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Smith in confident mood ahead of Leeds return

MATT Smith is challenging himself and his QPR team-mates to end the season on a high, as the focus of attention switches to Saturday’s fixture against his former club Leeds United.

Rangers head into the clash against Garry Monk’s play-off chasing side in the wake of a deserved 2-1 win against Barnsley on Tuesday night – the R’s fourth win in five Sky Bet Championship matches – and the 27 year-old front-man is keen to see the Hoops continue that fine run of form at Elland Road this weekend.

Smith played for the Whites for just over a year, but will put any sentiments to one side for 90-plus minutes on Saturday, commenting: “I was only at Leeds for a short period, but a lot happened in that time. It was very eventful.

“What I can say is that I've got very fond memories of my time there.

“It's a massive club and I'm proud to have represented them – I'm looking forward to going back there.”

He added: “They've had a great season so far under Monk.

“It looks like there's a bit of stability at Elland Road now and that's what they needed.

“They're a very strong team and in (Chris) Wood, they've got a striker who seems to be scoring week in, week out, which is very important at this level.”

Smith was an unused substitute in Tuesday night’s victory over Barnsley, but is hopeful of a recall this weekend, as the R’s go gunning for a season’s-double over the Whites, following our 3-0 win on the opening day of the season back in August.

“It's going to be a tough game, but it's a game we're all looking forward to,” he said.

“We're probably the form team in the division at the moment, with four wins in our last five, and there's a great confidence in the squad and a positive feeling around the club in general.

“We've had time to gel since the January window and the various changes that were made – and we're really starting to see what the manager wants us to do come to fruition.

“There's a real strength in depth to the squad now.

“The manager made five changes on Tuesday night, but you couldn't tell.

“That was a pretty comfortable victory over Barnsley in my opinion, so there's a lot to be positive about and a lot to be confident about.

“We looked fresh and energetic, especially in midfield. Luke (Freeman) came back in after his suspension and produced a man-of-the-match display.

“It bodes well and it's testament to the strength of the squad.”

He added: “When I came in in January, we were perhaps looking over our shoulders a bit, but we're not doing that anymore.

“There's a real sense of freedom to our play at the moment – and make no mistake, we want to go there and win the game this weekend.

“We set objectives and we put pressure on ourselves.

“We're really looking to maximise our points return between now and the end of the season.

“Let's see how high we can climb the table.”

Let's see how high we can climb the table.

Matt Smith