MARK Warburton says his QPR squad will be determined to build on their impressive victory over Luton Town when they head to Cardiff City on Wednesday night (7pm GMT kick-off).
Goals from Charlie Austin and Macauley Bonne rewarded a resolute team performance as the R’s earned all three points in Bedfordshire last Tuesday.
On Saturday, Rangers were due to host Wycombe Wanderers at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium but the match was called off due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the visitors’ squad.
That means that Wednesday’s trip to Wales will present Rangers will their first opportunity to back-up that Luton win and Warburton insists his players are ready to rise to the challenge.
“We were really disappointed that Saturday’s game was off because we were very much looking forward to it,” he told www.qpr.co.uk. “Instead, we hosted a training game and that was very beneficial for us.
“The guys who haven’t started the last few games, we need to keep them match fit; people like Chris Willock, Albert Adomah and George Thomas. We need to make sure they are ready if called upon.
“The hardest thing for a player can be when they haven’t got that match sharpness, so we’re trying to strike that balance of keeping everyone on their toes whilst also realising that we are very light in numbers and not overdoing it.
“It was a good, hour-long, in-house game and a few players then did some extra work afterwards, while the recent starters came in and got their recovery treatment from the medical staff.”
Wednesday’s opponents Cardiff started December by winning five out of six matches but in their most recent seven outings they have tasted defeat on six occasions.
Warburton – whose team beat the Bluebirds 3-2 earlier this season – says he and his players know what kind of a challenge to expect against them.
He said: “You prepare for a well-managed team and a talented squad. I’m full of respect for Neil and his staff. People criticise certain teams but Cardiff have quality in their ranks; they are direct and they maximise every opportunity they can to get the ball into your box.
“They have a big threat with [Will] Vaulks’ long throw and we have to be prepared. The likes of Moore, Glatzel and Morrison give them good physicality and they have some very good footballers as well. We know that we face a tough test on a very big pitch.
“We went there [to Cardiff] last season, delivered an outstanding performance but somehow came away with nothing, so what we have to do is impose ourselves on the game, show the quality that we know we have and defend our goal with a real ruthlessness and passion.”
Bright Osayi-Samuel informed the club on Saturday that he had signed a pre-contract agreement with Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Warburton says this presents a number of his players with a great opportunity to cement themselves in his team.
He said: “Every day is an opportunity and we have got a lot of players who maybe deserve more pitch time than they are getting at the moment. That is the nature of the game, sometimes you have to remain patient and you hope that when your opportunity does come then you are in the position to maximise it.”
Warburton confirmed that Osman Kakay and Lee Wallace have returned to full training, while new signing Jordy de Wijs is a few days away from joining the group for full training, having almost overcome a slight knock.
Wednesday's game is available to watch worldwide on QPR+ and IS covered by season ticket vouchers. If you are not a season ticket holder, you can purchase a match pass to watch Cardiff City v QPR by clicking here.