QPR manager Ian Holloway will be minus the services of Massimo Luongo for tonight’s trip to Derby County, but all his other returning internationals are in ‘fine fettle’ ahead of the trip to Pride Park.
After a two-week break, Rangers return to Sky Bet Championship action this evening and Holloway is pleased to see the majority of his squad fighting fit for the Sky live clash against Gary Rowett’s side.
“Massimo has been all around the world and doesn’t get back in the country until the early hours of this morning,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk.
“He’s had a monumental week or so, so we can’t risk him at Derby. He’ll be back in the squad for Villa on Tuesday.
“Pawel (Wszolek) is back. He was ill while he was away with Poland, but he’s back and available.
“The rest of the boys have come back from their international duty in good health – Conor (Washington) scored again whilst he was away which is good for him and us – so we’re in good shape.”
Holloway readily admits he’s used the fortnight’s break to prepare his players for a ‘crazy period’ between now and the end of the season, with the squad given an extended four-day break to spend time with their families last weekend.
He said: “The boys have had a nice break. We gave them four days off to spend with their families and they’ve come back refreshed.
“The boys understand what I want from them. I’m craving consistency – and we’re showing that at the moment.
“We need to keep that ticking over now, because we’ve got a crazy period coming up.
“We will need every player and they know that I’ll be calling on them.”
He added: “The atmosphere around the place is unbelievable.
“There’s a real positive feeling in the group – and the camaraderie is something really special.
“Deep down, you need your workforce – which is my squad – to all be in it together, and that togetherness is here in abundance.
“We’ve got a great group of people here.
“They’ve all come together and the results have been there for everyone to see.
“We’ve got some momentum and that’s a wonderful thing to have.
“We’re going a bit under the radar, and that’s fine by me.
“It’s testament to the lads for taking on all the information I’m giving them.
“We want to finish the season as positively as possible.”
As the R’s look to end an unbeaten March on a high, Holloway is well aware of the threat posed by tonight’s opponents.
“I’m really looking forward to the game,” said Holloway.
“It’ll be a tough one, of course it will, but my challenge to my players is to go out and win every game.
“I certainly didn’t think when we played Derby in December that Steve (McClaren) wouldn’t be at the club in March.
“We lost the game 1-0, Tom Ince scored late on – I can remember it, it still hurts.
“Good luck to Gary (Rowett) though, because he should never have been let go by Birmingham.
“Derby are doing it their own way, and that’s up to them. The Derby way they call it – and to me it looks like that means promotion, that’s my take on it all anyway.
“We know it will be a tough game but we’re prepared, we’re excited for the challenge and I’m looking forward to the test.”
Holloway admits QPR are a ‘work in progress’ and his approach to tonight’s game is testament to that.
“We’re looking at them 80% and ourselves 20%. That’s where we are at the moment,” he said.
“I want to get it to looking at us 100% and teams worrying about us 100% if you see what I mean.
“But we’re a work in progress at the minute, so that will come in time.”
He added: “We want to keep improving the culture at the football club.
“That’s my overall masterplan. To create something special here, at a place I love as much as our fans do.
“We’re working on that with Les and the brilliant backroom staff we’ve got here and I believe the future is bright at this club, I really do.
“I feel our biggest problem going back a number of years has been the recruitment of the wrong characters.
“That will change now. It changed in January. The scouting network, which is brilliant by the way, know exactly what I want.
“The QPR train is on the right rails – and that gives me an immense feeling of pride.”