The very least QPR keeper Alex Smithies expects from pal Jordan Rhodes when the new £9 million Middlesbrough gets married in the summer - is a free bar.

Rhodes move spared Fulham losing Ross McCormack to the ambitious Teessiders, and at the same time upped his wages to a reported £55,000-a-week.

Smithies would like some of that, if only in liberal supplies of ‘orange juice’ - but more importantly wants to nail down his first-team spot at Loftus Road.

The former Huddersfield gloveman, where Rhodes and the Rs man became friends, has only made seven appearances for Hoops this season in contrast to the near ever-present campaigns over the last two seasons with the Terriers.

Race: Nedum Onuoha (L) takes on Jordan Rhodes

Rob Green kept Smithies at bay - but after the club decided they weren’t going to renew the England keeper’s contract they made doubly sure by sidelining him thus avoiding a new deal dependent on appearances.

Smithies says he had no regrets waiting his chance.

“You get used to being one of the first names on the team list,” he said. “But when you move you have to establish yourself. That’s what I tried to do and show everyone what I’m capable of.

“I was aware Rob was still here when I signed, and knew he was going to play and that it would be a battle. But I knew that if I wanted to progress and play at a higher level I had to have faith in myself.”

Rs skipper Nedum Onuoha believes Smithies can do everything in his career that Green did, and the keeper warned new Rs signings Nasser El Khayati and Conor Washington it’s their turn to bridge the gap between League One and the Championship.

Hands up, it's all over: Rob Green

The two new boys will be aware what Smithies had to do three seasons back when Huddersfield were promoted via the play-offs.

That memorable Wembley final against Sheffield United in 2012 went to penalties. Smithies saved three and scored one to seal a place in next division.

The keeper reckons the Rs double signing can comfortably make the jump.

“For a keeper I don’t think it changes much,” he said. “I want to push myself to play in the Premier League. It’s just their turn to transition; mine was four years ago. From what I’ve seen in very early stages they’re very capable. The club wouldn’t have signed them if they didn’t they could.

“I don’t think it’s more physical in the Championship or League One. But people make fewer mistakes in this division.”

All three have to face Ipswich on Saturday at Loftus Road, with Smithies unbeaten over the last four league games and with the memory of a 1-1 draw while at Huddersfield the last time he faced the Tractor Boys.

Ambitious: Alex Smithies

“I’ve got a fairly decent record against them, and it would be nice to keep a clean sheet. We’ve had a lot of draws. We need to convert these to wins and head up the table.”

Meanwhile, mate Rhodes is expected to make his debut against of all sides the team he just left - Blackburn.

Smithies has already been in touch to wish him well.

“I’ve sent him a message,” he said. “I didn’t think it was good to do it straight after he signed; his phone was probably ringing off the hook.

“I’m going to his wedding in the summer and I hope to enjoy that too, and I’d like to think (after his upgrade to Boro) he will put a free bar on.”

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