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Warburton ready for Swansea test

MARK Warburton wants his players to maintain their recent push up the table as they look to secure a top-ten finish this season.

The R’s visit a Swansea side who know victory is essential as they bid to snatch the second automatic promotion spot from Watford.

The Swans are currently six points behind the Hornets with four games remaining, while their last fixture of the campaign sees them visit Vicarage Road for what could be a winner-takes-all match.

From Rangers’ point of view, Warburton’s men are aiming to build on another impressive win, this time a 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday which saw them play out the last 30 minutes with ten men following the dismissal of Seny Dieng.

“The way the players coped with being down to ten men for such a long period was really pleasing,” Warburton said.

“To a man, we stepped up, tackled, blocked crosses and defended the goal. Joe Lumley deserves an enormous amount of credit - he pulled off a couple of tremendous saves.”

Lumley had only made one appearance for QPR in seven months prior to coming off the bench at the Riverside Stadium, and Warburton says he has been pleased with how the goalkeeper has handled losing his place in the starting line-up to Dieng.

“I have been highly, highly impressed by Joe’s response – but not surprised,” said the R’s chief.

“The way he works hard every single day, he has had to be patient and has obviously been frustrated but he has never let that affect his training.

“He works tirelessly and the way he prepares himself and applies himself is outstanding. Joe is a highly talented, ultra-professional goalkeeper who deserves so much praise.”

Dieng will serve a one-match ban for his dismissal which means Lumley will continue between the sticks for what Warburton says will be a very difficult fixture.

“We expect a very, very tough game,” he said. “Swansea may have lost Andrew Ayew (to injury) but they are a very strong squad and we know we face a very formidable test but as always they will know that QPR can play, they will know we are dangerous and we want to finish in the top ten.”

Charlie Austin is available after completing his three-match ban following an incident against Nottingham Forest, and Warburton has confirmed the West Brom loanee will feature against Swansea – but Lyndon Dykes is likely to start after his impressive run of form.

The Scotland striker has scored five goals in his last six games, while he also set up Lee Wallace’s match-winner against ‘Boro.

“For a guy that has come through a lot in his first year, he has dealt with an enormous amount and deserves so much credit,” Warburton said.

“He is in a rich vein of form but he knows you have got to keep pushing.”

Discussing his thinking ahead of the game on Tuesday night, Warburton explained: “We can play Charlie and Lyndon together, we can play different formations and we have to look at what is best against Swansea.

“Charlie will be the first to say that you want competition.

“The moment someone is guaranteed their shirt I think you lose something. We have to maintain that level of competition. It will be a tough game but Charlie will have his role to play in some form.”

Geoff Cameron will not travel to Wales but is close to a return for QPR.

 

I have been highly, highly impressed by Joe’s response – but not surprised.

Mark Warburton
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