Marti Cifuentes insists QPR can race up the Championship table after they recorded back-to-back wins with a 2-0 away victory at Preston.

Paul Smyth and Chris Willock scored second-half goals at a freezing Deepdale to stun the promotion-chasing hosts and back up their 4-2 mid-week win against Stoke.

Ilias Chair played a pivotal role, the second-half sub setting up both goals, to help the Hoops climb to within three points of Huddersfield Town above.

QPR are still in the relegation zone but, after a turbulent 12 months, Cifuentes is hopefully they can start to climb the table.

"We still want more, but I think this is a good way to show that the team are progressing,” he said.

"The hard work that the boys are putting in in training is paying off. We were not only looking for the victory, but after scoring the first goal we chased the second and those for me are encouraging signals.

"Both Ilias and Chris [Willock] are very important players for us and we want them fresh for us so that they can make a difference.

"I think the plan worked very well - not because I'm a genius but because they are a very good players. That's a fact."

"We need to say congratulations to the guys because they are making big improvements since I arrived."

After Cifuentes had indicated before kick-off that he felt the game ought to have been called off, both sets of players did appear to be treading somewhat carefully during the uneventful opening stages. 

Whether the wintry conditions had been a factor was debatable, but Cifuentes’ men finally caught a sight of goal in the 38th minute. 

Midfielder Willock made a decent run towards the edge of the Preston box, but saw his strike roll harmlessly past the far post. 

The much-needed breakthrough followed from Rangers in the second half.

Smyth made no mistake this time, darting into the six-yard box to poke home sub Chair’s dangerous in-swinging cross. 

Chair was inspired, and minutes later lashed in a shot which forced Freddie Woodman into a competent stop. 

Preston, who were humbled 4-0 at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, had lost their way, and they were certainly not helped by Holmes’ poor attempt from a free-kick with 25 minutes left. 

Rangers sub Elijah Dixon-Bonner drove an effort narrowly wide as his side sought a potentially victory-clinching second goal. 

Rangers deservedly got their second in the 87th minute. Chair was the provider again, crossing in for an unmarked Willock to slot home comfortably. 

The manager said: “I spoke to Ilias at half-time and told him we desperately needed fresh legs out there. 

“He wasn’t happy that he hadn’t started the game of course, but that’s what I want. 

“I want players here who are disappointed to be on the bench. He’s got lots of really strong attributes and he was terrific. 

“I felt confident at half-time that he could contribute. The identity of the team is really coming on.”