Hard work starts now for QPR, says skipper

By Ben Kosky MIKELE Leigertwood wants manager Neil Warnock to mould his squad quickly to give QPR the best chance of success next season. Rangers began planning for the future this week after their survival in the Championship was ensured by Warnock s for

By Ben Kosky

MIKELE Leigertwood wants manager Neil Warnock to mould his squad quickly to give QPR the best chance of success next season.

Rangers began planning for the future this week after their survival in the Championship was ensured by Warnock's former club Sheffield United forcing a 1-1 draw at neighbours Wednesday.

Leigertwood admits the Rs have failed to make progress during the past two seasons - but believes the man he played under at Bramall Lane can change that when the next campaign gets under way.


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"I'm confident because the manager's signed a long-term deal, that shows he's in it for however long it takes - and the new board have given him authority to do whatever he wants," Leigertwood told the Times.

"His record in the Championship is good and I've seen how he can get what he wants and get players and teams to perform.

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"I'm sure he'll bring in some ambitious players and the earlier we can get them in the better. Obviously that'll give us longer to work together and really get Neil Warnock's ideas across.

"The quicker we can put that into practice, the more chance we have of doing well next season. That's been shown this year by teams like Nottingham Forest and Cardiff.

"Everything is in place for us to really kick on and that's what makes it so frustrating for the players and everyone involved that we haven't built on our mid-table finishes from the past few years.

"We didn't want to be going into the last few games needing a result, so it's nice to be mathematically safe - but disappointing that we've had to come this close, considering how well we started."

After Martin Rowlands and Damion Stewart, Leigertwood is now the longest-serving player at Loftus Road - a damning indictment of the enormous turnover in personnel since he joined the Rs in August 2007.

But, with more than 125 appearances in hoops to his name, the 28-year-old midfielder was an obvious choice to take the captain's armband when Rowlands and Gavin Mahon were both ruled out by long-term injuries this season.

And Leigertwood is keen to retain the armband at the start of next season, even though he acknowledges it has often been difficult to keep spirits high during this troubled campaign.

"I was happy to take the captaincy on and I'm more than happy to do it as and when, but it hasn't been easy with so many changes going on," he admitted.

"The players have tried as hard as we could and tried to maintain as much professionalism as possible, but we probably needed a bit more guidance. We've had a topsy-turvy season - now we've got to look forward.

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