QPR ready to welcome Luongo back at Wigan
PUBLISHED: 16:00 01 February 2019
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Rs midfielder has missed last six games while on duty with Australia at AFC Asian Cup
Queens Park Rangers could welcome back Massimo Luongo to their starting XI for their trip to Wigan Athletic in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.
The 26-year-old has missed the past six matches for the Rs in all competitions having been away with Australia at the AFC Asian Cup.
After the Socceroos, who were the defending champions, were knocked out in the quarter-finals by hosts United Arab Emirates, Luongo returned to training with the west Londoners.
Even while he was away from Loftus Road, the former Swindon Town men remained up-to-date with how Steve McClaren’s men were faring.
That includes the 4-1 loss at home to Preston North End on their previous league outing, but Luongo is confident QPR can bounce back at the Latics this weekend.
He told the club website: “I’ve been watching the results and I’ve been saying how the Preston performance really overshadowed the previous performances.
“We got a great draw at Aston Villa on New Year’s Day and a win against Leeds United in the FA Cup.
“The Preston result is not a massive dip, it’s more a knock-on-the-door to say ‘wake up, let’s get back to the way we were before New Year’.”
As for that Asian Cup campaign, Luongo had been hoping to replicate the success of four years ago when he was named the tournament’s best player after helping Australia win the title on home soil.
Instead, the 26-year-old was something of a periphery figure in the UAE and started just two of the Socceroos’ five matches in their ultimately unsuccessful defence.
But even after playing such a limited role, it seems Luongo was still gutted with how things went for Australia.
“We backed ourselves to do well and with the way it lined up with our route to the final, it looked like we would have gone far, but one moment of madness in the game got us knocked out,” he added.
“That’s tournament football. You have these plans and the next minute you are on the flight home.”
Now back with QPR, Luongo will hope to channel that disappointment with Australia in a string of brilliant displays as he looks to get Steve McClaren’s men firing again.
And he could go straight into the XI for the trip to Wigan.