QPR star calls for progress this season

Ferdinand believes Rangers have the quality to avoid a repeat of last season’s relegation battle

Anton Ferdinand insists that Premier League survival must be the minimum requirement for Rangers this season.

The Rs escaped relegation by a single point last season, losing at Manchester City on the final day but staying in the top flight thanks to Bolton Wanderers’ failure to win at Stoke City.

Mark Hughes has since bolstered his squad with the signing of five players, including the additions of veteran midfielder Ji-Sung Park and highly-rated forward Junior Hoilett.

Hopes are high that the Rs’ second consecutive season in the top flight will be a smoother affair than the first – and Ferdinand admits that there is enough quality in the squad for an improvement on 2011-12.

“We haven’t really spoken about targets. First things first, we’ve got to make sure that we’re an established Premier League club,” said the centre-back.

“When we’ve done that, if we do finish higher than we expect, then it’s been a fantastic season. To remain in the Premier League is the priority, but with this squad who knows?

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“It was too much of a roller-coaster last season and we don’t want that this year. We want to finish comfortably and, with the squad the gaffer’s building here, there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”

Ferdinand believes QPR have benefitted from a full pre-season programme which has allowed their new signings to settle in, an advantage which was denied them in the build-up to 2011-12.

And the former West Ham centre-back, who captained Rangers for the first time in the pre-season win at Wycombe Wanderers, is also targeting an improvement in his own performances.

“It [pre-season] has been enjoyable. I’m enjoying getting the minutes under my belt,” he said.

“When I arrived last summer I had to get right into the mix of it straightaway, so this time it’s nice to get a pre-season, get away with the lads and have a bit of bonding time as well as training sessions. The morale in the squad’s brilliant and that’s there for all to see.

“When you go into any new job you sometimes don’t know what you’re in for. But the lads have been brilliant and welcomed the new players with open arms.

“The new lads have settled in very well and that’s a very good thing for the club.

“He [Hughes] wants me to do my job, which is to defend. That’s the first thing that’s got to be in my head – to defend first. But if I’ve got time on the ball I need to use it properly – that’s what the gaffer stresses. That’s good because it suits my style of play and I enjoy it.”