'Working well' - The QPR test in store for Preston North End as Martí Cifuentes off the mark

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PNE will aim to bounce back from consecutive Championship defeats when they host QPR on Friday night

Preston North End know the importance of picking up a positive result on Friday night, but a buoyant Queens Park Rangers side will stand in their way.

The Rs picked up their first win of the Martí Cifuentes era in midweek, with three late goals turning the game against Stoke City on its head. Cifuentes was the left field replacement for PNE and Rangers cult hero Gareth Ainsworth, who was unable to spark life into the Loftus Road outfit and eventually dismissed in late October - after a run of six straight defeats.

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Catalonia born Cifuentes started with draws against Rotherham and Bristol City, before being edged 1-0 at Norwich. But, his side put four past the ten man Potters on Tuesday and in doing so collected QPR's third victory of the campaign. Lyndon Dykes was at the double, while ex-North Ender Ben Pearson scored an own goal and Chris Willock clinched the points late on.

Cifuentes has QPR playing in a 4-3-3 formation, with Dykes down the middle, Ilias Chair off the left, Jack Colback and Sam Field in midfield consistently and a centre-back partnership of Steve Cook and Jimmy Dunne. At full back are Osman Kakay and Kenneth Paal, with experienced head Asmir Begovic between the sticks.

The new man in the QPR dugout boasts an intriguing CV, with the 41-year-old having joined from Swedish top-flight club Hammarby - where he managed for two years. Cifuentes, who was wanted in China and South America earlier in his career, has experience coaching in Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and England. He spent some time gaining experience at Millwall during Kenny Jackett's tenure.

North End's next opponents are going through a stylistic change post-Ainsworth. With Johan Cruyff a major influence, Cifuentes wants his teams to pass and attack well. He has openly admitted that Diego Simeone's style of football at Atletico Madrid does not appeal to him - with the Ajax, Barcelona and Manchester City teams over the years impressing him the most.

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Cifuentes said: "They all start by having the ball. A misunderstanding of the positional game is that people forget it is a very dynamic way of playing. Sometimes we connect position with something really static, but it is the opposite. It is a proactive way of playing that gives a lot of freedom to the players."

And with five points picked up from a possible first 12, the Rs manager is content with where his team is at so far. In midweek, he said: “I always believed we would win the game. Otherwise I would not be here. I believe in my guys, I believe in my players. They are working really hard and they deserve this victory.

"We need to be very happy about the victory but we have to work very, very hard to keep achieving. The guys are working well and that is where my focus is. Now we need to recover, because it has been a very intense game and we have got another one on Friday at Preston. We must keep humble and keep working."

Preston will be hurting after the cruel Cardiff City defeat and horror show at Middlesbrough last time out. Ryan Lowe's team are hungry to get back on track, but the Lilywhites cannot afford to take QPR lightly. Under the floodlights and in front of the Sky Sports cameras, halting the early progress of Cifuentes and co is the task.

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