so much to them because they can see the fans appreciate the effort they’re putting in out there.”
With the Latics in 22nd spot and seven points behind QPR in the Championship table, Bircham agrees tonight’s game is an important one, but he is reluctant to put too much emphasis on one fixture.
“It’s a big game tonight because it gives us the chance to increase the gap between us and them in a relegation battle,” he said. “But, on the other side of it, it’s just another three points up for grabs.
“We’ve got a points total in mind that we want to reach as quickly as possible. Once we do that, it’s all about putting the ground work in for next season.”
Ian Holloway has no fresh injury concerns following Saturday’s win in the midlands.
It’s a big game tonight because it gives us the chance to increase the gap between us and them.