Hull City Tigers

Irvine Aiming To Go Into International Break On A High

15 March 2019
Jackson Irvine believes tomorrow’s Sky Bet Championship clash against Queens Park Rangers will be a tough encounter – but is aiming to go into the international break on the back of a positive result.

The Tigers host their West London opponents looking to bounce back from successive defeats on the road at Nottingham Forest and Norwich City, results which have left Nigel Adkins’ side six points adrift of the play-off places in the league table, and the Australian international has been quick to highlight the importance of returning to winning ways.

“This is a very important game for us going into the international break,” he said.

“It’s a chance to get ourselves back to winning ways and back on form before a two-week break where we’ll refresh ourselves and prepare for what will be a massive run in.

“We’re at a point in the season where every team has something to play for. Having been involved in a battle at the foot of the table last season here and with Burton Albion the season before, I know how motivated QPR will be.

“They’ll be just as dangerous as the teams fighting for promotion at the top of the table. At this stage of the season, every game is so vital and every point is so valuable for every team – including ourselves.”

The Tigers host Steve McClaren’s side looking to maintain an impressive record on home soil that has seen them pick up 22 points from a possible 24 in their last eight games at the KCOM Stadium – scoring 22 goals in the process – and Irvine is eager to extend that run against the Hoops.

“It really is an incredible run we’re on but we know we’re going to have to continue that tomorrow.

“I think we play with a bit more freedom at the KCOM Stadium for whatever reason. I always feel like we get our wide players into more space when we’re at home. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why that is though.

“Our home form has been outstanding for the last few months and has been a key factor in our move up the table. That’s going to have to be something that we maintain for the remainder of the season and hopefully we can do that – starting with a positive result and performance against QPR.

“They’re a well-organised unit with some talented players – especially in the final third of the pitch.

“They have a solid base through the spine of their team and have a lot of experienced players and a very experienced manager as well and they’ll be looking to cause as many problems for us as we will for them.”

With skipper Markus Henriksen suspended for the clash after picking up his tenth booking of the campaign at Carrow Road in midweek and Dan Batty still unavailable through injury, Irvine’s versatility could once again be utilised by Nigel Adkins at the weekend.

Having operated wide on the left for the majority of the game against the Canaries, the 26-year-old is likely to slot into a more central role alongside Kevin Stewart against Queens Park Rangers – with Irvine insisting he’s happy to play anywhere to help the team.

“It’s just a situation that many clubs will have to deal with at this stage of the season and we are no different,” he added.

“Markus will be a miss for the team because he’s been a big player for us this season. His booking on Wednesday night just shows how combative he’s been in the middle of the park for us all year.

“It’s a role I’m happy to play though. I’ve played in that position a lot for my national team and our games against Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest of late, along with a number of other games throughout the season.

“I was out on the left-hand side against Norwich in midweek but my versatility has always been something the manager has looked to utilise in certain situations.

“If I’m called upon to play a deeper-lying central midfield role on Saturday, then that will be the job I have to do for the team and, as I say, one that I’m more than happy to do.”

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