Hulse happy to be up and running

ROB Hulse is relieved to have broken his QPR duck – and determined to keep his place when the Rs face Cardiff in Saturday’s table-topping clash.

The 31-year-old scored his first Rangers goal in the 3-1 win over Preston, a full three months after sealing his transfer deadline day move to Loftus Road from Derby County.

It took nearly two months for the striker to make his QPR debut after struggling with a nagging Achilles injury and he finally found the back of the net in his sixth appearance.

“I’m just pleased to get the monkey off my back and get a goal, and a good result as well,” Hulse admitted. “I’ve scored a few scrappy goals in my career and hopefully I’ll score a few more.

“That doesn’t bother me – I’d score them every week if I could. I’m still a bit off full fitness but I’m getting there, all I can do is work hard during the week and turn up on Saturday.

“I think we’ve got some good strikers here, but I’d like to start every week if I was fit. I came here wanting to challenge myself. I’m 31, but I’d like to have a few more years in me and do as well as I can.”

Hulse has racked up almost 300 league appearances for Crewe, West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Derby, but is well aware he faces a fight for his place.

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Rangers have plenty of attacking options – Jamie Mackie and Heidar Helguson have already netted 13 times between them this season, while manager Neil Warnock can also call on the experienced Tommy Smith, and Adel Taarabt continues to score from midfield.

Warnock must now decide whether to stick with Hulse for the mouth-watering visit of second-placed Cardiff City on Saturday, when victory for Rangers would stretch their lead at the top of the Championship table to five points.

Hulse feels the Preston win was crucial in maintaining momentum, but is urging his team-mates to keep their feet on the ground, even if they succeed in defeating their rivals.

“They are not easy games against teams like Preston – they’re fighting for their lives,” the Rangers striker added.

“It’s been frustrating the last couple of games where we’ve been away from home, not really had many chances and ground results out. You look back at those results now and you think they’re good results.

“Portsmouth away and Forest away, we’d take a point from there, and the games at home we’ve opened up, created more chances and could have scored more really.

“Cardiff will be a big game, but you’ve got to remember it is still November and it’s just another game.

“We need to defend and hopefully chances will open up, as they did against Preston, and we can get the result. Going into that game on a good performance, having played well, that’s what you want.

“But it’s very early days and we’re not getting carried away. We’ve had a great start but we’ve got to keep working hard and hopefully the results will look after themselves.”