By Nick Skoric
After 17 years at Huddersfield Town, Alex Smithies made the journey down south knowing that he had Rob Green standing in his way.
It was never going to be easy for Smithies to break into the first team and he played a mere handful of games at the start of the campaign.
However that all changed after the particulars of Green's contract were scrutinised and Smithies seized on the opportunity to prove himself to be the real deal.
His recent performance against Charlton underlined his importance to the QPR team and their hopes for greater things next season.
Despite his success since becoming the main man between the sticks for the R's, he has not forgotten the man he has replaced.
"I feel for Rob who has proved himself to be a first-class keeper who has gone on to win caps for England. He is the consummate professional and I have the utmost respect for him and the way he has handled the whole situation.
He was there for me when I first came to the club and had a lot of wise words to offer. He has seen it all in his time in the game and I just hope I can achieve some of what he has done," said Smithies.
"Obviously it was difficult to settle down in a new city and club after all those years up in Huddersfield and not playing did not help that.
“But once my chance came I have not looked back and just want to keep as many clean sheets as possible for the team.
I have played in this division for a number of years so I did not have any shocks waiting for me in that sense however I am still learning my trade and I am always looking for little tweaks to improve my game."
Smithies first strapped on a pair of keeper gloves at the tender age of six and he did not look back unlike other keepers who experimented with other positions on the field of play before deciding to become goalkeepers.
However, it may not have been such a bad idea as the northern lad showed his skills from the spot when he fired in the winning penalty in the League One play-off shoot-out against Sheffield United in 2012.
There will be no play-off drama this season for the R's but that has not stopped the boys in blue and white from putting in the performances.
That said, let’s hope the Hoops can put in a better shift against Reading on Saturday afternoon than they did against Brighton on Tuesday, losing 4-0.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham