Ainsworth defiant after another QPR defeat

QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth
QPR have lost three of their four matches under Gareth Ainsworth (Picture: Ian Randall Photography)

Gareth Ainsworth is convinced the return of key players will help QPR climb away away from relegation danger.

The 1-0 loss at home to Birmingham was Rangers’ seventh ​defeat ​in their past eight matches and they have lost three of their four games since Ainsworth took over.

They were top in October but an appalling slump has left them​ slide to​ 20th, now just six points above the drop zone with eight matches remaining.

The absence of playmakers Ilias Chair and Chris Willock has hit them especially hard, but Ainsworth believes they will be back to face bottom side Wigan after the international break.

Ainsworth said: “We’ve got eight cup finals to go and we need to win a couple of them. I believe we can do that.

“In the next couple of weeks, with all the injuries coming back, I think that will boost​ ​the squad and the morale will raise.

“I’ve got players coming back who haven’t played for months and haven’t been in this sort of decline, so they’re quite fresh and will be mentally OK.

Sinclair Armstrong came on as a substitute as QPR searched in vain for an equaliser (Picture: Ian Randall Photography)

“Hopefully we’ll get them up to speed and be strong against Wigan, which is a game we really need to win.

“I’m hoping that the likes of Kenneth Paal, Ethan Laird, Leon Balogun, Ilias Chair, Chris Willock and (Jake) Clarke-Salter​ (will return)​ – we’ve got some big names in the treatment room and I think once they’re back we’ll see a different side out there.”

Just as they did during the 6-1 humiliation at Blackpool in midweek, Rangers conceded in only the third minute, with the poor defending which has plagued their season evident yet again.

Reda Khadra went past Albert Adomah and played in Juninho Bacuna, who pulled the ball back from the left for Tahith Chong to apply the finish​.​

Ainsworth admitted: “They were very solid defensively and we could take a lesson from that because the goal is too easy. We’ve conceded an easy goal after two minutes and that’s the tale of the game.

“They’ve thrown bodies and defended their box like their lives depended on it. I wanted that from my boys.”