QPR new boy Matt Smith is more than just an old-fashioned target man – take it from the player who was with him at Bristol City as well.

Giant Smith has hit the ground running since swapping Fulham for life in W12 in the January transfer window.

A towering header in victory at Birmingham was followed by a right-foot finish in Tuesday’s defeat of strugglers Wigan.

The variation is no surprise to midfielder Luke Freeman, who got a first look at Smith when the striker pitched up at the Robins.

Tongue twister: Matt Smith puts Rangers ahead at Birmingham

“For sure there is more to Matt than being 6’ 6” and winning balls in the air,” he said. “I played with ‘Smudge’ when he came on loan to Bristol City a couple of years back (2014-15).

“He is not a stereotype big lump up top. He has great feet and a great touch.

“He is showing that too. He has come in scored two goals and been very effective at bringing other players into play. I love playing in a team with him because he allows me to get further up the pitch and pick up second balls off him.

“Even if he doesn’t win the ball cleanly he makes sure the centre-half doesn’t either and then it is my job to read the knockdowns and pick it up.”

Birmingham City v Queens Park Rangers: Luke Freeman tackles Greg Stewart.
Tackle: Luke Freeman takes on Birmingham's Greg Stewart

Smith’s flying start and Conor Washington’s four goals in six games have been pivotal in back to back wins that have bought a critical surge of confidence ahead of Saturday’s trip to Preston.

The men of Deepdale won the reverse fixture in West London at a canter back in August, but Freeman believes the mood music sees revenge on the cards.

“Making it three wins in a row is more than doable now,” he added.

“We are starting to build a lot of confidence which is what you need. Football is a tough game, more mentally sometimes than it is physically and when you lose a couple of games it is only natural to think negative things even though you try your hardest not to.

“We are growing as a team and thinking nothing but positive things toward Saturday’s game.”

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