QPR striker Smith relishing partnership with Eze

Queens Park Rangers' Matt Smith (pic: Scott Heavey/PA)

Queens Park Rangers' Matt Smith (pic: Scott Heavey/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

QPR forward Matt Smith is hoping his promising relationship with strike partner Ebere Eze is one that can lead Rangers to success ahead of the upcoming Championship season.

Smith, who was Rangers’ top scorer last term with 11 goals to his name, was on target in our 3-0 pre-season victory over Barnet on Tuesday.

Smith and Eze linked up well numerous times throughout the match, as Steve McClaren opted to play the pair in attack in what was a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The target man talked gleefully of his growing partnership with Ebere - and what his preferred system to play in is.

“I enjoyed a lot of success with Ebere playing just off me at the back end of last season,” Smith told the club website.

“It was good to enjoy that again and I think it worked well.

“There was a little change in midfield from the weekend (QPR drew 3-3 with Charlton Athletic at Harlington).

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“Instead of two ‘number eights’ playing, we had two sixes and a number 10 in Ebs (Eze) just behind me.

“I think that suits my game a lot better – having bodies closer to me.”

It was a good run-out for the 29-year-old, and with less than a month until Rangers’ first league game at Preston North End, attentions are slowly turning towards that fixture.

“It was a decent run-out – it was good to crank up the minutes and get some more fitness in the bank, which really is key in pre-season,” Smith added.

“Winning, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets is nice, but first and foremost it’s about making sure we’re firing for the first game of the season.

“It’s always good to score goals – to get the confidence flowing in pre-season. My focus is on the first game of the season against Preston – scoring in that game.”

Smith believes the squad are now beginning to get used to new boss McClaren’s ideas and the way he wants the team to set up.

The forward also thinks the one vital quality that the squad have is their fitness levels and he hopes that can potentially give them an advantage during the first period of the campaign.

“We’ve done a lot of organisational work in a short space of time with the manager. I think the lads have taken everything the manager has said on board – and nice and quickly, too.

“We’re a very, very fit bunch of lads. Nedum Onuoha (former QPR captain) alluded to it last season when he said it’s the fittest group he’s ever worked with in his career.

“For someone of that magnitude, who has played for the clubs he has done and has had the career he has to say that is testament to how fit the lads are.

“We are fighting fit and that’s great. We’ll reap the benefits of that.”

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