Martin Rowlands believes there is every chance his next competitive match will be in the Premier League.
The Rangers skipper is back in the gym building up strength in his knee after suffering a cruciate ligament injury at Derby last month, but it could be October before he plays again.
It is a devastating blow for a man in the best form of his career - especially as he was also featuring in the Ireland squad and has next year's World Cup in South Africa as a target.
Yet Rowlands, who turned 30 a fortnight ago, refuses to be downcast and has given a big vote of confidence to his team-mates, who he says could make him a top-flight player.
"It's possible that my next game could be in the Premier League. I really think that could happen," Rowlands told the Gazette.
"The club are in a very good position at the moment.
"We've got a couple of games in hand and we are obviously pushing for a playoff position. We're looking strong and hopefully we can get in there and get into the Premier League.
"That would be quite an incentive to get fit again!"
Rowlands continued: "Injuries are just part of the job and you have to accept it,. It's obviously disappointing to get it though, and miss this run-in, which could be crucial.
"I feel I've played a big part of the season to get us where we are so far and hopefully the lads and everyone else can help push it on now and get us to the play-offs.
"It's been lovely to hear my team-mates saying they want to do well for me as well as the club and themselves while I'm out. The lads have been brilliant. Everyone's been very supportive and understands it's not a nice injury."
Rowlands could be forgiven if he felt cursed as a footballer. Lesser-willed players might well have given up on the wearying slogs to fitness by now, but perhaps that is what sets him apart.
"I've had my fair share of injuries," he said.
"At Brentford, I had a double hernia and a broken leg, which needed a plate inserted. I've had a broken foot, I've had torn medial ligaments three times and done my cruciate ligament as well." [25a0] Cont inside back page
"But that's just the way it goes. Some people get lucky and others don't but it's not something I think about too much. Once it's happened, it's happened. You've just got to be mentally strong to get yourself back from these things.
"If you get fed up of doing all the work you need to do to get back, you get depressed. You have moments when you get annoyed and frustrated with things but you just have to deal with it.
"With a cruciate ligament injury, it's always six to nine months out."
Rowlands continued: "I've just started doing bike work and light stuff to build mobility in the knee and strengthen the muscles again.
"The injury didn't really seem that bad when I got it. I felt immense pain for the first couple of minutes but that eased off and in fact I told the physio [Paul Hunter] I wanted to carry on.
"But he told me I shouldn't play on. He basically wouldn't let me, which was a good thing because I would probably have done a lot more damage.
"I had just the one operation and hopefully that should solve everything. If it works well, which it seems to have, I'll be back within six to nine months."
It is not just the prospect of Premier League football that will sustain Rowlands in the coming months.
He has a good chance of realising an ambition to represent his country in the biggest football event of them all.
"I'm still harbouring hopes of playing in the World Cup at the end of next season," he said. "I'll never give up on that.
"I was going to be in the squad for the qualifier we've just had against Georgia. It's a shame because I was doing well and obviously making an impression on the coaches.
"But it's just something you have to deal with and if I can get my leg back strong, I'm sure I'll be fitter and stronger than I was before and hope-fully I'll get the form back and catch their eye again.
"It's our best qualifying campaign for a while and we look in a really good position. Obviously the games against Italy are going to be crucial but it's looking good and hopefully I can play some part in it. All I can do though is get fit and strong and start playing for QPR again before I can think about that."
Rangers are back in action with two tough games this week after missing out on a match during FA Cup week.
They play Ipswich at home tomorrow evening (Saturday) then have a difficult assignment at Cardiff. Rowlands appreciates it will be another significant week.
"This Saturday's a very important game because we play at 5.20pm and we'll know the results of all the other games prior to ours," he said. "That will give us an opportunity to know what we need to do.
"That said, I don't think it matters too much what everyone else does. You can only really look at what you are doing. You've got to do the business yourself and let everything take care of itself with other clubs.
"Paulo Sousa's been brilliant since he's come in. We've played a few different systems and everything's worked fantastically well.
"I think we're unbeaten in nine games now and only lost once in about 14 games, so we're very resilient.
"We're a good side, we're creating chances and scoring goals and I think we are just going to get stronger and keep improving.
"The way we are playing, I know we can beat anyone in the league home or away and hopefully we'll continue that."
* Former Real Madrid midfielder Jordi Lopez (below) has signed a threemonth deal at QPR.
The Spaniard, 27, was on the Barcelona's books as a youngster before joining Real Madrid.
He made two first-team appearances for Real before spells at Sevilla and then Real Mallorca, who released him last year.
Next Up: IPSWICH TOWN
Loftus Road Saturday 5.20pm Championship
Manager: Jim Magilton Position last season: 8th Form Guide: The Tractor Boys are doing better on their travels than last season when a modest haul of three wins deprived them of a tilt at the play-offs. They have six wins so far - at Burnley (3-0),Plymouth (3-1),Blackpool (1-0),Derby (1-0), Palace (4-1) and Barnsley (2-1). Defeats have come at Watford (1-2),Charlton (1-2),Doncaster (0-1),Birmingham (1-2),Norwich (0-2) and Swansea (0-3).
Players to look out for: Former Fulham defender Moritz Volz (pictured) is bringing his quirky Teutonic ways to Suffolk, while former Real Madrid star Ivan Campo is also on the books.
Most recent meetings: Ipswich Tn 2-0 QPR (1 Nov 2008); Ipswich Tn 0-0 QPR (29 Mar 2008); QPR 1-1 Ipswich Tn (20 Oct 2007) - Championship.
Head-to-head record: QPR Wins: 21 IT Wins: 25 Draws: 18
Match Facts: Rangers have won only one of the last four meetings between the sides at Loftus Road and are seeking a first win home or away in seven clashes. Their last success was in August 2005 when Kevin Gallen and Martin Rowlands netted in a 2-1 win. Jon Stead scored both goals in Ipswich's victory over Rangers at Portman Road in November.
Forecast: After successive home draws, the Rs are due a win.
In Midweek: CARDIFF CITY
Ninian Park Wednesday 7.45pm Championship
Manager: David Jones Position last season: 12th Form Guide: Last season's FA Cup finalists are fourth in the table and very much in the running for automatic promotion. They have only lost four times - the best record in the division - with only Birmingham and Wolves leaving Ninian Park with maximum points (both after 2-1 wins). The Bluebirds have won nine at home but for all their success, they have not scored more than twice in any one match this season. They had not conceded more than two in a match either, until Monday night's 4-0 drubbing at Arsenal in the FA Cup.
Players to look out for: Midfielder Joe Ledley has been a revelation. Free-kick specialist Ross McCormack is the top scorer with 16 goals.
Most recent meetings: QPR 1-0 Cardiff City (8 Nov 2008); Cardiff City 3-1 QPR (29 Jan 2008); QPR 0-2 Cardiff City (18 Aug 2007) - Championship. Headto-head record: CC Wins: 24 QPR Wins: 30 Draws: 10
Match Facts: With only eight goals in the eight matches between the sides leading up to last season's clash in south Wales, the 3-1 win for the Bluebirds was something of a break from the norm. It was business as usual at Loftus Road in November when a Gavin Mahon goal settled the issue. The rivalry between the clubs has intensified in recent seasons following the 2003 play-off final at the Millennium Stadium which Cardiff won 1-0 in their home city.
Forecast: A close game with Cardiff maybe edging it.
Gazette forecast success rate: 18 correct out of 35 (51%)