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We’ll respect Preston – but we must impose ourselves

QPR boss Mark Warburton insists his team won’t simply be playing for a point when they visit high-flying Preston North End tomorrow (Saturday).

Sixth-placed Preston have been beaten on home turf just twice in the league all season.

However, with the R’s currently unbeaten in five Sky Bet Championship fixtures – and having also picked up back-to-back clean sheets in their last two away ties – Warburton believes Rangers are fully capable of hurting Alex Neil’s talented Lilywhites.

“I think they’re really well organised,” Warburton told www.qpr.co.uk. “They’re a very experienced team who are very good at what they do.

“They have a lot of maturity in their ranks and a lot of knowhow, too. They are where they are because they deserve to be there.

“We beat them in the reverse fixture – at the time they were on a bad run and lost four in a row at that stage. But they’ve bounced back really well. They’re a very strong outfit with a great home record. So it’s a tough place to go to and their expectation will be high.

“However, they’ll know that we can create chances, that we can move the ball and be dangerous. We have to go there and try to impose ourselves on the game.

“We’ll show respect to our opponent and it’ll be a case of doing our job at set-pieces. We’ll have to be very, very good at defending our goal.

“But we know we have the attacking prowess to hurt any team.”

Rangers head to Preston having not won at Deepdale since Tommy Docherty was in charge in 1980.

However, having ended similar barren runs against Blackburn and at Millwall earlier this season, Warburton is looking forward to the prospect of putting another unwanted statistic to bed.

“I love to hear positive stats over the course of a season!” he joked.

“Preston are a club with good tradition. They’ve had some great players in their ranks and have a fan-base who follow their club passionately.

“It's a tough place to go to and it’s as simple as that. They’re a team who are currently fighting hard for the play-offs, for promotion, and as I said, their expectation will be very, very high heading into this game.

“For us, it’s the same message – we have to prepare well and impose ourselves on the game. We’re a very good team when we do what we do well.

“We can’t sit off – we have to be on the front foot, moving the ball quickly and being brave with our decision making. If we do that, then we’ll pose any team a problem.”

On the subject of consecutive clean sheets on the road, at Swansea City then Nottingham Forest, the R’s boss added: “Every game is different, absolutely, but we’ve shown resilience and defensive nous to look after our goal. We certainly should have taken more than a point away from Swansea.

“We know what we face at the weekend. They boys have worked hard in training this week and you have to enjoy these challenges.”

In terms of team news, Warburton confirmed that skipper Grant Hall could return for the trip to the North West after missing the 2-2 home draw versus Birmingham City last weekend.

“Grant trained yesterday (Thursday) and did the full session,” he explained.

“That gives me a selection problem because we saw the back two (Conor Masterson and Yoann Barbet) work very hard last weekend.

“Well done to the medical and sports science teams. Grant had a back problem but they’ve dealt really well with it. The player and departments worked very well together and that’s what you need to get players back fit and ready.”

We know we have the attacking prowess to hurt any team.

Mark Warburton