Alex Smithies believes Queens Park Rangers can play without pressure for the remainder of the season.
Ian Holloway’s side don’t look like being sucked into a relegation fight for the last ten games of the campaign, currently 11 points clear of the drop zone.
Perhaps one more win will assure them of their place in the Championship next season, while they are 16 points off the final play-off position.
Smithies, who was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet on Tuesday against Barnsley – conceding late on in the 2-1 win, believes he’ll get a deserved shutout in the coming weeks.
“There is no pressure on us now in terms of what we’ve got to play for, so it’s about getting as many points on the board as possible and pushing towards the top end of that table,” he said.
“That will be a nice end to the season. I was disappointed not keep a clean sheet on Tuesday, and there was a dominant display at Birmingham a few weeks ago where I was hoping for one, so that was very frustrating as a goalkeeper.
“But the wins are far more important and hopefully the clean sheets will come with those performances. We have been resilient.”
Reflecting on Tuesday’s win over the Tykes, Smithies was complimentary towards the Yorkshire outfit, who have had a remarkable rise back up to English football’s second tier in such a short space of time.
But he admits it was nice to “get one over them”, having played for their county rivals Huddersfield Town previously.
“I remember playing at Huddersfield and we would face Barnsley, it was a little bit of a derby – not a massive one – but it was always a good atmosphere, so it was nice to get one over them,” said Smithies.
“The scoreline didn’t perhaps tell the true story (on Tuesday), we were very dominant. From my point of view I had a quiet game and the ball was down Barnsley’s end far more than it was ours.
“On another night we could have stretched the lead even further. Getting an early goal helps, and it would have been nice to get a couple in the first half because the chances were there.
“Thankfully we followed it up with a second in the second half, and despite some late pressure we held on.
“Barnsley have had a fantastic rise over the last year or so, being at the bottom end of League One right up to mid-table in the Championship, they have done well and doing things right.
“They have some good attacking players and send men forward in numbers, but we didn’t really give them a chance on Tuesday to what they can do because we were so good with the ball.”