James Perch: QPR still have enough time to make the play-offs

James Perch has shown a steady improvement in his form of late for QPR

James Perch has shown a steady improvement in his form of late for QPR - Credit: EMPICS Sport

QPR defender James Perch still believes the Rs can stake a late claim for a play-off place after making steady improvements under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Rangers lie 13th in the Championship and a hefty 11 points off the top six, but Perch is refusing to call an end to the Rs’ season just yet.

He told the Times: “I think it’s possible for us to go on a winning streak. We’re going to have to win games and hope teams up there lose a few so it’s going to be tough.

“There are some strong teams up there but it’s not impossible. We are more than capable of going on a run but we just have to hope that other things go in our favour.

“As a Premier League side coming down, with some of the players we had at our disposal, everyone looking in from the outside was saying ‘yeah, [they’re] definitely promotion challengers’.

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“It didn’t work out that way to start with, we didn’t get the results or put in the performances we needed to and sadly Chris [Ramsey] lost his job.”

Perch endured a tough start to his career in W12, as did many, in a side which has struggled to adapt to the second tier following relegation from the Premier League last season.

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The former Wigan and Newcastle man has been criticised by some supporters after a poor first half of the season, but the experienced defender says he paid little attention to that.

He added: “I don’t know too much about the criticism because I wasn’t reading the papers, but I’m experienced, I’m 30 years old now and I can look at myself and say ‘that wasn’t good enough’ from me early on.

“I like to think people have seen the improvement in me though of late, and the stability that we as a back four and as a whole team have managed to gain.”

One of the lowest points of the season came back in September as QPR suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss away against local rivals Fulham – their opponents in W12 on Saturday, and Perch admits the performance was simply not good enough.

“It was definitely one of the low points of the season but it wasn’t just that game – collectively, our form around that fixture was really bad,” he admitted.

“After that result there were strong words said in the dressing room, we all knew it wasn’t acceptable.”

QPR have made vast improvements under Hasselbaink, losing just three times in 12 games under his stewardship, and they are unbeaten in their last five league games.

Perch credits much of this success to his manager’s playing style, which was not what he expected: “I was actually surprised by how much the manager focused on defending, having been a striker himself,” he said.

“He likes to work from the back to the front and it now looks like we’ve turned a corner – results and performances have picked up.”

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