Hughes tipped for QPR after Warnock axed

Rangers lose patience with manager after run of eight defeats from last 12 games leaves them on brink of relegation zone


FORMER Fulham and Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is expected to be installed as QPR manager this week after the Premier League strugglers last night sacked Neil Warnock.

Warnock (right), who led Rangers back into the top flight after a 15-year absence last season, paid the price for a run of eight defeats in 12 games that has dragged the west Londoners to 17th in the table.

Hughes, out of work since quitting Fulham in the summer, was last night made the odds-on favourite with most bookmakers to be handed the reins at Loftus Road.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes, who took over the club in August, defended the decision to axe Warnock and hinted at the imminent appointment of his replacement.

“We have been open and transparent and soon the future will be unveiled and what we are trying to achieve,” Fernandes wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter. “Trust me in my 47 years of life I have never had to make such a tough decision. But I got to do what I think is right. It’s tough being a leader.”

Warnock, the second top-flight boss to be sacked this season after Sunderland’s Steve Bruce, expressed regret that the Fernandes regime had not taken charge earlier.

“Obviously I’m very disappointed, but having achieved so much I leave the club with a great sense of pride,” he said. “My biggest regret is that the takeover didn’t happen earlier, because that would have given me the opportunity to bring in the targets that I’d pinpointed all last summer and probably given us a better chance to succeed in the Premier League.”

Fernandes, who also runs airline Air Asia and Formula One team Caterham, said the club’s slump had forced the board to make a decision.

The Malaysian added: “Sadly, our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change.”

SLUMP | QPR’S LAST 12 RESULTS
7 January, D 1-1 v MK Dons (A)

2 January, L 1-2 v Norwich (H)

31 December, L 1-0 v Arsenal (A)

27 December, D 1-1 v Swansea (A)

21 December, L 2-3 v Sunderland (H)

18 December, L 0-2 v Man Utd (H)

10 December, L 1-0 v Liverpool (A)

3 December, D 1-1 v West Brom (H)

26 November, L 2-1 v Norwich (A)

19 November, W 2-3 v Stoke (A)

5 November, L 2-3 v Man City (H)

30 October, L 3-1 v Tottenham (A)