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The 31-year-old striker is set to miss most of the season after injuring his cruciate knee ligament but has been backed to make a full recovery by the Welshman

QPR boss Mark Hughes has backed Andy Johnson to return a stronger player after the forward was ruled out for the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The 31-year-old, who has suffered long-term lay-offs in the past, only moved to Loftus Road over the summer on a free transfer from Fulham.

But Hughes is in no doubt that the former Crystal Palace forward’s strong mentality will help his recovery.

“He is mentally a very, very strong character,” Hughes told the club’s official website. “He has been through long-term injuries before and always comes back stronger and I have no doubts that he will do the same again.

“He will get the best treatment and best support from the medical staff here and we will make sure we get him back as quickly as possible without ever compromising him. We will make sure he is fit and well when he returns.

“He was playing exceptionally well at the time and had been in previous games so to lose his experience and ability is a blow to us.

“People understood why I wanted to bring AJ to the club. He has got fantastic energy and you need those types of players in your squad.”

The Rs were also dealt a blow with both Anton Ferdinand and Fabio da Silva sustaining hamstring injuries during the recent clash with Chelsea, but the Welshman says he will take the opportunity to use his squad depth.

“We said from the outset we were looking for at least two quality players in each position and we are nearly there,” he added.

“When you suffer injuries in the team you want the quality to stay at the same level and hopefully we can do that. We have got good quality to come in.

“It just shows the value of the work we did during the transfer window. When injuries and suspensions occur, we are prepared.”

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