Hall: 'This is the ultimate test for us'

GRANT Hall believes Brighton & Hove Albion will provide QPR with “the ultimate test” when they come to Loftus Road on Friday night.

The Seagulls are currently second in the Championship table, and having won four of their last five fixtures, they seem to be maintaining their form for the business end of the campaign.

The R’s, meanwhile, suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats at Derby and Aston Villa, but Hall rightly draws positives from the team’s display at Villa Park on Tuesday night.

“After a disappointing start we played very well – in the second half especially, I felt we dominated the game,” he told www.qpr.co.uk.

“We just couldn’t create the opening for the equaliser. It was unfortunate but we’ve got another game to quickly move onto.”

Prior to those defeats, Rangers were one of the form teams in the division, having picked up ten points from the previous four fixtures.

Hall explained: “I said before these three games that they would give us an idea of where we are at.

“The reality is we’ve lost two so far which is disappointing but I don’t think we are a million miles away from these teams. We weren’t at it against Derby and deserved to lose but at Villa, we dominated for long spells.

“Brighton will provide the ultimate test with them where they are in the league.”

Hall knows Friday night’s opposition well, having come through the ranks at Albion before joining Tottenham in 2012. And he’s looking forward to catching up with a familiar face tomorrow night.

“I grew up with their centre-back Lewis Dunk in the youth team so I know him well,” Hall explained. “He’s a very big player for them. I still speak to him and we always have a bit of banter on the pitch so it will be good to see him.

“He came off the other night so I’m not sure if he will be available but it will be good to catch up.”

With a return to the top flight beckoning, it looks set to be a season to remember for Brighton, and Hall admitted: “They have been fantastic this season.

“They’re a very strong team and I expect them to go up. They’re fighting it out with Newcastle for top spot so they’re going to be right at it.”

The Seagulls were certainly on form when Rangers played them at the Amex Stadium on Boxing Day, with Chris Hughton’s side running out 3-0 winners.

That defeat for QPR came in the midst of a six-game losing streak. Since then, however, the approach of the R’s has changed, and Hall anticipates a closer affair this time around.

“We are a massively different team now,” he said. “We are really starting to gel and the new lads who have come in have made a big difference to us.

“Luke (Freeman) has been nominated for the Championship’s Player of the Month award, which is testament to how good he’s been, and Smudge (Matt Smith) has come in and chipped in with a few goals.

“We are starting to get a blend of players that we want at the club – players who want to work hard, and we’re all together.”

Under the lights in W12, it is sure to be an excellent atmosphere come kick off, and Hall is looking forward to the challenge.

“They’ll be bringing plenty of fans, and I’ve got quite a few of my family and friends coming up for it too – they’ll be in the QPR end!

“We are expecting a really tough game but hopefully we can play as well as we did against Villa and come away with the result.”

Brighton will provide the ultimate test.

Grant Hall