These are difficult times for QPR, but they reached the March international break in decent shape, with 47 points – putting them 14 clear of the relegation zone – and having won at Aston Villa and come back from two down to draw at Fulham.
There have certainly been positive signs over the last couple of weeks.
Furlong looks the real deal
Since a baptism of fire, when he endured difficult games against Arsenal and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, Furlong has never looked out of place in the QPR first team. But at 22 and with an excellent grounding during his spells out on loan, he is now looking increasingly like a seasoned Championship full-back.
His return to full fitness following injury has been a big boost for Rangers, not least because it has made it easier for them to switch to a back four. His last couple of performances, including against the superb Ryan Sessegnon at Fulham, have underlined his progress.
The change of system has, inevitably, also helped left-back Jake Bidwell, who has been spared the “graveyard shift”, as Ian Holloway dubbed it, at wing-back.
Two key 90-minute players
While there has been much emphasis on developing younger players – Ebere Eze’s recent displays have been an another obvious plus for Rangers – work done with two of their senior pros has produced positive results of late. Joel Lynch and Matt Smith have both been put on fitness regimes to improve their conditioning and the results have been evident.
Smith offers an obvious aerial presence, but until recently has not been a 90-minute player for the R’s. Lynch, meanwhile, has been prone to far too many lapses during his QPR career so far, but in the last few games has kept his concentration from start to finish.
Goals for Luongo
Adding goals to his game has been a key aim for Luongo, who has continued to develop nicely this season. And with three goals in his last five matches, perhaps that missing piece of the jigsaw is now being put in place.