Hughes spared but could still go this week

QPR manager Mark Hughes was clinging on to his job last night after lengthy talks with club chiefs.

Hughes did not take training yesterday and instead met chief executive Philip Beard to discuss Rangers’ woeful form.

His representative Kia Joorabchian yesterday insisted reports of Hughes’ sacking were premature, calling them “not true at all”. However, QPR chairman Tony Fernandes is expected to debate the Welshman’s future with the board before Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford.

Speculation that Hughes is set to be axed has intensified following a devastating 3-1 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Southampton on Saturday.

The Hoops are bottom of the Premier League and without a win in 12 matches, five points behind newly promoted Reading in 17th place, who have a game in hand.

After escaping relegation on the final day of the campaign last season, Hughes spent heavily in the summer, recruiting 11 players in a squad overhaul including Esteban Granero from Real Madrid and Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the bookmakers’ favourite to take over at QPR if Hughes is sacked.

Hughes seems bemused by QPR’s dismal start to the campaign and last week said he was still convinced that his side could reach a mid-table finish in May.

“Stability is absolutely what this club needs in the long term,” said Hughes. “Until you get to that point where you can establish yourself in the Premier League, then you have to go through periods where there is doubt or apprehension about what the future holds.”

Despite the speculation Hughes is expected to take charge of training this morning.

Fernandes has made a habit of vehemently defending his manager on Twitter after each game but did not mention Hughes following the defeat to Southampton.

Rangers follow the trip to Old Trafford with matches against Sunderland, Aston Villa and Wigan as the club heads into a frantic and crucial winter schedule.