Millwall, Burnley and Wigan matches will define our season, says QPR man
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QPR’s hopes of promotion from the Championship rest on the outcome of their next three matches, believes defender Richard Dunne.
Rangers return from the international break sitting second in the Championship, having won eight of their 10 matches and with the best defence in the league with just two goals conceded.
However, Harry Redknapp’s side are now faced with a trio of tough tests on the road, beginning with a trip to play Millwall at the New Den on Saturday afternoon.
They follow that clash with a visit to current leaders Burnley next weekend, before taking on fellow promotion hopefuls Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on October 30.
Dunne believes that Rangers must emerge from those games unscathed if they are to be considered genuine challengers – but he insists that the squad is brimming with confidence.
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“We have a tough few weeks ahead of us; they are the games that will define our season,” said Dunne.
“If we want to win the league and get promoted we have to go there and put on performances.
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“We are looking forward to them. We feel that we are as strong as anyone in the league and if we perform and get the basics right we will be stronger than a lot of teams in the league.
“It’s just important that the attitude is right in every game and you can sense that the players want to get on the ball, be part of things and win games. That bodes well for the future.”
Summer signing Dunne, 34, has featured heavily in QPR’s league games so far this season, forming an effective partnership with Clint Hill at the centre of Rangers’ defence.
He has now fully recovered from the persistent hip and groin injuries which blighted his last season at Aston Villa and which at one stage seemed set to end his career.
Dunne was included in the squad for Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan on Tuesday evening, and he is delighted to be playing regularly.
“I feel really good at the moment, I’m pleased with how it’s going,” added Dunne. “I missed being in the Ireland squad when I was out injured and it was good to get back into it.
“We haven’t qualified for the World Cup but it’s nice to be back playing for Ireland and QPR.
“Did I think my career was over? It does cross your mind at times, but injuries happen. I had been very lucky before that having been fairly injury-free. It happed but I want to forget about it and move on.”