QPR defender vows to fight for his place

Matt Connolly set to stay at Rangers

Matt Connolly insists that the anticipated influx of new signings at QPR will not make or break the club’s season, and has vowed to fight for his place in the Rs defence.

Rangers boss Neil Warnock, backed by new majority shareholder Tony Fernandes, hopes to sign up to five new players in the remaining six days before the transfer window shuts on August 31, with a centre-back and left-back high on his list of priorities.

However, the Hoops’ 1-0 win at Everton last weekend was achieved with a side largely unchanged from the one which won the Championship last season, with Danny Gabbidon the only of Warnock’s summer signings to make the starting line-up.

Connolly, who featured 33 times in the Rangers back-line last season, made his first start of the campaign at left-back in place of the suspended Clint Hill, and the 23-year-old defender believes that victory on Merseyside proves the current squad’s ability to compete in the top flight.

“It was a great result and an important one, the manager was pleased with the way we dug in,” Connolly told the Times. “It was a big boost after the Bolton defeat. Every promoted side has to expect to lose the odd game heavily but the important thing is that you react to that and put it behind you, and we did that at Everton.

“It showed the team spirit here, we grew a lot together last season, but you’re always going to get new faces at any club, it is part and parcel of football and we’re no different.

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“Last season I played the majority of games. This season, I missed the first game against Bolton but thought I did ok against Everton, I showed what I can do.

“I know I’ll get my chance and when I do I have to take it. The competition spurs me on, I know I have to work harder. You can’t let these things get your head down this early in the season.”

Air Asia owner and Formula One tycoon Fernandes completed his takeover of QPR last week and has promised to back Warnock in his hunt for new players in the remaining days of the transfer window.

Despite that, the Hoops are still many people’s favourites for relegation, but Connelly believes that could work to the club’s advantage, with limited expectations taking the pressure off Warnock’s side.

“I can’t speak for everyone else, but against Everton I felt we were playing without pressure. Most people are expecting us to go down, so in my eyes we don’t have much to lose by just enjoying our football,” added Connolly. “You’d much rather be playing in the Premier League than the Championship. Wigan’s another tough place to go, we might have to dig in again. It’s a big test, each weekend is a different test so let’s just enjoy it.”

Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes