Belfast Telegraph

Smith sold on Hughes vision

Tommy Smith is confident Mark Hughes can take QPR to another level after meeting his new manager for the first time.

Hughes wasted no time spelling out his ambitions to Rangers' players after signing a two-and-a-half year contract at Loftus Road and reportedly making a £7million bid for Blackburn defender Christopher Samba. The 48-year-old addressed his new squad at the club's Harlington training ground and winger Smith was impressed with what he heard.

Speaking about the appointment of the former Manchester United striker and Manchester City and Wales manager, Smith said: "I think it's a very positive appointment. To have a manager who's played at the very highest level, managed big teams, international teams as well, it's just great for everyone concerned and particularly for the players."

He added: "We signed a fair bit of Premier League experience at the end of August but a lot of players haven't been at this level for too long.

"To have someone like Mark Hughes to work with every day now is going to be a fantastic opportunity and he's bringing a wealth of experience. So it's really exciting times."

Hughes succeeded Neil Warnock, who was sacked on Sunday after QPR slumped to within a point of the relegation zone, despite having ended their 15-year exile from the top flight last season.

Smith told Radio Five Live: "I was very shocked, really. Generally, in the build-up to a sacking, you hear rumours and there weren't really much going round.

"It did come slightly out of the blue."

He added: "Everyone involved really wanted a quick appointment and to get someone of Mark's calibre and having got him in so quickly, it's great news."

Smith is one of several players whose future could be placed in doubt if Hughes spends the £20million-£30million reportedly available to him. Chief excessive Philip Beard confirmed negotiations with Hughes had focused heavily on potential transfer targets and said he would attempt to bring in at least one new face before Sunday's game at Newcastle game.

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