IAN Holloway believes the QPR squad have a greater feeling of optimism than they did a few months ago, as they prepare for tonight’s trip to Aston Villa.
The R’s enjoyed an excellent recent run of results, as well as performances, losing one of seven fixtures before suffering a 1-0 defeat at Derby on Friday night.
As they look to get back on track this evening, Holloway acknowledges the display at Pride Park wasn’t good enough, but says his group of players have a good feeling about the direction they are heading in.
“We are on the right lines, we just have to make sure we keep doing the right things,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk.
“Dealing with disappointment is absolutely vital and I think this squad is getting better at that – they were really annoyed with themselves for their performance at Derby.
“We expected to play more like we have been doing, but unfortunately it was one of those days. That happens sometimes. We didn’t pass it well enough, we didn’t press right and we came up against a team who were better than us on the day, I’m afraid.
“It wasn’t that the lads didn’t try, it wasn’t that they didn’t care – we’ve got that. We just have to move on from it, and what better way to move on than to play Aston Villa at Villa Park.
“We’ve got Villa tonight, Brighton on Friday, Bristol City the following Friday, and then Sheffield Wednesday on the Monday – people talk about the Premier League but this division is pretty relentless.
“It’s full of clubs who have aspirations of getting into the top flight, us included. We’ve got a long way to go but we’re improving.”
Tonight’s opposition are the form team of the Championship, having won six of their last seven fixtures, and Holloway knows his men are in for a difficult challenge.
“They are full of talent, have spent a lot of money, and Steve Bruce is trying to build their spirit,” he said.
“Steve is a very, very experienced manager and the best at getting teams promoted from this division.
“It’s a huge challenge for him but the players have certainly got his way now, and they are playing the way he wants them to.
“Yes, we have got some tough fixtures coming up but we can look at these games with far more optimism than perhaps we were able to a few months ago. And the group is doing that.”
Holloway has confirmed he will make changes for this evening’s game from the side that lost at Derby, while one player will miss out owing to illness.
“One of the lads was ill on Sunday so I have left him out – but I won’t be telling you who that is!” he said.
“I have rested some, and brought others in to add some freshness, and because of what we need to do in order to stop Villa, and look to beat them.”