Hughes confident of an upturn in fortunes
QPR boss Mark Hughes believes player turnover and a host of injuries has masked the quality of his squad at Loftus Road. The Welshman has been backed by Rangers' chairman Tony Fernandes in recent weeks despite the fact the club sit bottom of the Premier League. Fernandes bank-rolled several big-name signings over the summer and, although the desired results have not followed, Hughes is confident once they gel they will be successful. He said: "Everyone understands what we are trying to do here. Tony and Amit (Bhatia, vice-chairman) and all the shareholders have been really positive in that regard. "They knew and we discussed that there was a possibility the start of the season could be a little bit difficult because we had so many players coming in." A number of injuries have also destabilised QPR, especially in defence with Hughes unable to name a settled back four all season and the former Manchester City boss reckons once he has more options the results will follow. "We have also been hurt with the number of injuries which hasn't helped matters but I think we are all comfortable that at some point in the very near future, once everything settles down, once we get a settled side then the quality we have will let us win Premier League games," he said. "We are very positive that once we get points on the board that will continue until the end of the season. "I've got great support and I think it is a consequence of the work we have done in such a short space of time. "We have taken the club a long way - not only off the field but I feel in terms of the personnel we have been able to attract to the club." A lot of the R's first-team squad are now working their way back to match fitness, with only Fabio and Andy Johnson ruled out of the match against Everton on Sunday and Hughes is looking forward to having a fully-fit squad. "There are still players who are able to train at the minute but haven't had game time so there is still the discrepancy in terms of everyone's level (of fitness)," he said. "It is not all on the same line unfortunately but that will get to a point in the future when everyone has the same level of fitness and has had enough game time and is into the flow of the Premier League season." There are constant rumours that Hughes' position in under threat due to the poor start to the season. But the 48-year-old believes the reign of David Moyes, his counterpart on Sunday, has set an example for other clubs to follow. "Longevity is vital to a club and certainly one in our position who are only in their second season after coming up from the Championship," he said. "You need that continuity and longevity of players and management to enable you to grow as a group and chopping and changing personnel is difficult."
Moyes has promised Everton will "shoot for the stars" as they bid to continue their fine start to the season with victory at QPR. The notoriously slow starters have been one of the form teams of the opening two months of the season and travel to Loftus Road with 14 points from seven games. Pundits are already talking about Everton as potential challengers for a Champions League spot, and it is the kind of pressure Moyes relishes. He said: "I enjoy being near the top of the league, and what comes with that is people thinking how well you're doing and talking in a positive fashion. "I enjoy that and it's something I would like to happen more often when we're talking about Everton at the top and how well we might do. We'll shoot for the stars and see where we end up." Moyes is confident the international break will not disrupt his side's rhythm but does want them to tighten up at the back after conceding eight goals so far. He said: "We've tended to find that after these sort of breaks we've settled down and got the group together and been better so let's hope we can continue to improve from the form we've already shown up to now. "Our attacking play has been excellent, we've probably created as many chances as anybody in the Premier League and had as many shots as anybody, so we're certainly up with the main teams doing that. "We've got to make sure that we're a little bit harder to beat, but our points tally is good for this time of the season. We've normally got about five or six at this time of the year so to have what we have is good. "But we've got to build on it, we have to try to make sure we kick on, and I see this period as a difficult period. We've got quite a few difficult away games in London and a derby to play." Everton will be without midfielders Marouane Fellaini (knee) and Darron Gibson (thigh) and defender Tony Hibbert (calf) through injury while new signing Thomas Hitzlsperger will not be considered.