Washington ‘fantastic’ in his natural role – Holloway

Ian Holloway says Conor Washington has been rejuvenated by playing in his natural position.

Washington scored QPR’s winner in a 2-1 victory over Wigan at Loftus Road – his fourth goal in six matches.

He set up an early opener for strike partner Matt Smith and then restored Rangers’ lead after Omar Bogle had equalised with a penalty.

Washington scored just twice in 31 appearances under Holloway’s predecessor Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who often deployed him on the left flank.

R’s boss Holloway said: “He’s a centre-forward and he knows he can play with Matt Smith. When he’s in a two he’s fantastic.

“If you know what your job is, which is to ​go and score a goal instead of worrying about defending all the time, it makes a difference.

“He can press a centre-half all day long, but he finds it difficult in that wider area.

“Conor’s a fantastic goalscorer and he’s won us the game with that goal.”

The victory took Rangers 10 points clear of struggling Wigan, who remain third from bottom.

“We got an ugly win but the character has come and you can see that the lads are growing,” Holloway said. ​

“The work-rate is there. They’re all wearing the shirt with so much pride.

“Even if we had drawn that game I still would have been happy with their effort. I can’t ask for anymore from any one of them.

“We’re getting ​feeling ​that we can win games, and that’s absolutely vital.

“We need a feeling that we can be good at this level and are moving forward. That’s what looks like it’s coming.”

Wigan boss Warren Joyce was disappointed with his team’s defending in the build up to both QPR goals.

“They were two poor goals to concede. For the first goal we were wide open to a long kick down the middle,” Joyce said.

“We did well to come back and were good value for the 1-1 at half-time. I thought it was a deserved score at half-time.

“We were certainly under plenty of pressure from how direct they were. We know the lad (Matt Smith) wins a lot of balls in the air and that we had to get to the second ball.

“But the first goal comes from their kick and for the second goal we don’t pick the second ball up – it’s straight through on the back four.

“They were poor goals, not goals where you’re carved open. It was two giveaway goals really.

“The fitness and desire were there and we could have got an equaliser near the end. It’s just disappointing the way we gifted the goals away.”