Smithies: I want the QPR No 1 shirt for keeps now

Alex Smithies had to remain patient before getting a first-team chance at QPR, but is now relishing

Alex Smithies had to remain patient before getting a first-team chance at QPR, but is now relishing life at Loftus Road - Credit: EMPICS Sport

QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies is looking to build on his promising run in the side and wants to see the team turn recent solid displays into much-needed wins.

Smithies has admitted that he was becoming frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities coming his way, making just three appearances for the club prior to last month.

But with the No 1 spot now firmly in his grasp, following Rob Green’s well documentated tricky contract situation, the 25-year-old has no intention of letting it go.

Reflecting on his time at the club so far, Smithies told the Times: “It was difficult and frustrating for me in the first half of the sason.

“But at the same time it gave me the opportunity to put some extra hours in and work on some things I’m not so good at, which you don’t normally get when you’re playing every game so it may have been a blessing in disguise.

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“It was very frustrating personally but I just had to keep my mind down and work hard. I’ll certainly be looking to keep my place in the team now, I want to make that spot my own.”

It looks increasingly likely Smithies will remain in between the sticks for the forseeable future, as QPR are reluctant to trigger a clause in Green’s contract, which will see his contract extended by a further year should he play five more games for the Rs.

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Green failed to secure a move to Crystal Palace during the transfer window, but Smithies spoke highly of the role Green still plays at the club.

He added: “We [goalkeeping team] all discuss things together and are very analytical on how we look at goalkeeping in such fine detail.

“We all want to get better and Rob has certainly been helpful to work alongside – I have a lot of respect for him, of course.”

Rs boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has sought to build a solid defensive foundation during his spell so far at the club, of which Smithies has become a pivotal part, with QPR becoming a harder prospect to beat in the process and shipping far fewer goals than they were earlier in the season.

Speaking on the manager’s ideology, the experienced stopper said: “For me it’s vital because if you can keep a clean sheet it only takes one goal to win a game.

“That’s what I, being part of a defensive unit, will work to do, and the players going forward like Conor [Washington] and Seb [Polter] will get the goals to win us matches.

“The manager works just as hard with the attacking players as he does with our defensive unit, so hopefully it will start coming together more fluently for us and we’ll start reeling off a few back-to-back wins.

“That’s certainly something we’ll be looking to do now. The table will look a lot more positive for us if we can do that.

“When I look around the dressing room, I see a lot of quality in this squad.”

Smithies added: “As a group we certainly feel like we have a good enough squad and it’s time now for the players to really knuckle down and give the manager the wins he deserves really.

“We want to climb the table as high as possible, there’s still 17 games to go.

“You don’t want to rule out anything as it only takes one run to put you in a higher position – that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.”

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