QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth is convinced that the return of key players will help his team move away from relegation danger.

A 1-0 defeat at home to Birmingham was Rangers’ seventh defeat in eight games and they have lost three of their four games since Ainsworth took over.

They were first in October, but a terrible drop has seen them drop to just six points above the drop zone with eight games remaining.

The absence of playmakers Ilias Chair and Chris Willock has hit them particularly hard, but Ainsworth believes they will face bottom club Wigan again after the international break.

Ainsworth said: “We have eight cup finals to play and we need to win a couple of them. I think we can do that.

“In the next two weeks, with all the injuries coming back, I think that will boost the team and boost morale.

“I have returning players who haven’t played for months and haven’t been on this kind of decline, so they’re pretty fresh and mentally good.

“Hopefully we catch them up and be strong against Wigan, which is a game we really need to win.

“I hope people like Kenneth Paal, Ethan Laird, Leon Balogun, Ilias Chair, Chris Willock and (Jake) Clarke-Salter (come back). We have some big names in the treatment room and I think once they’re back, we’ll see a different side out there.”

Just as they did during the 6-1 humiliation at Blackpool in midweek, Rangers conceded in just the third minute when Reda Khadra plowed past Albert Adomah and played into Juninho Bacuna, who returned the ball from the left for Tahith Chong. apply the auction. .

Ainsworth admitted: “They were very solid defensively and we could take a lesson from that because the goal is too easy. We have conceded an easy goal after two minutes and that is the story of the game.

“They have thrown bodies and defended their box as if their lives depended on it. I wanted that from my children.”

Birmingham boss John Eustace believes the “no excuses culture” he has sought to instill has been rewarded.

The Blues have endured a difficult season on and off the pitch, but the win moved them nine points out of the relegation zone.

“I am very proud of the collective effort of the whole group and could not be more pleased with the result,” said Eustace.

“We knew how we could hurt QPR, especially in transitions, so to see the goal go in like it did was really nice.

“Then we had to show ourselves the other side, which we are very good at; we get in there, we fight and we tear ourselves apart.

“The way we defended in the second half, as if our lives depended on it, was fantastic. Collectively it was a very good performance.

“We have had massive injury problems and a lot of problems off the pitch at the club. All we’ve done is move on.

“We’ve made sure that this club has a no-excuses culture, so whoever plays will be 100% committed, and I think you saw that today.

“If the process is correct and you believe in what you are doing, you will eventually get ahead.”


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