QPR’S Matt Smith admits it’s good to be believed in again.
The former Leeds and Fulham striker claimed he has gained a new lease of life since swapping Craven Cottage for Loftus Road in the January transfer window.
The 27-year-old was behind Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele last season in the pecking order at Fulham, and, even after the pair left found himself out of favour with the Whites following the arrival of Slavisa Jokanovic.
While stopping short of labelling his last few years on the banks of the Thames a waste, there is no doubt he is relishing being Ian Holloway’s leader of the line.
“Football is a game of opinions,” the QPR striker said in a veiled reflection on his latter days at Fulham, before adding pointedly, “I’m lucky I’m here with a manager who really believes in me and wants to get the best out of me.”
“Fulham have had a great season so I had to bide my time on the side-lines, but as a player you want to be playing regular football, so the opportunity to come to such a great club such as QPR was a good one.
“I’m very settled in the west London area as well, but most important was the meeting I had with Ian Holloway and Les Ferdinand.
"Those two meetings were a real breath of fresh air, something I was delighted to hear and it wasn’t just words said in those 45 minutes it has come to fruition and is happening.
“For them to have that belief in me is something I don’t take for granted and I’ll look to repay the faith as best I can.”
The decision to attribute the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Cardiff to the Bluebirds’ own Jazz Richards deprived Smith of a third goal in his first six starts.
The fans have nevertheless quickly taken him to their hearts, but he knows he must keep the goals coming to retain such popularity.
He added: “I’ve been around long enough to know this honeymoon period is great, but I’m hopefully here for the long haul so I’ve got to keep turning in performances like today and week in week out.”
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.