STAND - IN s kippe r Mikele Leigertwood has admitted Rangers are trying to build a solid foundation for next season rather than obsessing about the play-offs - which look remote with just seven games left.

The Rs finally ended their search for a first home victory in 2009 and ended a winless sequence of nine games by deservedly seeing off a disappointing Swansea City on Tuesday night.

But with a minimum of seven points to make up on sixth-placed Cardiff - who have three games in hand in any case - the 1-0 win against the Swans did little more than end a frustrating spell.

L eige rt wood, w ho bagged an eye-catching winner in the 30th minute - heading a Jordi Lopez free-kick powerfully home at the near-post - conceded the final fixtures are as much about constructing platforms as relaunching a becalmed promotion charge.

"We might be a little bit disappointed if we don't make it to the play-offs, but these things take time," a philosophical Leigertwood told the Gazette.

"Before they went up, Reading were together for a little while as a team in the Championship, so we've just got to try and hopefully build a good base like they did - and maybe add a few players next season if we don't make it this season.

"We know we've got a good squad ready to push on. We had a lot of talk about the play-offs when we had our run before of 10 league games without defeat not so long ago, but I think now all we can do is take each game as it comes and not think too much about anything else."

The midfielder added: "We needed that win to get a bit of confidence and belief back. To be able to turn it around against a good team like Swansea is very good.

"There's always a bit of doubt that creeps in when you are struggling and goals have been hard to come by.

"We've been defending well and working hard as a team but just not putting away chances.

"Sometimes we missed key passes and I was guilty of that, but we never gave up on our game-plan and it paid off." [25a0] Continued inside back page

"I'm just happy that we won today - I would have been whoever had scored, but it was just nice to get one myself."

Leigertwood added: "I've had the captaincy for a few games now and this is my first win since taking on the role and I'm pleased. I'm happy to take it on while a few others are out injured at the moment.

"I don't think it raises my game though because I always try to give 100 per cent anyway. But you have to lead by example when you are captain and try and encourage people around you."

Rangers will be pleased to have avoided a 10th 0-0 draw of the season - the ninth coming at Southampton on Saturday - and they did enough to merit three points.

They dominated possession and produced the game's most pleasing moments on the combinations up front between Ephraim Hogan and Adel Taarabt, the loan signing from Spurs who impressed on his home debut.

That overall superiority did not translate into an avalanche of chances but it was more than the Swans could muster - the visitors also appearing to have run out of steam in their bid to make the top six.

The Morrocan recruit almost ensured their was gloss added to the final score when he set up sub Heidar Helguson for a shot inside the area which cleared the bar.

"He's got good feet and he was a nice little outlet for us," Leigertwood said of Taarabt.

"We're happy to have him and hopefully he can do the same on Saturday."

But if there were shortcomings, it was to be borne in mind that coach Paulo Sousa had to make do without Dexter Blackstock (hamstring) and Wayne Routledge (bruised knee) who were both injured after Saturday and the Rs are still having to function without key players like Martin Rowlands and Akos Buzsaky.

At least Rowan Vine was on the bench on Tuesday. He did not get on, but will be heartened to be involved again a year after breaking a leg. And the repeated name check from chanting home fans will have made him even more eager to return to action as soon a possible.

Match Summary QPR (0) 1 SWANSEA C (0) 0 Line-up: Cerny; Ramage, Hall (Delaney 84), Gorkss, Connolly; Lopez (Miller 88); Alberti, Leigertwood, Ephraim, Taarabt; Di Carmine (Helguson 74). Subs not used: Vine, German. Attendance: 12,288 GOALS: Leigertwood (30). MoM: Mikele Leigertwood 


Loftus Road Saturday 3pm Championship

Manager: Gary Johnson Position last season: 4th Form Guide: Last season's Wembley play-off finalists looked like they might be in for a relegation battle after a run of eight games without a win saw them drop to 18th in the table before Christmas. But seven wins in eight games, triggered by a 4-2 win at Watford on Boxing Day, lifted them to the fringes of the play-offs again. In fact they briefly occupied a top-six place after an eighth away win of the season at Reading. But successive defeats at Birmingham and Derby have left them with ground to make up again.

Players to look out for: Although he is usually spared a full 90 minutes these days, the highly experienced Dele Adebola is still a handful. Watch out for speedy Northern Ireland winger Ivan Sproule, if he gets a run-out.

Most recent meetings: Bristol C 1-1 QPR (30 Aug 2008); QPR 3-0 Bristol C (2 Feb 2008); Bristol C 2-2 QPR (11 Aug 2007) - Championship.

Head-to-head record: QPR Wins: 29 BC Wins: 24 Draws: 22

Match Facts: If you discount a penalty shoot out in the 2002 Football League Trophy, the Robins have not won at Loftus Road for 32 years - when they won 1-0 in an old First Division clash. There have been nine league and League Cup visits since then with the Rs winning five of them. Rangers have lost only one of the past eight meetings between the clubs. Dexter Blackstock and Dele Abebola for City were on target when the sides drew 1-1 in Bristol in August. [25a0] Forecast: Having rediscovered the winning habit, Rangers know nothing less will suffice again to keep flimsy play-off hopes alive. But City can be tough to break down and a draw seems a good bet. 

Gazetteforecast success rate: 21 correct out of 43 (49%)