IAN Holloway has called on his players to ‘be brave and believe in themselves’ when they take on Derby County at Loftus Road this evening.
QPR face a Rams team who are full of confidence having won six consecutive fixtures to move into the play-off pack.
The R’s, meanwhile, will be looking to end a run of three straight defeats following Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Rotherham.
“It will be nice to get that one out of our system,” Holloway told www.qpr.co.uk.
“We let a goal in which shouldn’t have fazed us, but in the second half we got worse as the game went on. That was very disappointing but this is a great challenge for us tonight.”
Holloway admits his players need to handle the mental factor of conceding a goal better.
“Day in, day out the players are understanding more and more what I want,” he said. “I am introducing more things to help them but they have got to deal with that disappointment better.
“What we are looking for is characters to come out of the group and take some responsibility to change things out there – not go quiet.
“It’s a problem, of course it is, but goals can change that. We’ve got to look forward and feel as though we are going to score.
“If we had scored on Saturday I think we would have won the game comfortably, but unfortunately we didn’t get that goal.”
Steve McClaren will be in the visiting dugout this evening, having returned to Derby 17 months after leaving the club.
“He is probably four years ahead of me, in terms of where I am here because he had them recently and has just gone back in and got them going again,” Holloway said.
“They know what he wants. He has changed it back to what they were used to, which is credit to him.
“We’ve had a lot of changes here, but they were changes that were needed. We tried to buy success – we threw money and wages at players but they didn’t really care, did they?
“We have bought people now from lower leagues. Each club in this Championship is in a different position, and we are in a different position to Derby.
“Long-term it’s about getting a way of playing, an identity, and the lads to understand that. We are working on it.”
Holloway wants his players to show belief tonight as they bid to stop the visitors from extending their winning streak.
“Derby like to dominate possession so it is going to be tough,” he added. “They are in a confident place at the moment and we’re not. This is when we need to be brave, believe in ourselves and keep doing what we have started to do – like we did in the first half at Rotherham.
“We know they are in a rich vein of form but, for me, bring them on. I don’t care who it is. We normally do better against a team that’s fancied – it’s in QPR’s history.
“We have had a chequered start but the players are responding and I am looking forward to seeing them go out there and do it.”
Tonight’s game is likely to come too soon for Ariel Borysiuk, who featured for the Under 23s on Monday afternoon following a recent hamstring injury.
Pawel Wszolek, who has been sidelined with a knee problem, returned to training this week while Idrissa Sylla is also training again following a hamstring injury.
Jamie Mackie (ankle) also played in the Under 23s’ 2-1 win over Watford this week but isn’t expected to be involved tonight.
Steven Caulker (hip) and Jack Robinson (hamstring) remain out.
James Perch is available again after serving a one match suspension following his red card against Wolves.