Freeman insists Smith is more than a ‘big lump’

Luke Freeman says QPR team-mate Matt Smith is much more than just a target man.

Smith has settled quickly at Loftus Road following his move from Fulham, scoring the opening goal in Rangers’ recent victories against Birmingham and Wigan.

And Freeman – who played alongside Smith during a prolific loan spell with Bristol City two years ago – insists the 6ft 6in forward has a lot more to offer beyond his aerial presence.

“I played with Smudge when he came to Bristol City a couple of years back and he’s not just the stereotype big lump up top,” said Freeman.

“He’s got great feet and a great touch as well and he’s showing that. He’s come in and scored two goals and he’s bringing other people into play.

“I love playing with him because it allows me to get up the field and pick up second balls. Even if he doesn’t win them, he makes sure the defenders don’t win clear headers.”

Freeman, also a recent arrival at QPR after two and a half years with City, is already flourishing in his preferred central midfield role, where he has formed a promising partnership with Ryan Manning.

“I feel like I’ve got it in me to attack more, so it’s good to have someone there that’s dovetailed with me,” added the 24-year-old.

“It’s early days and of course there are things we need to learn, but that’s coming. We talk a lot on the pitch and I do feel like we complement each other’s game.

“I can play out wide, but the gaffer sees me playing in the centre of the park, which I do enjoy. I like to be constantly near the ball, whereas games can sometimes pass you by out wide.”

Ian Holloway’s side head to Deepdale on Saturday to face Preston, aiming to equal their best league sequence of the season – the hat-trick of Championship wins they accumulated at the beginning of January.

“When you lose a couple of games it’s only natural to think negative things even though you try your hardest not to. So with back-to-back wins we go there full of confidence,” said Freeman.

“We’re growing as a team. Preston are a good side – they’ve picked up a lot of points home and away this year, so we need to analyse them and do our homework.”