JACK Robinson has revealed an honest and frank discussion with boss Ian Holloway gave him the extra hunger to fight for his place in the heart of the QPR defence this season.
After an injury-ravaged 2016/17 campaign, the 24 year-old enjoyed a positive pre-season, only to find himself surplus to requirements during the opening few weeks of the season.
At that stage, with the transfer window still open, Robinson sat down with Holloway to discuss his future, with the manager suggesting a loan move may be beneficial for the left-sided defender.
Robinson was fairly adamant he didn’t want to go – and that chat proved to be just the spur he needed to force his way into Holloway’s plans at Loftus Road.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Indeed, Robinson has started the R’s last six fixtures – featuring in nine matches in total and already eclipsing the seven appearances he made last season – with Holloway revealing prior to the international break that the defender is the ‘first name’ on his teamsheet.
It’s fair to say it’s been quite a turnaround.
“To hear the gaffer say I'm the first name on his teamsheet at the moment is brilliant,” he told www.qpr.co.uk.
“I think I impressed him in the first few weeks of pre-season, but so did everyone, so it got to the last couple of weeks of the window and there was some talk about going out on loan.
“We had a talk, an honest chat. He said he didn't think I was going to get much game-time.
“I said to him that I thought there was a place for me in this QPR team this season – and that I wanted to fight for my place.
“I didn't really want to go on loan, but we agreed if the right team came in for me, we'd look at it.
“But in the back of my mind, I wanted to fight for my place and that chat gave me even more hunger to go out and prove myself.
“A few weeks later, the injuries started to pile up and I was training well, so I got my chance.
“He pulled me and said I was going to start the Ipswich game – and I haven't looked back since.”
Robinson believes Holloway’s honest approach with his players should be lauded, adding: “To have an honest manager and that frank discussion and dialogue is so important.
“We were both brutally honest and that's the way it should be.
“It's worked out well in the end, but I've still got a lot to prove and a lot to work on to ensure that I continue to impress him and the rest of the lads.”
Robinson will be looking to make a seventh appearance on the bounce at the Stadium of Light – the home of Sunderland – this weekend, as the Hoops return to action following the recent international break.
Simon Grayson’s Mackems, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, are currently languishing down in 23rd place in the Championship.
But Robinson is expecting another tough game.
“Sunderland are a big club – they were a big club to come down last season,” he said.
“They’ve made an indifferent start to the season, but I'm sure they'll be looking to climb the table over the coming weeks.
“It'll be a tough game on Saturday. But we believe we can go up there and get a result.
“Our approach will be the same as it always is – on the front foot, getting in their faces. That's what we try to do in every game.”
Sunderland are yet to win at home this season. Rangers are yet to register a victory on their travels.
Robinson added: “Sunderland's supporters will expect a home win, but we want to create problems for them and get a positive result.
“We've been in all the away games we’ve played in this season, either drawing or only losing by the odd goal, with the exception of Norwich.
“We need to take our chances when they come our way and also keep them out at the other end, because we've conceded a few sloppy goals this season.”
Despite losing to Fulham prior to the international break, the R’s players left the field to a standing ovation from most of the QPR fans in attendance at Loftus Road that night – and Robinson believes that support will play a huge role again this weekend.
“QPR fans are very knowledgeable,” he said.
“I think they can see from our performances this season that we're giving 110 per-cent every time we go out on the pitch.
“Win, lose or draw – we're giving everything.
“With their support, we'll continue to do everything we can – home and away – to climb the table in the coming weeks.”